Murray River tournaments
  |  First Published: April 2007

Early February saw the running of the highly prestigious Fitters Classic with all participants camping on Rat Island for the weekend. The fishing was pretty tough, but Daniel Hawkins came through with the goods, taking home the champion angler title for the second year in a row.

Hawko chose to cast the new Codman series spinnerbait from the Bassman range and it helped him to claim a beautiful 73cm cod. At the other end of the scale, Rod Panter managed to pip Peter Green to take home the NAFA title.

Over the weekend of the Fitters Classic I ran into a couple of old football mates: Matt Davis and Dean Langford. While sitting there having a yak, Matt’s Kmart-special rod buckled over and was nearly pulled out of the boat. With the reflexes of a sloth, Matt grabbed hold and proceeded to land a 52cm cod. The fish was destined for the fry pan but I promised the boys a story in VFM if the fish was released, so here it is!

Mid February saw the running of the Lowrance Lake Mulwala Da$h 4 Ca$h super series with some big prize money up for grabs. This catch and release event attracted 58 teams from far and wide. After a big storm on Friday night, the fish were shut down on Saturday – only six legal-sized fish were weighed in all day.

Sunday’s fishing improved somewhat with 14 legal fish being caught. The highlight for the weekend was Phil Keetelaar’s magnificent 93cm cod caught within 36 minutes of the start on Saturday morning. Unfortunately for Phil, Team Wholesale Marine of Ben Ross and Peter Roberts managed two legal fish in this session to take out the money.

Saturday afternoon saw Team Wagga Fishing World, Graeme Clark and Jim Taylor, come through with the goods while Jamie Roberts and Brian Williamson from Team Uglyfish took home the big dollars on Sunday morning. Along with the cash, the winning team from each event received an X125 sounder from Lowrance.

Another young fella I came across was 14-year-old Matt Cushman from Wangaratta. Matt was staying at the Lake Edge Resort and spent the majority of his days casting spinnerbaits off the break wall at the ski club. Through his persistence, Matt landed a 53cm cod and a 38cm yella. I think it’s great when you see a kid so passionate about his fishing. I encourage all older anglers to help these younger fishers out. Share your knowledge with them, or if you have a spare lure you think they may be able to use, give it to them because the look of appreciation on their face is priceless.

The first weekend of March saw the third leg of the Masters Series hit town. 46 dedicated anglers from across Victoria and NSW were left pulling their hair out trying to turn up a legal-sized fish to put them in the money. All in all 12 legal cod were measured with Jamie Roberts pipping Gary Andrews at the post with a top fish of 77cm.

Over the weekend teams reported landing up to 14 fish with none of them being legal. Although this is good fishing, it again highlights that something must be done to protect fish that are just coming into breeding size, with large numbers of 40-49cm cod in Mulwala.

As all these flash boats whizzed around, trying to find fish and blacking out GPS screens with waypoints from where they had been, young Dillon Rose from Mulwala casually waltzed down to the Mulwala swimming pool and tossed in a bardi grub. After quiet lemonade, Dillon was rewarded with a cod of 53cm. Many of the participants of the various competitions that have been held here of recent times would have killed for a fish like that, especially Joe Linehan. - Tony Bennett

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