A season to remember
  |  First Published: September 2009

For many of us, the 2009 cod season still lingers as one to be remembered and in the weeks leading up to the closure, anglers were treated to some of the best fishing in years.

One can only hope when it reopens in December it produces similar action.

It seems the metre mark has become the holy grail of cod fishing and to reach this milestone earns you the right to join campfire yarns on such monumental captures and all they involve.

It is a great thrill to catch and release one of these iconic giant fish and for some of us it becomes an obsession that taunts us with every cast.

To think this obsession is quelled with that first capture is to go in blind to the effect these giant fish have on one’s psyche.

So it was when we hit the Murray a week before the season close and introduced a mild-mannered computer technician to the wonderful world of all that’s addictive about cod fishing.

Dave, or Shade as he is known, had caught a few cod in his time but had never landed that elusive metre giant and from the outset he didn’t seem that fussed about the whole affair.

That was right up until the moment his lure was crunched with a force that can only be delivered from a green fish that tips the magic mark.

The strike from a large Murray cod on a trolled lure is generally distinct and it has the effect to alter facial expressions from calm to wide-eyed disbelief in an instant.

Heart-in-your-mouth moments follow as seconds grow into minutes, with every lunge and dive stretching arms and gear to the limit.

In this case the angler won and, moments later, stood clutching the giant fish and wearing a grin that tells the story in itself.

With the cod quickly returned to the river, the lures were recast and with hands still shaking from excitement, Dave punched the lure out behind the boat and watched it wriggle back into the depths. We hadn’t gone 10 metres when the beaming grin was snapped back to a look of confusion as the rod loaded to the weight of another giant.

On again, and this fish was even bigger. Worn out from the first round, it was all the angler could do to lift the beast that measured in at 110 cm.

Two over the metre in less than 10 minutes! It looked like another cod addict in the making.

That would be it for the afternoon and the beers never tasted so sweet as those shared around the campfire.

The following morning, another found its way onto the lure and at 120cm, the Shade was caught up in hat-trick of giant fish.

When last seen driving down the highway, cars were said to be flashing their lights in he hopes that he might dip his smile. Welcome to a world that will taunt him with every cast from here on in!

Now we will have to wait a few months before we can scratch that addictive green itch that just won’t go away.


Until then, we will have to target the local golden perch and the odd redfin on lighter tackle and smaller lures.

As the weather warms, we can expect to see the river explode back to life.

Shrimp will quickly multiply and smaller fish of all species will feed ravenously in the warming waters.

Spring is a time of plenty for angler and fish. Small cod will be among those on the chew and short of not fishing the river, it is nearly impossible to avoid their attention at some stage.

Bait anglers will have the most problems as these smaller scavengers inhale almost anything that fits in their gobs.

All cod that swallow your baits should have the line snipped close to the mouth before being released.

We all understand that the next few months are the prime breeding season for Murray cod and I’m sure most anglers will do their best to avoid them.

Small lures, soft plastics and blades will most often be overlooked by large brood fish.

And while they are certainly territorial, if they were to chase and hit every small creature that invaded their space they would most certainly have a nervous breakdown.

With six billion shrimp and small baitfish on the move, a large, protective cod would be more inclined to hunt away more substantial threats like carp and other larger fish that might predate on their eggs.

Most of the smaller lures are fitted with light-gauge trebles that will straighten with minimal fuss if you load up on a cod and drop your thumb on to the spool.

I think in most cases a larger fish would hardly take note of the whole incident. If you take a hard line about the whole affair then Spring is also a great time to fish the beaches and estuaries, or simply hug a tree or two!

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