It helps if you’re mad!
  |  First Published: March 2004

I HAVE just returned from a three-day wilderness Murray cod mission and after a ridiculously long hike, I feel like I’m about 105.

With the water levels high and the paddocks too full to drive through, we were forced to walk the extra kilometres to get to the fish – through thick bush and even hailstorms. Such are the conditions we often endure to get to the best fishing. Some might say we are mad. I would say to those people that there’s a fair chance they’re right.

Under normal circumstances, I would say that the river would have been too high to fish well but that beautiful warm floodwater must have been just what the Cod Doctor ordered and the fish were keen enough for a lure. Although it wasn’t up to our normal strike rate, the lads still managed more than 40 cod to about 4kg over a couple of days. They were mainly taken on large, dark-coloured lures, presumably because the fish could get onto them in the dirty water.

There were no truly big ones about, although one of the guys did see a jumbo chase a smaller one almost out of the water and others had suspicious marks on them, suggesting they had gone close to being someone else’s dinner but had escaped.

The big ones are there they are just waiting for the right time to come out and play and we still have a good couple of months left in the season. We were rained and stormed upon quite a few times during the trip but I didn’t care – I am just happy to be getting wet!

This month’s pictures were supplied by Moree’s own angling pedagogue – Richard Ping Kee. When you talk to this proprietor of local tackle shop Hong Yuen’s, you might get the impression that the whole of Moree has been going fishing, such is his enthusiasm and passion for the sport. By the look of the photos, the whole family is getting in on the act, too.


Richard reports that the Gwydir River out there was fishing well even before the high water came through, so this would be a terrific place to look for some Autumn cod action. Richard claims that the vast majority of the locals he meets now practise catch and release to a great degree and I ask that if you go for a visit that you, too, are respectful of the river, the locals and the wonderful stocking that has taken place out there.

By the sound of it, the Ping Kees like nothing more than to pull up-stumps for the weekend and head up to Lake Pindari, near Ashford, for some impoundment action. Richard says the Berkley Frenzy lures, particularly in the silver pattern, have been cracking the goldens there. Other times, he uses the Luhr Jensen Hot Lips in the Deep Secret model to get down when the cod are holding on structure. Since the water is now gushing into Pindari, you can expect this place to go off like a bomb right until the cold weather hits.

Richard speaks highly of his new fishing partner and future daughter-in-law Melissa Doust, whom, he says, is now hooked on lure fishing and as keen as any other angler he knows. On a trip to Pindari earlier this season it sounds like she impressed the hell out of him. Richard says: “Get this – she puts the lures in the water to see what they look like and then she makes her selection. Since the water clarity changed so often around the dam that day, she got the results. Very smart idea, don't you think? Anyway, it's a practice I'm going to do from now on.”

Can’t teach an old dog? You bet you can!

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