More than cod to get excited about
  |  First Published: December 2016

This season’s big rains have ensured a healthy, vibrant flush in many of our local rivers that have provided the optimum conditions for our native fish stocks to breed.

Unfortunately, it has also been conducive to mass breeding of other waterborne creatures, not least of all the much-loathed mosquito. Their larvae no doubt feeds a plethora of frogs, fish and other hunters of small aquatic creatures, but once they hatch and take to the air, the tables are turned and anything that moves is on the menu.

Mosquito numbers along many sections of the Murray River have exploded to the point where any exposed skin quickly becomes a winged blanket of probing stingers. All jokes aside, to venture into the bush unprepared is to become an unwilling blood donor—minus the biscuit and tea. Make sure you cover up well and coat bare skin and light clothing in some form of repellent. If you venture out unprepared, believe me, there will be more than fish on the bite.

Aside from the mozzies, it’s hard not to get a little excited as we once again roll headlong into the open of the Murray cod season. During the three-month closure, high rivers and turbid flows have changed the face of many waters and no doubt shuffled and shifted resident fish.

With this in mind, bait will be a major player early season as some waters will continue to run high and dirty. The prospect of chipping a few grubs from beneath the topsoil of the giant red river gums does little to excite me. In fact, I begin puffing and break into a sweat each time I look at the shovel. But it’s honest work and as bait goes, few if any are as good for Murray cod as a large fat bardi grub.

Other early season baits will include large scrubworms, yabbies and kitchen baits like cheese and chicken. Perch will also bite well early in the season on bait, so you are in for an each way bet, especially when fishing worms, smaller yabbies and shrimp.

Yes, there has been much to ponder during the close and the majority of it hinges on this season’s changes and last season’s success. New lures have been tinkered and tuned in readiness and the box is full to overflowing with all manner of cod catching attire.

Off the back of last season’s success of cod on fly, a wondrous array of fur and feather clad hooks are ready to tempt a few greens. Many of these creations are huge in comparison to those we have fished in the past and each and every carry an armoury of upsized hooks to pin the prize. Some are true works of art, a testament to the skill and patience painstakingly woven into each creation by its maker. I cannot wait to give them a swim and hope that somewhere during the course of the season, one is engulfed by a monster green.

Surface cod were another stand out catch last season and the trend for wakebaits to appear has not waned over the closure, with several new makes and models now available. I am sure there will be plenty of good cod caught off the surface as this form of fishing continues to create its own momentum in many of our lakes and rivers.

With so much water around, yabbies will be high on the menu at many locations and catching a feed of these tasty crustaceans is nothing short of great fun.

All up, it looks set to be a great cod season that will start with higher than normal water levels. While it may be a challenge at first, anglers will adjust and continue to catch good fish on both bait and lures.

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