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A ripper cod season ahead
  |  First Published: December 2007



Now we can finally hit the water and go head to head with our beloved Murray cod at the start of what looks set to be a ripper season for our native fish.

With most rivers low and the water clarity as good as I’ve seen, you can bet the lure scene is set to explode.

During the closed cod season, die-hard bait fishos were singing the praises of these new-fangled spinnerbaits as the greatest thing ever for catching golden perch. Just wait until they upsize and start getting smashed by a few giant greenfish.

Last season spinnerbaits and the little-known Bassman Mumblers were the catalyst to some of the best cod fishing many of us had been a part of. Multiple captures of metre-plus fish on these bladed lures set the bar for the coming season.

With conditions almost identical, I see no reason that with what we have learnt that we can’t improve and surpass our best season ever. The thought of what’s to come has my hands trembling with excitement and an oversized tackle box brimming with these flashy lures.

I guess the most talked about subjects for the coming season are the new rules and regulations set to change the long-time habits of some anglers.

Springers or setlines are now a thing of the past and for many this is good news. Others, however, blatantly confess that they will continue to fish in this manner, it just means they will now have to hide their lines below water level.

Isn’t it sad to think that there is an element out there that believe it is their right to treat a regulated fishery how they deem fit? The mere fact that they are prepared to hide their practices portrays their true character and an understanding that what they are doing is wrong.

Theft is exactly that: Be it a few fish or a television set, it makes no difference; the law is the law on water or land.

Size limits have also been lifted on Murray cod with a minimum legal size of 55cm for this season. This is then set to increase to 60cm in the 2008/09 season.

This will also no doubt bend a few noses out of joint but in the long run it should also be beneficial to the future wellbeing of the fishery. An extra season or two to breed, not to mention an average increase in size, are surely positives.

From an angling perspective, this will mean that when you do catch a legal cod it should be around 4kg to 5kg. At this size, they are a good scrap on the line and more than enough to feed your average family. It’s win-win for anglers and cod alike.

LACK OF WATER

The real worry under the current drought conditions does not lie so much with the anglers but more the state of the rivers. Lack of water could spell disaster for some of our smaller rivers.

We have already seen a fish kill due to low water in the upper reaches of the Wakool River and there are several other watercourses that could easily feel the pressure of a long, hot Summer.

With little water in reserve to mend this problem, we can only look to the sky in hope. As for the Murray itself, there should be ample water backed up behind the lochs around Robinvale, Mildura and Wentworth. As for the long, shallow stretches of river in between, only time will tell.

The lakes between Swan Hill and Kerang have plenty of water and should produce excellent bags of redfin over coming months. They are already starting to fire with quality fish to 1.5kg caught.

Lake Charm seems to be the pick, with the most productive baits being river shrimp and whitebait. Cod are also on the cards as these lakes have been stocked so you never know your luck.

Other than the pressure of the drought’s low water levels, all looks set for a great cod opening and some excellent fishing ahead. If you’re heading this way, don’t forget to pack a few spinnerbaits.

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