Dust off the baitcasters
  |  First Published: December 2016

The predawn glow out to the east has me smiling, the air is cold, my breathing is heavy. Droplets of dew propel forward off my boots with every stride like little glass tracer bullets, grass seeds piggyback my trousers, hitchhikers to destinations unknown. The track I weave glistens behind me in the grass, it’s a track, a journey I’ve taken many times on this day. But this is not just any day, it’s cod opening day!

The click of the thumb bar will be a nervous one. It’s been three months in the waiting. Will my first cast be on the money? Will my first retrieve be smashed? Gosh, I hope so!

Cod waters, specifically smaller rivers and creeks, really amplify my anticipation, you just know where a good fish is going to hold. The flipside is that it is more than likely going to be a one shot pony, so try to get it right the first time (no pressure).

Some casting practice in the backyard will definitely hold you in good stead. One thing is for sure, once hooked, they will know where home is, whether it be an undercut logjam, or a rock-filled cave no doubt filled with a tangled web of expensive lure bling from seasons past.

Larger cod water has its attractions too, and boat-based waters such as Wyangala and Burrendong offer fresh troll runs, pocket casting at bays filled with rocks and pushed up logs. The anticipation is something to behold, and that first bump, that first hit, that first hook up is what we live for. I just hope the season is a good one for you all.


Yes we do live in hope, and Lake Lyell bass are very hit and miss, and to be honest, that’s just how I like it. It’s often hard work and hard yards, with just rewards for those who put in the effort.

The trout in Lake Lyell will come a little easier, and flatline trolling the early hours of the morning before going a little deeper as light levels increase is the way to go. Pay particular attention to any depth sounder you are running. It’s your eyes underwater and the good ones don’t lie. Adjust your lure depths to suit what fish and bait concentrations you’re seeing. Repeat runs in productive waters are the go. Do a loop, and chances are hookups will be repeated – what’s not to like about that?


It should be a good summer of fishing in Ben Chifley Dam with good flows in late winter and early spring, and the water has had a good opportunity to turn over and flush. Weedbeds will be rejuvinated, baitfish numbers will explode, and life in general will be good for anything with fins and gills.

Ben Chifley Dam is a real mixed species dam. Trout numbers are nowhere near what they used to be, but I’m hearing a few whispers of the odd one getting caught in the upper reaches, possibly pushed down out of stocked waters upstream.

Golden perch and cod can also be targeted by casting or trolling the rock walls and weed beds. Standard techniques apply in most circumstances, with a leaning towards anything that looks like a redfin in the late afternoons and early mornings. Native fish tend to use these lowlight periods to move away from structure to prey on the hordes of smaller redfin.

Speaking of redfin, larger specimens will also cannibalise on the smaller ones, so if you see bigger arches on the sounder off to the side, chances are that’s what they are. Cast away from the school and work your lure erratically for some bigger rod thumping action.

Redfin are so good to eat, so go prepared with an ice slurry, sharp knife, fillet board and you will not be disappointed.

Hope to see you all on the water soon. Until then, tight lines!

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