Crunch time is coming
  |  First Published: September 2008

It’s as dry as rocking horse droppings up this way, with the big fella upstairs sparing just enough rain to keep the Mallee farmers’ hopes and crops alive.

As for the catchments, he has definitely dropped the ball in this area, with a continuation of what seems to be a never-ending drought. Just how long many sections of the Murray-Darling basin and its fish can hold on is, I suspect, about to unfold in the near future.

Crunch time is coming and it’s going to affect us all big-time.

While we are on the subject of liquid gold, the rising costs of fuel have seen a reduction in anglers travelling to many areas along the Murray.

Robinvale has been unusually quiet for this time of year but those content to be fleeced at the bowser have made the long haul and before the closed season started have been rewarded with some very nice cod.

Most of these fish fell to trolled lures, as is usually the case in the deeper pool water.

Those fishing further upstream towards Belsar Island, where the river begins to shallow, were encountering some nice cod on casting hard-bodied lures and spinnerbaits.

Several fish over a metre were landed before the closure with a few unstoppable models dishing out some valuable angling lessons.

You wouldn’t hunt elephants with an air rifle, so why would you expect to be able to subdue a giant cod on a rod that resembles a piece of spaghetti loaded with cotton? When you’re in cod country, always expect the unexpected and always fish with that one monster cod in mind.

If you are kitted out correctly, you give yourself every chance when it happens and while you’re waiting, the small ones will come easy.


The Murray between Wood Wood and Swan Hill has been a hot spot lately for some big crays.

There have also been a few nice cod caught with one lucky angler unexpectedly landing a 124cm fish casting from the bank. The angler in question was said to have been wearing a fishy grin for more than a week. Good on him, it’s a great effort in anyone’s books.

Bait fishing has been a little slow through this area, with only a few smaller cod and the occasional golden perch willing to play.

Back downstream to Wemen and beyond, the Murray continues to fish well, even though there’s barely enough water along some sections to cover a good fish’s back.

Trolling the deeper holes has produced the best results with several fish surpassing the metre mark. Codgers have been productive lures in this area with bright and dark colours working equally well.

Bait anglers are also managing a few cod and some sizable golden perch in the deeper pools around the snags.

With shrimp scarce at this time of the year, most fish are being caught on worms, with scrubbies proving the most effective.

Anglers can expect the fishing to be a little slow at this time of the year but generally, the fish are of much better quality, especially for those using lures.

A recent trend has seen a few anglers polarising large carp with flies and small surface poppers. I guess it breaks up the monotony when things are a little quiet.

Vermin or not, these larger models will give any angler a run for their money on fly or light spin gear, especially when you throw a few snags in the mix.

All up, the fishing has been on par for this time of the year and while things may seem a little quiet, I suspect it’s because we are seeing fewer anglers on the water.

Unfortunately, as long as fuel prices continue to escalate, becoming a travelling angler may be a luxury many cannot afford.

It’s ironic that most anglers refuse to get fuel on their hands before baiting a line and yet, in a strange twist of fate, many of us are now unable to get our hands on enough fuel to actually wet one!

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