Setlines take their toll
  |  First Published: March 2005

‘It was the best of times; it was the worst of times’. It’s a perfect analogy of the cod fishing our area has experienced so far this season.

Heaps of big cod have been caught; heaps of big cod have been killed. If it continues at its current rate, a couple more seasons should see this reporter out of a job. I guess those that love their banjo music can’t wait for that day to arrive.

Keep stuffing them in the freezer, boys. A few more seasons and setlines will be banned. The balance will swing in the cod’s favor when you blokes have to come to terms with the complexities of rod and reel.

Lake Charm, near Swan Hill, continues to provide plenty of redfin action. Anglers bobbing river shrimp, soft plastics and ice jigs have been rewarded with good bags of fish, some of which have been up around 1.5kg. This trend should continue over the coming weeks.

The Murray River around Swan Hill has also started to fish well with cod to33kg and golden perch to 2kg. Most fish have been taken on bait, with shrimp, bardies and yabbies all working well. A few fish have also been landed on lures but nothing of any substance so far.

In fishing terms, the Swan Hill area is gaining the reputation as the gateway to the Land of Giants. This is backed up by the latest in a string of cod to crack the old 100lb mark. Taken recently in the Nema River, this monster was guesstimated at around 60kg (135lb) and measured almost 1.5 metres, making it a bloody big fish in anyone’s terms. All reports on the method of capture have it snared on a setline baited with a large yabby.

The Murrumbidgee at Balranald has been a little hit-and-miss of late. Water clarity is exceptional, with more than a metre of visibility perhaps making the fish a little gun-shy. Casting small lures around the snags will still turn up a few nice yellas but the cod are certainly playing hardball.

Over the coming months the fishing will only continue to improve in all areas. We have only begun to scratch the surface of this season so far; there are plenty of big cod to come before it’s over. If you are lucky enough to catch one, put the banjo down and pick up a camera and then let it go.

Jock Mackenzie with a couple of nice fish taken in the Murrumbidgee River. While they may be a little slow, persistence will, most times, pay off.

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