The winter cod season has been an absolute cracker with amazing numbers of big Murray cod taken and released. We have seen many fish over a metre long caught each week – probably a couple hundred since the beginning of the year. Copeton has definitely become the cod capital of Australia and will be the only waterway open for cod in NSW.
This winter has been the year of the wakebait. Australian lure producers couldn’t keep up with the demand. The Copeton kiosk has been stocking Mudeye Snakes and New England wakebaits, and when each shipment arrives they have been either pre-sold or sold out within 24 hours. Wakebaits have been the go to this year, but paddlers, fizzers and stickbaits are all working. My good mate, Gary Lamrock, got the fish of a lifetime when we landed a 125cm monster on a new 140mm Water Stalker Spook surface paddler. We estimated this fish to be around 45kg.
The winter surface bite has been quiet this year, without high pressure systems moving across our part of the country. This has led to the use of more surface presentations. Two other big selling lures this season have been swimbaits and chatterbaits. Jackall Gantarels, Chibitarels and Gantias have been the most successful swimbaits, while the Bassman Mumblers and AusSpin Cod Botherers have been the best of the chatterbaits.
Most cod have come off the weed beds, which are now harder to find after some significant inflows during July. An increase in dam level of over 1.5m, or 3.5%, with a warmer than normal winter has resulted in different fishing this year. This will have contributed to the quieter surface bite.
Swimbaits were something I hadn’t experienced until this year, and they are lures with very subtle actions. They can be manipulated and twitched in a way that is ultra-realistic. I used a Chibitarel recently and had a big yellowbelly follow the lure into view. I stopped the retrieve and watched the fish react – with each twitch of the lure, the fish became visibly more excited until on the fourth or fifth twitch. Unable to resist any longer, the gills flared as the fish engulfed the lure only a metre off the rod tip.
We’ve had fishers from all over Australia visiting Copeton Waters Holiday Park to sample the quality of our cod fishing. The other day I booked two people in, one after the other. One was from Mackay in QLD and the other was from Melbourne, 2,600km apart. We’re also seeing fishers coming back time after time to upgrade their PBs. Fascinating, in Copeton, your next cast may well be a metre long monster weighing over 100lb. It’s only a matter of time until a 1.5m fish comes out of Copeton. Remember, take a photo of your fish on a brag mat and enter your King & Queen of Copeton Competition, on the Facebook page, Inland Waters Holiday Parks/ Copeton Waters.
September will see the weather starting to warm a little and this will reignite the yellowbelly fishing at Copeton. Early in the season, yellowbelly will start in the trees then will start to school and move onto the flats. Grubbing the trees will be your go to technique in early September. At the first sign of fish schooling on the flats, it will be time to bring out the lipless cranks and blades. In Copeton, Mazzy Vibes rule, both rattling and Ninja sound depending on the mood of fish on the day. As for blades, the EcoGear ZXs and VXs are hard to go past.
Gary Lamrock with his 125cm fish of a lifetime on a new Water Stalker 140mm Spook.
This yellowbelly was caught on a Jackall Chibitarel.Reads: 2022