The fish are becoming more active
  |  First Published: April 2017

Thank goodness we are into autumn and the weather and water are starting to cool down. This summer has been one of the hottest on record with the surface water temperatures reaching 30°C and higher.

Now the water is starting to cool, fish will become more active. April can be one of the best months to fish Copeton, with an increase in activity of both yellowbelly and Murray cod. It is also a great month to camp at the dam, with the heat out of the days and the nights cool. There’s nothing better than sitting around a fire with a feed in the camp oven.

This time of year it’s not even that hard to drag yourself out of the swag before daylight to go chase that metre cod. April can often see this area get its first frost for the year, often around ANZAC Day, and this will usually see the big cod start to feed up as they prepare for the winter season.

April can also see the start of the winter weather patterns. The high pressure systems will be moving up and bring about longer periods of high barometer readings above 1020. These stable conditions make fishing very comfortable and the fish more cooperative – happy days.

All the usual methods will work at this time of year. Surface fish for big cod from the last hour of dark until sunup, head back to camp for breakfast and then back out to chase yellowbelly on vibes and lipless crankbaits. Swing back to camp for lunch and a quick snooze and head out at about 3pm, this time armed with big spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, swimbaits or soft plastics to target big cod.

Just before dark again, tie on a big wakebait or paddler in search of the ultimate surface strike, as nothing moves water or can stop your heart like a monster cod. Get back to camp for a feed and a couple of cold beers. Does life get any better? I don’t think so.

It seems every time you look at a fishing magazine or website there is something new in the world of cod fishing, be it rods and reels or lures. Big cod are driving the tackle industry at the moment. It seems like a fish that will easily swallow a full-grown duck or a 40cm yellowbelly has got the lure industry producing bigger and bigger lures – 300mm+. This in turn requires specialist rods to cast and stronger internal gearing in reels as well.

This is now one of the few areas in fishing where the tackle being used is more a product of the baits we are fishing than the fish we are catching. Some of these new lures, particularly swimbaits, are weighing as much as 6-8oz and sometimes more. Now’s the time to hit the gym to build up those arms and shoulders in time for this year’s big fish season.

• Copeton Dam is one of the best lakes in NSW to catch a trophy Murray cod. Dave runs the Copeton Waters Holiday Park and is a great source of up to date, local information on what’s biting. Contact the park on (02) 6723 6269 for information and accommodation bookings.

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