Dwindling waters pack a punch
  |  First Published: August 2008

The never-ending drought continues to influence the ebb and flow not only of the Murray water but also the fish that live in it.

It’s been a strange season and while it’s hard to predict any set patterns, anglers are still finding plenty of good fish.

Robinvale has fished particularly well with numerous reports of metre-plus cod caught on the cast and by trolling.

The Nine Mile has produced a few fish, as has the front of the cut upstream of the bridge caravan park.

I love the stories that heighten the legend of the Murray cod; they are built on many things and constantly change like the river itself. By the time you hear them, they have most often grown larger than the fish themselves.

A recent one was born on the pool water at Robinvale and stimulates the hopes that there are still a few untamed giants cruising the depths.

The angler in question had allowed the Mumbler to find full depth before a slow, steady retrieve had the blade thumping a familiar rhythm. It had been a slow morning so when the strike finally came, it was totally unexpected.

With more punch than Mike Tyson, the slamming jaws of the unseen giant produced enough force to break the rod and snap the lure like a twig. The angler was left a little bemused and shaken.

With such monsters patrolling these waters, it may just pay to keep your kids and any small pets out of the water!

Well, that’s the way I heard it anyway and there’s nothing better than a good cod yarn to get the blood flowing and, as my old mate Mick would say, put a twitch in the casting hand.


Golden perch have been noticeable only by their reluctance to cooperate; even bait anglers are struggling to get a feed in this area.

Those few that are being caught are of quality size and are turning up on deeply trolled lures aimed at cod. Most of the lures the goldens are favouring are around 130mm or more long.

It’s amazing how aggressive these fish can become and puts a new twist on the age-old line of biting off more than you can chew.

Downstream of Euston through to Wemen, anglers are catching a few crays but their size and numbers are down on past seasons. Perhaps this is associated with low water and the mild spell that has seen few frosts.

A few good cod and golden perch have been taken along this stretch by anglers casting spinnerbaits and hardbodies.

Local Sammy Morris landed a nice 14kg cod on a purple Bassman spinnerbait the first time he cast one. I bet there are plenty of other keen anglers out there who would like to get off the mark on these lures so quickly and with fish of that quality.

Spinnerbaits seem to haunt some anglers, to the point they are packed away to gather dust. This is a huge mistake, they are without doubt among the most productive native-fish lures on the market.

If you persist and fish them with confidence, you will reap the rewards and come to understand their benefits over many other lures.


Something that has been noticeable in many areas along the Murray this season is increased numbers of redfin. It seems we might once again be seeing a resurgence of a fish that was once plentiful but whose numbers dwindled to the point of being rare captures.

With carp numbers down and water clarity much improved, we have seen a boom in aquatic weed growth. It’s amongst this weed that redfin spawn and I suspect they have been quite promiscuous for several seasons now.

If current captures are any thing to go by, come Spring and Summer redfin numbers are likely to increase. While they are great table fish, it’s important to remember they are an introduced species and voracious predators that happily dine out on smaller native fish.

Isn’t it funny how the reduction of one pest seems to have revitalised another?

Whether this is a good thing or not, only time will tell. But for the moment, they are providing joy for many anglers seeking a feed.

I’m not even going to try to predict what’s coming in the following months but no doubt there will still be plenty of good fish taken, as long as there’s enough water left in the river to cover their backs. So let’s not all flush at once and hope like hell it rains soon!

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