Patience is the key to unlock big cod
  |  First Published: July 2016

When it comes to fishing in the Riverina region – July is probably the toughest month to fish. This is probably the same for most freshwater fisheries in the country. Everything shuts down – with one exception.

The water temperature will reach its minimum in the heart of winter. All the food in the waterway like shrimp, small baitfish, yabbies, bugs, moths, and small animals along the bank edges have all but disappeared. That one exception I was talking about is the biggest of predators that will still be on the hunt, and with little food around our lures are looking tasty.

I talked about fishing in winter in the previous report and the same styles and techniques are used this month as well. However, the conditions will be colder and fishing most likely slower. You need to make sure you have patience and put in the effort and most important of all – think big!

Murrumbidgee River

How good is the water clarity during winter? Everything clears right up due to the low flows, the slowing down of the carp and the lack of boats on the water. It’s incredible to actually see further than a foot into the water. When we have 10 days free without heavy rains you will be able to see over a metre into the water around Wagga. This makes for some visual native fishing as you can actually see the shape of the fish come up from the depth rather than just seeing it when it breaks the muddy surface.

This clarity can also be against you as the fish can see further as well, which makes them feel a little more threatened and not as confident. Make sure to stay an extra few metres away from the structure than you normally would when casting lures, especially if you are in a boat. You want to avoid casting a shadow over the snag or making too much noise.

Another really helpful tip for fishing in winter that goes for lures and bait is make sure you work the areas in the sunlight more than usual. This goes against the normal practice of targeting areas of shade, and July is the month when this rule doesn’t apply. As the water is around 8°C, the cod are far from comfortable and the spots that are in the sun will be slightly warmer from the shaded areas. Seek the warmth to find more active fish.

Baitfishing will be very slow during this month, as the fish won’t move far for food. I recommended casting big lures. As I said, make sure you think big and this all starts with your lure choice. Casting and trolling large hardbodies in the 90-120mm range that are large and have a big profile will do the trick. I like to use the 90mm AC Invader as it produces a big thump under the water. Upsize the blades on your spinnerbaits to large Colorado blades to produce more thump. Fish the big logs hard and don’t give up.

Blowering Dam

I have yet to touch on Blowering, but now is the time we start to see a little bit of movement in the dam. Casting the rocky edges with large spinnerbaits, mumblers and large plastics will be worth a shot late this month. August will be the month that fires, but the last week of July can start to see results of some big cod. This is a great way to target Murray cod on the cast with little boat traffic.

It’s a cold time of year, so make sure you dress accordingly. Something else that can keep you out of trouble is to pack a spare set of clothes when heading out fishing. It may sound stupid but you can fall in and it has happened to me on many occasions. It pays to be prepared.

Until next time, happy fishing.

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