The big cod stir
  |  First Published: May 2010

As the weather cools down some form of normality seems to be returning to our local rivers as anglers start to encounter a few green fish on lures.

Most sections of pool water are starting to yield a few metre-plus cod on lures and it seems that sudden shifts in barometric pressure are aligned with some red-hot bites that finish almost as quickly as they start.

With a regular weather pattern of large highs followed by solid fronts, anglers on the water as the pressure plummets are treated to a few hours of red-hot action that can produce several encounters with big fish in as many snags.

Unfortunately, the bite does not last long and a large low is generally associated with good rain and a wet arse but, hey, it’s well worth a little discomfort.

As the next high rolls in and the pressure spikes once again, a follow-up bite is on the cards and for those fish that missed a feed on the drop, it signals another chance to fill the guts before settling back into a lockjaw routine.

While trolling deep-divers in the pool water has been generally quiet this season, a few fish are starting to respond with several metre-plus cod landed on the troll in the past few weeks.

It would be fair to attribute this renewed enthusiasm for trolled lures to a rolling drop in water temperature.

As happens most seasons, Murray cod begin to prepare themselves for the leaner Winter months, when the availability of an easy meal of shrimp and other small invertebrates becomes rare.

Opportunities are fewer and the chance to feed will escalate as larger prey items become the primary food source.

Understanding the nature of these fish is to better understand the subtle effects that trigger different feeding patterns and behavioural traits; this is where an open mind becomes a platform for better learning.

Golden perch, too, have been quite responsive in the cooling water, with good sizes and numbers from most areas.

Several outings around Robinvale have seen son Jock and I land good numbers on smaller lures and spinnerbaits worked around the snags and weed beds.

It seems all fish sense tougher times ahead and even the perch are striking the lures with surprising force.

The water in the Murray from Swan Hill through to Mildura is beginning to settle and as it continues to clear over the coming month, we can expect to see an increase in larger fish.


A recent invasion of locusts has triggered a return to surface action on all species in our waters.

Some anglers have turned their hand to taking to carp on fly.

Cod and golden perch are also responding to surface lures and with the locusts set to be here for a while yet, we could see the topwater action roll on into Winter.

The smaller rivers like the Wakool and Murrumbidgee are also in on the surface action but other than that, the majority of catches have been taken on bait.

Golden perch have been the mainstay with just a few cod reported. I suggest this will change over the coming month as the cod in these waters also respond to the drop in water temperature.

There are some honking cod in these waters so go prepared because once hooked, some of these freight trains will do their utmost to make you pop a valve.

As we prepare for Winter fishing and all that comes with it, remember that fish are where you find them.

On a different note, with the cooler weather anglers are enjoying the warmth and comfort that comes with a night campfire.


Since Easter there have been several riverside callouts to extinguish fires left unattended.

Some of these blazes have burnt small areas of bush and while their impact was minimal, the authorities take a very serious view.

The right to have a fire for comfort will quickly be taken away if we do not treat it with respect.

No fire should be left unattended at the river.

If you plan to leave the camp to fish for a few hours then make sure the fire is out; when you return to camp it can be restarted for cooking and other comforts.

Heavy fines have been, and will be, imposed on those who take the rules on the humble campfire lightly.

It would be a shame to see this right taken away as it’s a part of everything that embellishes riverside camping.

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