Over the last couple of months, the river has been clear enough to lure up some big Murray cod. Flows are to a minimum, and many people have been out on the river enjoying this great time of year. We are gearing up for a fantastic summer of fishing around Mildura, particularly for the iconic Murray cod in the Mighty Murray River.
Some awesome yellowbelly have been caught all around Mildura during the warm conditions, especially around the Merbein and Wentworth areas. These fish have mostly been caught on lures big and small, but bait fishos are having the best time with some cracking fish caught upstream of Mildura on grubs and worms.
Trolling with smaller lures, intended for catching yellas, has worked well around the timber and clay banks, and quite a few anglers have reported catching large Murray cod on these small lures as well. There is no doubt, however, that bigger lures are one of the keys to catching bigger fish.
Biggest of the yellas of late has been around the 55cm mark – a great river fish. Others have come in at the usual 40-48cm range, typical of a summer yellowbelly. A lot of yellowbelly have been full of eggs, so practice catch and release if you can to keep our yellowbelly fishery and waterway healthy and sustainable. The yellas have been hitting the large lures very hard, which is a sign of their typical aggressive breeding behaviour.
A few Murray cod have been caught on lures around Mildura, and others on shrimp and grubs. Some baited fish have weighed in up to 25lb. Cod caught on 120mm trolled hard-bodied lures have been between 15-20lb, with the odd one landed at over 50lb. The Darling River has fished well and should continue until the water recedes.
Running a combination of 50lb braid and 50-60lb leader seems to be the ultimate setup to target big fish at this time of year. Lighter gear will also see you land the big one, but with so much cover in the river, like snags and rocks, to contend with, the chances of line breakage, probably with a nice fish on the end of it, are high – something no angler wants!
I would like to remind you to handle fish appropriately over summer, to ensure large Murray cod in particular, have a chance of survival after being caught. Be aware of the slot limits in place, and the heavy fines which apply to those anglers who keep under or oversized fish.
The best smaller lure lately has been the Koolabung 90mm Codbait. Larger lures however, have done most of the damage when catching and releasing large Murray cod. One lure, which has dominated the cod season so far, has been the Koolabung 120mm Codzilla in all colours. Large Bassman Spinnerbaits with coloured blades seem to also be doing the damage.
This summer is set to be a cracker of a season, so get out there and wet a line; you may be surprised what puts a bend in your rod.Reads: 913