Written by Jack Zyhalak
Big Murray cod don’t come around all too often and they will test your gear to the limit, so it pays to ensure you are giving yourself the best possible chance to land that fish of a lifetime. Before every trip there are a number of essentials which you should check and double check before heading out so you don’t squander your best chance. I call these the “big little things” – they are little things you can do that have a big impact on whether you land or lose that prize catch.
We all have our favourite lure that has proven itself time after time to catch fish, but how often do you sharpen or change the hooks on it? Big cod have tough, thick, bony jaws that will make short work of weak or dull hooks. Use a sharpening stone to touch up the points of your hooks before a trip, or if the hooks are getting a bit fatigued then its best to replace them entirely. We always carry spare packets of Owner treble hooks and when one becomes blunt we swap straight over to a new and sharp hook.
One of the most susceptible points of contact between yourself and the fish are your knots. Particularly the joining knot between your main line and leader. Firstly make sure you use a quality and proven leader knot that will resist wear of running through rocks, over logs and constantly rubbing on rod guides. Secondly, when you tie the knot make sure that you are 100% certain that it has pulled up correctly and you are confident with it. With each knot you tie think to yourself, “how will this perform under the stress of a huge Murray cod?” Tie your knots to suit the most extreme situations.
It is good practice to tie a new length of leader before each trip and always use a high quality leader material to suite the situation you are fishing. Leader becomes worn and frayed from contact with rocks and snags, creating weak points in your line and possibly providing that fish of a lifetime with the upper hand.
Use a high quality braided line, this will give you better feel of your lure and a stronger contact with the fish. Inspect your line for nicks and frays, you may need to remove a few lengths of line off the top of your spool as this is the section that gets used most and comes into contact with rocks and timber. A small fray in the line can be all it takes for a big cod to bust you on the strike. So always check that top 15-20m of line for damage between trips.
Give your rod a once over before packing it into the car or boat. Check there is no damaged guides, if one of these break on you when you’re fighting a big fish it can make a tough fight even tougher.
Always loosen up the drag on the reel after each trip to take the pressure off the bearings in the reel. Check the worm-guide and button on your reel are working; they may just need a bit of lubrication every now and then to keep them in good working order.
High Quality lures
Big cod attack lures with a reckless regard so make sure you select lures which are up to the task of taking abuse from huge cod. Use quality hooks as these are your #1 point of contact with the fish; strong and robust tow points and eyelets are also essential.