Fishing throughout February and into early March has picked up slightly without being outstanding. In early February, the lake was very dirty because of significant rain. As the month went on, the lake cleared quickly and visibility is now over 1 metre. This is good news for lure anglers.
As always, this time of year is very popular with different groups running various tournaments on the lake each weekend. I know some people who are dead against competition fishing and especially when the target species is Murray cod. Tournament rules and the mentality of the organisers are slowly changing with all but one competition now being total catch and release. I have no problem posting the results from these events given their conservation ethic.
Early February saw the running of the prestigious “Fitters Classic”. Conditions made it hard for those who chose to fish with lures because visibility was so poor. Not surprisingly, all fish were taken on bait. Competitors camped on Goat Island for the weekend and some great tales were told well into the early hours. At the end of the weekend, Gavin Lawless came out on top with a nice cod measuring 68cm. Gavin was full of praise for his guide Peter Green who helped put him onto the fish. The NAFA award was won by Hawko with Greenie a close second.
Mid February saw Native Fish Australia hold their annual weekend competition. The fishing was extremely difficult with only a handful of cod being landed. In the end, Dave Silva was a clear winner with three legal size fish for the weekend helping Team Lowrance to take the champion team trophy. Dave’s preferred method was to cast hard bodied lures in and around the timber on the North side of the lake around the Kiffins area. Time and time again Kiffins yields fish when other parts of the lake fail to produce.
At the end of February there were three competitions held over as many days. First up was the Lowrance Invitational in which I managed to fluke two cod measuring 59cm and 55cm. That was enough to see me take home the chocolates! Whilst we were out on the water, my wife Vanessa landed her biggest ever cod that measured 48cm. She was rather happy with this and I can’t wait until I see her do battle with a larger Goodoo.
The second competition in February was the last leg of the Masters Series. More than 40 anglers did battle on Lake Mulwala with Debbie Lennon from Oar-Gee Lures landing a 63cm cod, the biggest for the weekend. A slim looking Merv Hughes was on hand to present trophies to the overall winners of the three leg Masters Series. A very happy Dave Silva took out overall Champion Angler with Greg Silva and ‘Toothpick’ winning Champion Team. It will also be a weekend that Merv remembers for years to come after catching his first Murray cod.
The third competition was the Lowrance ‘Dash for Cash’ Super Series. This event saw 84 competitors fishing three sessions of three hours each. Terry and Trevor Ermell won session one. Ben Ross and Peter Fisher took out session two. Mark Huehn and Adam Gaspari took home the big dollars by winning the Sunday morning session. A breakdown of fishing sessions reveals that only four legal fish were caught on Saturday morning, five on Sunday morning and 14 on Saturday afternoon. These results dispel the old theory that ‘the early bird catches the worm’ and might help justify sleeping in if your fishing partner is keen for a dawn raid.
It is interesting to note that these competition anglers are averaging at least four undersize cod per day. If these fish are allowed to reach maturity without being knocked on the head as soon as they reach 50cm, Lake Mulwala should continue to be the nation’s premier Murray cod water.
Fishing in the Murray River below the weir has proved more productive although most of the fish have been small. Cod Hunter Tours guide Roger Miles had a great outing in mid February with some clients landing 17 fish in one day. Local Mulwala anglers, Jason & Adam, have had no problem with the size of their fish lately. Weighing in at 71lb, the boys landed a truly great fish. After a few quick photographs and measurements, the fish was released to fight another day.
The fishing in Lake Mulwala should continue to improve with bigger fish starting to move around. As the season progresses, the fish tend to move down from the top end of the lake to the town end. The most productive method for producing quality fish will be to troll in water depths of 12ft or more.
In the Murray River, the next month should see more legal size fish on the chew closer to the weir. The most productive method will be to troll medium sized lures that dive to around 5 metres.
If anyone has a good story or would like to report their catches from this area, drop me a line at my email address above.Reads: 1944