|  First Published: July 2004

BY THE time you read this, the Surat Fishing Competition will be over and all the prizes will be accounted for. Thank you to the multitude of sponsors that supported this event. Two lucky raffle winners will have received an offshore fishing trip off Rainbow Beach. I’d like to thank Tony Stewart, skipper of Baitrunner, and Ed Falconer, skipper of Keely Rose, for donating these wonderful prizes at very short notice.

There have been a few fish biting lately, coinciding with the drop in temperatures. Around the time of the first frosts, Surat local Wayne Thompson caught a 96cm cod, estimated at 28lb. Wayne says he caught it on a 50lb nylon handline attached to a spring and anchored to the bank of the Balonne River, upstream from the weir at Surat. His bait was a medium-sized freshwater crayfish.

This is the second Murray cod Wayne has caught. The first one is in the aquarium at the Surat Cobb & Co Museum. That cod was caught below the Surat weir using the same gear. It was undersize, approximately 40cm, but it was acquired through the Cobb & Co licence.

Wayne’s cod provided a great excuse for a BBQ and it was carefully filleted and deep fried for quite a few local people. I’d been told that once I had tasted Murray cod I wouldn’t want to eat saltwater fish again, and I have to congratulate Wayne on the way the fish was prepared – it tasted great. But I still prefer my reef fish!

The river is still running, due to the good rainfall received this year, and it’s getting plenty of use. Over the last few weeks the river banks have been occupied by campers enjoying the peace and quiet and the fishing. A few cod and yellowbelly have been landed but I haven’t heard of any hot sessions. Most people believe that the river is still too full of food like shrimp and crayfish, so the fish are not that hungry. It’s too dirty for lures so the only thing to do is keep trying and eventually the fish will cooperate. When that finally happens I’m told the river will be lined with people shoulder to shoulder!

1) Surat local Wayne Thompson with his 96cm Murray cod.

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