You’re hot and cold, you’re yellowbelly and cod
  |  First Published: December 2016

Can you believe December is here and Christmas is only around the corner? The rain has continued through spring and water levels continue to rise at Copeton. The new concrete boat ramp that the park installed over the past two years has gone from not reaching the water to underwater in a couple of months.

The early summer can be a wonderful time for all the family at Copeton Waters with warm days and evenings just perfect for sitting around a campfire, roasting marshmallows. If you’re hoping to stay at Copeton Waters Holiday Park during the summer, especially for the school holidays, give the office a call and speak to one of our friendly staff about booking your accommodation. Although our cabins are in limited supply, we have 80 powered sites and unlimited bush camping.

The fishing has been very good, with short periods when it’s shut down. Quiet times have been a result of either cold snaps or high inflows into the dam. Yellowbelly are the fish that bring the fishers to Copeton at this time of year, and with good reason. This year the fish have been biting well and the average size has been in the high 40s.

The go to lures have again been Jackall TN50 and 60s, small Transams and Gene 55s, Mazzy Vibes in both standard and Ninja Sound and small blades.

As the summer progresses and water surface temperatures climb to the high 20s, it becomes very important to think about the welfare of the fish you catch. The problem lies in the fact that during the heat of the summer, we may pull fish out of water that is 20-40ft deep and as much as 10-15°C cooler than the surface water. The problem for the fish can be twofold, barotrauma and temperature change, which can make successful release difficult. The best method of overcoming this problem is the use of a deep water release device.

The basic principle is to attach a weight to the fish and lower it back into the cool depths where it came from – this also re-compresses the fish and fixes issues with barotrauma. When the fish get back into their comfort zone, you’ll feel them revive. It’s then a matter of a quick jerk on the line to release your fish.

The Murray cod fishing has been steadily improving as water levels stabilise. All the normal methods are working, but one area that’s been popular over the last six months has been the use of soft plastics. The use of soft plastics for cod requires mainly shad styles that have plenty of tail action and body roll – some of the standouts have been the Zerek Flat Shads in 7” and 9”, Westin ShadTeez and Storm RIP Shads 8”.

These can be rigged a number of ways from standard jigheads to weedless to including stinger hooks. There’s still a lot of experimentation going on to come up with the ultimate rigging method. Keep in mind that you’re going to require hooks in the 8/0-10/0 size with weights to suit water depth and/or current. Half the fun of fishing is working things like this out.

For all your holiday accommodation, contact the Copeton Waters Holiday Park office on (02) 6723 6269. Have a merry Christmas and happy New Years.


Bill and Tammy Bell with Tammy’s birthday cod.


Even the author gets a fish now and then – and what a fish!


Josh Usher with an awesome cod caught on plastic.

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