Captain cod comeback
  |  First Published: November 2016

November can be one of the best all round fishing months of the year. All species are available and on the chew. This month will see the water temperature and fish activity rising. Cod have been quiet over the last little while as they’ve had breeding on their minds and rising dam levels.

The cod in Copeton don’t like rising water levels. November is usually a stable month weather-wise and as the water warms the cod will come back on the bite. This month will also see a resurgence in the cod surface bite, so don’t pack away the wakebaits and paddlers just yet.

Chatterbaits have been one of the must-haves over the last month or so. With the slightly discoloured, water bright colours have been the better choice. Swimbaits and spinnerbaits are also taking fish. As dam levels keep rising, more and more of the river upstream is becoming accessible. Remember with changing water levels, an area that was safe last time you were there may not be now – take it easy in changed conditions.

Talking about safety, it’s a good opportunity to remind all fishers using Copeton Dam to follow the boating rules that apply to inland waters. The main concern, that has potentially serious consequences, has been the reluctance of some people to use the required lighting when fishing at night. It’s a requirement to show lights when underway, even under electric power, and when anchored. Check the Maritime Services website for details. It would be terrible to have something go wrong.

Yellowbelly have been biting well for the last couple of months on all the usual methods. Bait fishers have been getting great catches on craybobs and shrimp while lure fishers have been using a mix of vibes, blades and hardbodies to fish the trees and flats. The tops of drowned trees have been very productive. If the dam continues to rise, fishing the edge can also be very productive. Small spinnerbaits can be very good.

It’s a great time of year to target eel-tailed catfish in Copeton. Catties are a great option for the family fishers and kids – gear can be as simple as a handline with a sinker and hook with worm for bait cast off the bank. Catties can be caught off just about any bank. The kids and adults will have a ball with this often overlooked and undervalued native species.

When handling catfish, be careful of the spines on the dorsal and pectoral fins – they can inflict a very painful sting if not handled with care. Nesting catties at this time of year can be very aggressive and can also be caught on lures, sometimes even sight casting. The catfish in Copeton regularly top 60cm and will give you a great tussle before you can land them.

The Jackall Copeton Cod Classic was run during September. On a very tough bite due to wet weather and rising water levels, Nathan Mercer and Graham Ford from Team Water Rats came out on top with a beautiful 109cm fish. Matty Anderson also scored a 103cm fish during the competition.


The winners of the Jackall Copeton Cod Classic.


These boys pulled up a monster fish!

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