Everybody is talking about one thing at the moment— Murray cod. After a three-month closed season designed to give the fish a chance to breed undisturbed, the fish are now fair game again and anglers are out in force searching for them.
Generally the prospect of catching a fish, and a big fish in particular, looks good. Intensive stocking of lakes and rivers in recent years has resulted in a great boost to the general population, and outstandingly large populations have developed in some specific areas.
In addition to this, the now-widespread practice of catch-and-release has resulted in larger fish in many areas. In past years the Holy Grail for a cod angler was to catch a fish over 1m. Today that is surprisingly commonplace.
Other factors have contributed to a higher success rate for modern cod chasers. There are many new, highly effective lures on the market; some locally made, some imported. Lures have become larger, noisier, flashier and obviously more interesting to the cod, and the choice of colours, sizes and patterns has increased dramatically.
Spinnerbaits and jointed, segmented lures in particular have made their mark in Australia, with some outstanding fish taken. Surface lures have become an important item in the cod fisher’s armoury. A few years ago, a cod taken on a surface lure was considered a fluke. Today, many fish are taken purposefully on big, noisy, splashy surface lures, providing some of the most thrilling and heart-stopping fishing imaginable.
For those who do wish to keep a cod for the table, remember the relevant size limits. In the ACT the minimum legal length is 60cm. In NSW fish between 55-75cm can be retained.
Remember how to handle a cod without damaging them. Most cod can be released without being removed from the water. That’s the best way to treat them. Failing that, make sure it is supported with both hands out of the water.
Be sure to learn the difference between the generally protected trout cod and a Murray cod. Trout cod are becoming increasingly popular in rivers and lakes and it is important for them to remain protected to some extent until we decide what population level is considered satisfactory and what to do with them.
For those who aren’t chasing cod, golden perch provide a good alternative. They like the hot weather and have been active in Wyangala, Burrendong, Burrinjuck, Googong and Canberra’s urban lakes. Many are taken on lures, especially Jackalls and Burrinjuck Specials trolled or cast around snags and steep rock faces. The black Berkley 8cm soft plastic grub has also been a winner, especially when jigged around flooded trees.
Redfin are around in great numbers, and provide a lot of fun for lure and bait anglers, but they interfere with lures meant for cod and goldens. It’s something you just have to put up with, because there is nothing you can do about it!Reads: 674