With the reasonable rainfall that has occurred in northern NSW over the past few months you could be forgiven for thinking that all is well. Certainly, when you drive about the New England area the place looks quite lush but much of the green veneer hides a patch of Australia that is still desperately in need of more substantial rainfall.
I think it is going to be another very tough Winter up here for farmers as well as outdoors enthusiasts, a situation that will hopefully be remedied before the next fishing season starts in October. The trout season closes this long weekend but, really, it is an anticlimax for a season that just never happened.
Down on the Western Slopes the situation has been a little more optimistic. After some good rain the weather has been very mild and places like Lake Copeton have continued to fish very well on days when the weather is clear and warm. My man at Inverell, Dave Martel, reckons with the dam at its present level this waterway should produce quality goldens and cod right through the Winter. By his reckoning, with the lake level fairly low the water stays a little warmer than normal and the fish activity remains high. Hell, it’s a theory!
The most interesting news from that part of the world was the reported capture of a 1430mm Murray cod from Copeton by local big-cod guru and local Bundarra copper Gavin Berry. Apparently it was taken on a spinnerbait near a dead feral goat that was floating in the water, which is quite novel. I tried to contact Gav to confirm these details before I submitted this report but he was away. If the facts are a bit mixed-up I apologise to all concerned. As they say, don’t let the truth stand in the way of a good story.
Whichever way Gav caught and released a bloody massive cod of 100 old fashioned pounds or more and that’s a big effort in this day and age.
Copeton has certainly been turning up lots of monster cod in the past couple of years, and hardly a week goes by without news of a 20kg or 30kg fish or larger being caught there. From what I understand, Gav lives for catching big cod and he certainly lands more than his fair share. Persistence and local knowledge pay off for Gavin and it couldn’t happen to a better bloke. He treats the cod with the respect they deserve – total catch and release. I just wish I could find one like that so I could let it go, too!
At the end of this month I will be heading off to my Winter retreat, working in the Northern Territory for three months. While I am away I will keep you up to date with what is happening, although the actual fishing is very quiet in the high country over Winter.
Let Winter be a time to ponder the warmer months, the fishing that we will be doing next season and the good times to come. That should be very easy for me – reporting from the comfort of my camp chair up there in the tropics!
Brent Marcomb took this nice little Murray Cod on a Matt’s Sport Safari canoe tour.Reads: 563