What’s under the surface
  |  First Published: July 2016

Surface fishing is one of the most addictive ways to target Murray cod. When you get your first boof on the surface you will be hooked for life!

Surface luring for Murray cod is rapidly growing in popularity. It is not as productive as diving hardbodied lures due to the poor hook-up rates, and the fact that it is best done at the low light periods of the day, or during the night. However, it is an extremely exciting form of fishing for those willing to stay out late.

You can catch a small fish on a big lure but it’s unlikely you will catch a big fish on a small lure in winter. At this time of year, BIG lures are best. Murray cod are well known as being a lazy fish at the best of times so, as you can imagine, in cold water temperatures they aren't going to make much of an effort for a measly 70mm lure. You need to use big presentations that represent a worthwhile meal to these fish. From a hardbody perspective, 90mm-150mm lures are prefect.

You need to target shade or structure. Big rocks and tree laydowns on the edge of the river out of the main flow are good places to start. The cod in winter don't want to work too hard for their food, so they will be sitting out of the main river current, saving their energy for the next meal that swims by.

The Gear

I use a baitcast outfit for this sort of fishing. It’s a blue Gomoku from Rapala matched with a Shimano Chronarch. In the river in summer I use 20/20 (i.e. my braid is 20lb and my leader is also 20lb) but in winter I step my leader up to 30lb as I know that fish of a lifetime could be in the next cast.

The best lures I have found are Jackall Pompadours, as I find the hook-up rate is a lot better than most of the others. The only thing that I do is upgrade the split rings and the hook, as I have had a few fish lost on the standard hooks and split rings. There are a lot of colours out there, but most of the time I find that darker colours are better. Occasionally white ones have their day in winter, too.


I fish around the moon phase, and try to fish three days before the full moon right up to the full moon. I have found the cod to be a lot more active in the river and the dams at this time.

I have caught a lot of cod over the years but the best way to catch them is off the surface. You just don't know where the big greenback is going to hit your lure. Most of the time, if the fish are on the bite the boof will come as the lure hits the water, or as you turn the hand over for the first time after a slight pause in the retrieve. The best boof, however, is the one at your feet just before you pull your lure out of the water. That really gets the heart rate going!

For all the latest info on what’s biting and where, drop into Tackle World Orange at 66 Peisley St, Orange or call them on (02) 6361 8924. You can also see the latest specials and catches at www.facebook.com/TackleWorldOrangeNSW.

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