Pulling out the big gun lures
  |  First Published: May 2017

May is finally here with the cold weather. It’s big fish time. May would be one of the best months to chase the big Murray cod that Copeton has become famous for. This is the time to be using the big guns, heavy tackle and big lures. The last 12 months have seen some major advances in tackle, which have been driven by the desire of fishers to be able to cast bigger and bigger lures.

Last winter we saw the rise of the wakebait. Some standouts in this field were the Mudeye Snake and New England Lures Wakebait. Both these lures are well over 200mm in length and weigh over 4oz. To constantly cast these lures, specialist rods are required, and there are now a number of options to look at. Wilson, Loomis, Daiwa and Samaki all have some cracking rods suited to these big lures.

Fishers are now looking at the heaver end of the baitcaster reel market to balance these rods. Most of the big tackle companies have reels that fit this category. The Shimano TranX300 and Diawa Lexa300 come to mind. The other area to consider is your main line. Braid is still the way to go, but when casting these big, heavy and expensive lures a backlash can see your lure disappear into the night if you are only fishing 20 or 30lb line. Most big lure fans are now stepping up to 40-60lb high quality braid to avoid this problem.

This year I think the swimbaits are going to have a big impact on the Copeton cod fishing. These segmented fish replicas are so lifelike that all that is required is a slow roll with the occasional pause. The longer you can keep these things in front of the fish, the more likely the cod are to convince themselves that it is real and they should eat it. One standout so far has been the Jackall Gantarels. There are many more that will hit the market soon.

Stable weather patterns associated with high pressure systems are what we want to see this month. This will provide the ideal conditions for a big cod bite. Pressure above 1020hPa will provide the conditions all fishers want to see. As the weather cools the fish will move into the shallows to chase the baitfish that are attracted to the slightly warmer water and the insect activity that this provides.

It’s hard to say exactly what is going on in this shallow water. My guess is that smaller baitfish like common carp, spangled perch and maybe silver perch are feeding on some sort of emerging insect or larvae in the shallow margins. These then attract the major predators, Murray cod. I have seen cod cruising around in water just deep enough to cover their backs.

The end of the irrigation season and some good autumn rain events have the dam level on the rise since early in April. This is also good news as falling water levels generally have an adverse effect on the fishing at Copeton. Water covering new ground gives the smaller fish a great new food supply in the form of worms, grubs, crickets and more. This will again bring cod size meals into the shallows where Murray cod will be hunting under the cover of darkness.

All in all, May is my favourite month of the year to fish Copeton Dam. It’s cold without being freezing overnight, and the days are still warm. You can fish 24/7 at this time of year.

• 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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