The best in years
  |  First Published: February 2005

With each passing season we like to think, as anglers, that certain things are defined.

The hazy crystal ball of where, when and how begins to clear and suddenly we have part of the fishing puzzle down pat. This season my crystal ball lies shattered amid high rivers, dirty water and a series of low frontal systems that have pushed the needle on the barometer down past breaking point.

Amid all these negatives, the surrounding waters are experiencing some of the best fishing in memory!

It would be far easier to say where the fish aren’t biting and leave it at that but this report requires a little more than a one-liner.

Lets start with the lakes. Lake Charm and Kangaroo Lake, near Swan Hill, have had many anglers up to their armpits in redfin. Best baits have covered the board and almost anything goes but it’s hard to go past live river shrimp fished with minimal weight. On the table, the redfin have no freshwater equal and with many fish exceeding a kilo, anglers are dining first class.

Our rivers are also fishing well, none better than the Wakool. Over four days one group of 15 anglers managed to land 527 Murray cod. It just goes to show the mighty cod has turned the corner in some places. Although many of these fish were undersize, there were a few nice specimens among them.

Bait was the key to this monumental capture and, once again, it seems cheese will receive a regular mention throughout the season. While we are on the Wakool, one lucky angler fishing a grub-yabby cocktail caught the cod of a lifetime, weighing in at 54.4kg (120lb) and from all reports was absolutely huge.

The Murray from Swan Hill right through to Wentworth has also seen plenty of action from cod and golden perch. The majority of fish are taking bait with just the odd capture on lures. All the standard baits apply: Grubs, yabbies, shrimps and worms, you name it, everything seems to be working. The fishing is full on in most areas.


One river that has provided lure anglers with opportunity has been the Murrumbidgee. After the Mulwala Cod Classic in December I had the opportunity to be tutored in the finer points of spinnerbaits by none other than the barefoot bandit, Dave Hodge. The only way the barometer could get any lower was to bend the needle, but despite this we caught plenty of fish.

Over two days we landed more than 30 cod, the biggest around 10kg, and at least a dozen golden perch. We were also smoked on a couple of occasions by giant green ‘Swartzencod’. All I can say is, “I’ll be back.”

Few other anglers were taking fish over our visit and I credit our success to nothing more than Hodgie’s intimate knowledge on the use of spinnerbaits and the range of Bassman lures that did the job. The man is a magician and the lures are magic.

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