Here we are again, staring straight down the barrel of what could be one of the best Murray cod seasons in years.
I say this not because I believe there are more cod in our rivers, it’s just that over the past few seasons angling trends have changed and fishos are becoming more attuned to the most productive techniques and the character of the fish themselves.
Lure fishing now dominates most stretches of river and even the diehard bait fishos of yesteryear have boxes laden with flashing blades and treble-clad ‘cod lollies’.
I bet you the bardi grubs are grateful for the swing away from bait. Tucked up in their underground hides, they have more chance of making it to adult stage, when they will take to the wing as giant moths.
Still, there are always those set in their ways who will continue to drown baits and with fewer anglers fishing in this manner, perhaps the fish will be more inclined to take the bait, so to speak.
In the lead-up to the opening, anglers targeting golden perch have reported good catches of small to medium cod on lures.
With the warming water, these feisty fish are more than eager to feed, snapping at almost any tidbit that swims near.
Larger cod generally ignore small lures but the junior fish are all over them. It’s good to see most anglers releasing these fish in good condition and it seems the catch-and-release message of gentle handling is paying dividends.
The Wakool River has been notable for good numbers of cod against golden perch and should fish well throughout December.
The Murrumbidgee will fish well for the first month or so of the season and there are some absolute horse cod hidden among the ’Bidgee’s snags for those clever enough to get them out.
Those sections of the Murray that fished well towards the close will be worth a visit early in the season.
Wemen was one such notable location with multiple big fish captures on lures and spinnerbaits. Underrated as big fish water, the shallow rock bars and snag piles around this stretch of river hold some absolute honking cod and good numbers of golden perch.
There is a vast wealth of great fishing to be had from just below the lock at Euston right through Wemen, into the Hattah Kulkyne National Park and beyond. I have no doubt we will be hearing much more about this area in the near future.
The pool water at Robinvale fished very slowly before the close and those chasing golden perch during the off season have reported very few incidental cod captures.
However, it is a great place to troll large lures deep in the hope of landing a monster or two. And with three months of down time when large lures have been rare, I’m sure at least a few big cod will be keen to get in on the act.
Even the golden perch have been a little reluctant, but those that are being caught are often of good size. Smaller lures trolled at speed are bringing the best results, as are cocktail baits of shrimp and worms fished around the snags.
All up, things look pretty good for the start of the cod season, now it’s just a matter of getting out on the water and getting into it.Reads: 3314