Copeton cod keep coming
  |  First Published: February 2005

You’ll have to forgive me, but after two weeks of tearing around the waters of Moreton and Hervey bays it’s hard to seat myself and seriously consider my options once back home.

To a fly nut like me the joys of chasing, hooking and losing northern bluefin tuna and nailing a few spotted mackerel and a host of other pelagics exotic to me is a heady concoction that’ll take some time to come down from.

One moment, in particular, that has sobered me up and got my thoughts back home was a photo of local angler Michael Clark holding a beautiful Murray cod caught on Copeton Dam.

A name that keeps coming up in conversations about oversize Murray cod is Copeton Dam. Synonymous with big cod and Copeton are Jamie Flett and his Mud-Eye lures. Mud-Eye lures, whether in the hands of their creator or others, continue to take the lion’s share of the big fish in Copeton and in the surrounding waters of the New England area.

Another notable is Armidale local Greg ‘Fraz’ Farrell. Recently I was lucky enough to get my mitts on a handful of new spinnerbaits, made by Greg under the name Fraz’s Custom Tackle, so stay tuned for a full review in a future issue. These lures have already nailed a few good fish and with Fraz’s local knowledge and commitment to customising his lures to the customer’s needs, should soon become an esteemed addition to the serious freshwater fisho’s arsenal.

Most of the really big cod (fish around the metre mark or more) are falling for 1oz to 2oz spinnerbaits worked down deep or the large diving minnows such as the Mud-Eyes.

Best times to fish are late afternoon through to the wee hours of the morning. As I’ve mentioned in the past, Copeton fishes well from the shore. However, the best way to target the big ones is from a boat working into the structure, particularly around deep rocky points.

Daytime is when the spinnerbaits really come into play as they can be slowly trolled way down deep or cast into deep structure and allowed to flutter annoyingly down in front of the fish’s nose.

The most important fact to remember is that these big cod are an asset too precious for one person to catch and butcher simply to feed the whole neighbourhood and brag about it.

By all means brag (I would!) but please make sure you take only a few quick snaps and slip them back in for next time.


With the rain still regularly, reports of good bass catches are still coming through at an almost monotonous rate.

Traditionally, February has always been a good time to go bass fishing in the nearby gorges. With the cicadas in full swing, the topwater action is pretty reliable and the warm water means the fish are going to be active.

In the more popular spots the fish have also had a chance to calm down after being nearly pelted to death over the school holidays.

Good places to concentrate are in the fast flowing water at the head of deep pools and also around deep structure in the middle as well. Shallower sections don’t tend to fish as well at this time of year because the water can get quite warm during the day, tending to make the fish lethargic.

Small, 1/8oz to 3/8oz spinnerbaits with little Colorado blades can be used with amazing results in these situations. The Colorado blades allow the lure to be fished really slowly down deep with pausing to allow it flutter down rock faces and drop-offs.

When the fish are little timid, soft-plastics can be used in the same manner.

Later in the day and into the night, the fish will start to move into the shallower water and this is when you should switch to surface lures.

The most important thing that most people miss with surface lures is that you can’t be slow enough. Do-nothing retrieves with short, barely perceptible twitches keep the lure in the strike zone longer and are less likely to spook fish than tearing the lure back across the pool.

Floating soft plastic frogs are great for this type of fishing with the fish often striking between twitches when the frog lies motionless, legs a-wobbling.

Floating deep-divers are also good at this time. Highly buoyant lures work best as they can be twitched under and then allowed to shoot back up to the surface. Bass will most often nail the lure, in an explosion of spray, just as you’ve lost patience and you’re about to rip it under again – awesome stuff.

Michael Clark with a beautifully coloured 89cm cod taken on a Mudeye lure. Yet another benchmark fish to fall for one of Jamie Flett’s creations.
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