The first of the frosty white starts
  |  First Published: April 2017

The outside flap of the swag is stiff as a board; peeling it back for a morning view you take in what greets you – a rustle over yonder means a mate has started to stir. Maybe he will stoke the fire and get a brew going…

The sounds of morning are coming thick and fast. First the kookaburras, then the unmistakable warble of a magpie, and a willie wagtail flits and jumps around with the attitude and confidence of a bird 10 times the size. A wispy whirlwind of fog gets pushed along the pool with the sun’s first rays, and with a coffee in hand it’s hard not to sit and take it all in. It’s so much better than any kitchen or galley I’ve ever seen!

Frosty nights up higher in the catchments cool trout waters quickly, and insect hatches take a little while to get going. In fact, if you are a devotee of the long wand, you can afford a little sleep in. The sun’s rays and warmth are what’s needed to get insects and trout moving in most cases.

Your first-up morning spots should be bathed in early light for the best results with a dry fly. Be patient. You just need to sit and wait, trout will show themselves eventually. Watch them work, then plan your approach and make your first presentation count, because it will most likely be your last on that fish. These trout are spooky and challenging, but that’s why we love it.


The last weeks of April at lower altitudes might well have seen a frost, and the bountiful shrimp and yabbies in Wyangala, Windamere and the local rivers that called the shallows home are suddenly not around. The plentiful baitfish that roamed are now few and far between and depending on the species, a lot bigger and harder for the cod to catch.

Small ducklings and birds have grown into bigger ducks and birds, small lizards are now bigger lizards... I think you may be getting the picture. Put the spider web thin gear away and shelve the smaller offerings. Lure lengths of 100-150mm are no longer big, as the market is slowly catching up. It’s a niche market, but it’s one with plenty of potential in my opinion, one that encompasses quite a different approach, and by that I mean not just the upgrade in tackle to handle casting or trolling such offerings.

It’s still early days for me but these big fish require a totally different mindset to the norm. Firstly, if you’re a numbers angler, you may as well put your rod in the rack now, and if your fishing buddy is a numbers angler, leave them at home.

Don’t underestimate the drawing power of a big bait, especially during peak feed times like change of light. Big cod will move for an easy substantial meal at this time of year if the presentation is right.

We all have one big positive working for us: generally speaking we all know what these big cod are eating, as we have been chasing these fish for years as well. Golden perch, silver perch, carp and redfin are all on the menu. We just need to make the adjustments to target what’s eating them and when.

The sick, weak and erratic are always eaten first in nature, so keep this in mind when retrieving your lure. The jury is still out on surface presentations for me, but a slow constant retrieve seems to be the undoing of most fish. I guess something big that’s swimming awkwardly in a constant forward motion is already a big drawcard.

It really is a case of watch, learn, read and listen and then try with this big bait revolution on cod. There is still a lot for us all to learn.

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