NOW for the Murray cod! I know a few guys on the Central Tablelands who are just itching to get out there, and get out there we will. That first big hit, swirl, or follow will be something special.
Cod are top of the freshwater food chain; they fear nothing within their environment. Just looking at one can give you a fair idea of how they attack their prey. They’re well-camouflaged on top, broad-shouldered, with eyes that look forward and upwards. Built for a quick, short burst, cod use this camouflage well during daylight hours, sitting back well into cover, ready to attack unsuspecting prey. That huge mouth must be quite something for an unsuspecting carp or redfin – no escape from a fish with gills flared, sucking in what must be 10 litres of water with a big fish.
Low light conditions can be a different story, though. Early morning or late afternoon will see cod on the prowl possibly working a beat. Sticking close to the bottom and using their camouflage, they look up for a silhouette, then charge up from beneath, mouth agape and whoosh! – another redfin gone.
A bright day is the time to target structure, such as large logs and rocks, something the cod can get back underneath and watch the world go by. Low light can have the mottled-green monsters on the prowl and they can turn up just about anywhere.
Burrendong Dam is quite often overlooked by those chasing cod and golden perch. With rising water levels over Spring, it fished really well. I had reputable reports of two cod over 25kg caught and released. Golden perch and catfish are still on the go out there. With more anglers targeting cod, I expect to hear a few more favourable reports. Trolling lures more than 100mm long down to six or seven metres should have you in slam-bam territory. Just don’t expect huge numbers.
Burrendong, even at 20% or30%, is a big waterway. There can be a lot of water mixed with the fish. My experience with the dam is limited to the Macquarie Arm. Trolling can be a good option when fish are scattered. If a fish is caught or a hit registered, it is always a good idea to return and cover the area with casts. Better still, drop and jig a live yabby or a worm. Look for similar areas. Try and repeat your successful strategies.
Night fishing is definitely at full throttle in December. Thompsons Creek Dam, Oberon Dam, and Lake Lyell will be the places to be. Fly anglers really cash in this month. Large beetle patterns, Muddler Minnows and Craig’s Nighttime are the gun flies. Fished slowly on a floating line or even a light spinning outfit and bubble float combination will see you into some action.
If you are after a trophy brown trout, now is the time to get out there. Browns love to feed during the wee hours of the night in December. On Lake Lyell, don’t be surprised if you also run into some bass. This time last year there were quite a few caught on lure, fly, and bait. Bass are slow-growing fish and most caught last year were 300g to 400g but this year they should be a little bigger.
Being set up for night fishing is a big thing. Some form of lighting is an essential. This year is the first time I have used one of those adjustable head lamps and I don’t know what I’ve been doing for the past 10 years. These things are awesome; they just make things so easy for night fishing. Those little flying, buzzing blood-suckers can make things uncomfortable in December so make sure you take the Aero Guard and have a good nite.
Kids and redfin go together like pies and sauce. With school holidays starting soon it’s a great time to get out there. With video games, videos, and the like so prevalent these days we need to make the extra effort to take a kid fishing. So if you have a son or daughter, grandson or granddaughter, or even some family friends who have kids, do them, yourselves and your sport a favour and take them fishing.
Ben Chifley Dam and Carcoar dam are great redfin destinations, although Carcoar’s boat ramp was still out of the water at the time of writing. As I’ve said many times, a good sounder pays dividends when hunting redfin. They are a schooling fish which show up well on a sounder (that small television, Daddy). Worms and small yabbies are great baits. My kids get just as much enjoyment out of digging worms and catching yabbies as they do out of catching redfin. Just find yourself a school and drop your offering over the side and jig. A simple handline will do.
Make your own fishing a low priority when you’re out with the kids, it makes for a better day for everybody involved.
Remember, you can catch me bright and early on Saturdays on Australia’s No 1 fishing and boating radio program 2KY Hi-Tide with Kieren and Bruce.
Cod season is here again. Fish like these might not be monsters but when they are caught casting from the bank in a local river, it adds some extra spice.
Kids and redfin go together like pies and sauce. Young Matt Hickson gets in on the act with a double-header of redfin caught on the new deep diving Viking Talisman.
Big Brown Trout love December nights. The author caught this one on a slowly retrieved shallow-diving minnow.Reads: 800