Serious action starts
  |  First Published: May 2004

THE BIG SIZZLE is finally over and red-hot days have made way for crisp, cool mornings and mild, picture-perfect afternoons.

This style of weather heralds the start of the serious greenfish action, bringing with it a dedicated breed with one goal in mind. Steaming hot coffee around the campfire as the sun cuts its way above the horizon epitomises what it is to spend time on the mighty Murray River in pursuit of our largest freshwater fish.

While catches have been staggered, there have been some nice cod recorded on bait and lures in the surrounding areas. The Wakool River near Kyalite has been producing a few 20kg-plus specimens on lures trolled in the deeper sections. This river fishes well at this time of the year and for those who like to cast spinnerbaits, it is well worth attention.

Aware anglers, and there are very few locally, have really cleaned up the last few seasons on spinnerbaits. Things move a little slower in the bush and although these shiny coat hangers are old news, in many of the local rivers they are yet to make a splashdown. This should change over the next few seasons as the diehards see these new-fangled things as serious instruments for plucking big green fish from small, snag-infested rivers.

The Murray River around Swan Hill continues to fish well with plenty of cod to 60cm and the occasional big boy to get the hands rattling. The majority of fish have fallen to bait and the recent acceptance of cheese has seen it rise to the No 1 position as a legitimate cod bait.

While golden perch have been notable by their absence this season, they have finally begun to put in an appearance with fish to 2kg regular captures in the Stony Crossing area on trolled or cast lures.

Robinvale continues to be a little slow but this area should fire in coming weeks as water clarity improves. There have been a few big cod taken on trolled lures, with the key to success being perseverance. Time on the water flogging timber will always turn up that one dumb fish – and in this area its likely to be a honker.

Downstream to Wentworth the golden perch are full on, with bait and lures easily procuring a feed if you’re that way inclined. The cod, on the other hand, seem to have a serious case of lockjaw. These cod seem to fish best later in the season when other areas begin to drop off. The dinner bell usually rings in May and runs through to the closing of the season at the end of August.


While we are in the Wentworth region, the massive cod kill in the Darling a while back is but a memory for those concerned. It has vanished like a puff of smoke, glossed over and removed from the public eye as if it had never really happened.

Fisheries have played down this unforgivable act. Quoting deaths in the hundreds, not the thousands reported by many creditable sources, it appears that only the big cod died. This is, of course, not a problem, as large fish from other sections of the river will relocate, filling the 50-year void that has been created by this unforgivable act.

If a degree gives one the delusional sense that anglers are a gullible mob of twits that will be spoon-fed this sort of crap, then thank Christ I don’t own one of these magical pieces of paper. By the time this kill was investigated, there were already a couple of hundred pelicans signed up and eagerly waiting in line at the local Jenny Craig weight-loss centre, not to mention a large number of cormorants, several hundred hawks and a few dozen eagles. If we had a bird in this country big enough to predate and quickly consume large cod then chances are the fish kill would have gone unnoticed.

I don’t know about the rest of you ‘gullible’ fishos but the senseless death of one big cod, or any other fish for that mater, is one to many in my books, especially when those responsible perceive themselves as our learned superiors. This is not the first time such a blunder has taken place and with the smack-on-the-finger mentality currently in place, it won’t be the last.

Bring it out in the open and leave it in the open for all to judge. Accountability is a reality that should be dealt with, no matter how clever those responsible might think they are. It just doesn’t cut it.

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