Ghosting big surface cod
  |  First Published: June 2016

With the expected seasonal break running late this year, the intermittent hatching of ghost moths had our native fish looking top side for a feed.

A few weeks ago, before the metamorphosis period was complete, these giant months were hidden in their underground chambers in the form of large white bardi grubs, one of the best baits going for Murray cod. The transition from bardi grub to ghost moth is triggered by the threat of rain. Over the coming weeks these large moths will continue to emerge from their underground chambers to mate and lay their eggs, completing the cycle of life.

Having just returned from a few days fishing along the Murray River, it was interesting to see the correlation between the hatching moths and the way Murray cod quickly see an opportunity to feed. As the chops cooked on the campsite barbeque, a slight sprinkle of rain bounced and spat as each drop landed on the sizzling hot plate. At first it was just one giant moth that spiralled the overhead light ricocheting off almost everything in the well-lit radius. Within a few minutes, it was joined by several more and by barbeque’s end, there were dozens of out of control moths spiralling and crashing into anything including the embers of the glowing campfire.

The next morning on the water, the true carnage of the hatch could be seen. Large dead or dying moths were drifting the river’s course. Their erratic flight patterns had seen many crash into the water and once wet they were doomed. As we made our way slowly down river, a distant explosion of water caught our attention. Had a giant cod just eaten one of the struggling moths as it worked its way towards the safety of shore?

I was fishing with Shepparton angler Troy Harvey and the prospect of catching a large cod from the surface had him scrambling through the tackle box in search of the right lure. His first choice was a jointed Cod Cracker, which has an excellent swimming action that displaces a lot of water at the same time, making the plop-plop sound of an easy feed.

Cast after cast returned across the surface unscathed, and we were beginning to question our technique when an explosion of lip clad water engulfed the struggling lure just feet from the boat. It was a heart-stopping take to say the least, as the rod buckled to breaking point and the cod looked for depth. It was a great fight that ended with a massive cod finning beside the boat with the lure pinned neatly in the top of its mouth.

At 114cm, it was Troy’s biggest Murray cod to date and one he will not quickly forget thanks to the close quarter detonation that moved enough water to wet us both. As we head into the cooler months, surface fishing still remains a good option for Murray cod.

As expected, the cod fishing at most locations along the Murray River has been very good, lifting in tempo as the water temperature has steadily cooled. Swan Hill, Boundary Bend, Robinvale and Wemen have all fished well for Murray cod and golden perch this past month and the good bite should continue into winter. Water clarity has been excellent along the Murray with most of the better-sized fish taking lures. Bait anglers are also catching their share with grubs and scrub worms working best on the cod.

It’s not too cold, make sure you get out and try ghost a big goodoo off the top!

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