The fish are on!
  |  First Published: December 2004

With each passing season, we, as anglers, like to think certain things are defined. The hazy crystal ball of where, when and how begins to clear and suddenly we have part of the fishing puzzle down pat.

This season, my crystal ball lays shattered among high rivers, dirty water and a series of low frontal systems that have pushed the needle on the barometer down past breaking point. Even with all these negatives, the surrounding waters are experiencing some of the best fishing in memory.

It would be far easier to say where the fish aren’t biting and leave it at, that but this report requires a little more than a one-liner. Let’s start with the lakes.

Lake Charm and Kangaroo Lake near Swan Hill have had many anglers up to their armpits in redfin. Best baits have covered the board, as almost anything goes, but it’s hard to go past live river shrimp fished with minimal weight. On the table, redfin have no freshwater equal and with many fish exceeding the 1kg mark, anglers are dining first class.

Our rivers are also fishing well, but none better than the Wakool. Over a four-day period one group of 15 anglers managed to land 527 Murray cod. It just goes to show the mighty Murray cod has turned the corner in some places. Although many of these fish were undersize, there were a few nice specimens among them. Bait was the key to this monumental capture and, once again, it seems cheese will receive a regular mention throughout the season.

While we are on the Wakool, one lucky angler fishing a grub-yabby cocktail caught the cod of a lifetime. The monster cod weighed in at around 55kg (120lb in the old scale) and, from all reports, was nothing short of huge.

The Murray River from Swan Hill right through to Wentworth has also seen plenty of action on both cod and perch. At present, the greater majority of fish are taking bait with just the odd capture on lures becoming known. All the standard baits apply – grubs, yabbies, shrimps and worms. You name it, everything seems to be working. The fishing is full-on in most areas.


The opportunity to fish with high profile anglers and genuine all round good blokes is always a buzz. Such events provide great memories and friendships that often go down the same path.

Fishing this year’s Mulwala Cod Classic, I was privy to fish with Dave Hodge (Hodgie), the bare foot guru; Steve Cooper, the newspaper and fishing journo; and Gus Storer, Mallee wheat farmer come magazine pin-up boy. A better crew you couldn’t ask for. That was until I met young Matt Kay.

As Matt climbed onboard, the instant we shook hands you could tell he was the real McCoy. He didn’t need a so-called profile to fit in, he just did.

Matt, a very keen angler was teed-up by Tony and Vanessa Bennett to spend a day on the water with our crew, to hopefully land his biggest cod and teach us know-it-alls a few tricks along the way. He achieved both those goals and made himself three good mates along the way. Hope all goes well Matt, you know there’s always room in our boat for ‘Matt the cod god’.


Matt Kay and Hodgie with Matt’s biggest ever cod, caught at Lake Mulwala during the recent Cod Classic.

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