Summer goldens and cod fun
  |  First Published: February 2017

The weather is hot, unforgiving and brutal as the soaring temperatures make perspiration feel like rain dripping off sun-kissed skin. It’s something all anglers feel at this time of year as we plop our artificial lures deep into native territory. Beneath the surface behind boulders and windswept willows are the shaded cool pockets of water where our cod and yellowbelly lay poised for their next assault.

Peel River.

Stretches of the Peel River north and south of Tamworth have been fishing very well, providing anglers with a better than average chance at catching some trophy specimens in the process. Golden perch have been active feeding on shrimps and yabbies. Lure fishing for these tough little natives has also been productive with vibration lures like the Balista Juggernaut and Jackall TN range.

The Murray cod in the Peel have also been on the chew and it has been a regular occurrence to catch them on the smaller lures aimed at the perch. If you’re serious about targeting the cod, larger lures like spinnerbaits and 100mm+ diving lures will get you onto a few bigger fish.

A few anglers with large surface lures are also accounting for a few monsters. A lot of study, patience and perseverance is needed to find the holy grail of Murray cod, the satisfaction of landing a Murray cod over a metre long on a surface lure is something most people only dream about. It does happen, so keep casting.

Chaffey dam

Chaffey Dam is a beautiful dam situated about thirty minutes’ drive from Tamworth. Full and firing, Chaffey Dam is home to both golden and silver perch as well as Murray cod, eel-tailed catfish and European carp. When the dam is at 50%, it holds very little structure in the form of timber. If you slow down now and find the flooded timber around the edges, you’ll find fish. My favourite way to find fish in this dam is to find the many weed beds scattered around the western foreshore of the dam.

Fishing heavy tackle around the weeds using small vibrating lures will be productive. Keeping the football-sized goldens out of the weed is another story. Golden perch are suckers for a well-presented bait and worm and shrimp are as good as it gets for most species in this dam. Be sure to carry either of these baits for your chance at a quality mixed bag.

Lake Keepit

In the last couple of months, Keepit Dam has been sensational. I was lucky enough to experience this first hand on a few occasions and it should continue to fish well right though until the end of summer. Golden perch have dominated the catches and the anglers using worms and yabbies around the copious amounts of standing timber have been rewarded with bent rods and full bags.

We had a ball up at the dam following the old riverbed and casting our lipless crankbaits past any likely looking locations. We were on the money fishing deep and hopping our lures along the bottom with some fish pushing 60cm in length. There are Murray cod in the dam and I haven’t been lucky enough to find them, but we’ve seen a few great captures of large cod taken from the banks using bardi grubs and large yabbies. Don’t be surprised if you run into a few brutes on your next outing.

The European carp in the dam have finished their spawning season now and are in full force. If you want to have some fun with the kids while doing the ecosystem a favour, head out there with a tub of worms, corn kernels and bread. Hang on – the action will be thick and fast. You won’t be able to wipe the smile off the kids’ faces.

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