The Murray cod season is quickly coming to its end with this weekend being your last chance to chase the mighty fish (unless you’re lucky and managed to get a week day off).
There are many anglers who will be trying to fit in that very last trip which means there will be a lot of activity on the rivers and dams this weekend. I have a few very simple tips that may help you find a fish in amongst all the bustle:
Avoid the Crowds
First of all, fish a totally different waterway or area to where most people are heading. Pick a quiet section of river that not many people fish, try to drive that extra distance off the beaten track or maybe choose a smaller lake or dam that gets overlooked.
Now unfortunately this does mean avoiding some of the premier dams that produce monster cod like Blowering and Copeton (remember Copeton and Eildon don’t have a closed season). If you just can’t help yourself to fish one of these spots then I don’t blame you. The following few tips might help you out on those busy dams.
Target Less Fished Areas
In the dams there are always spots that get targeted more than others. People have their favourite go to spots because they catch fish and chances are everyone else will be fishing these spots as well e.g. steep bays and creek, or steep rocky banks and points. Leave these spots alone and fish in areas that you might normally overlook.
Maybe a gentle slopping bank that is grassy and has a few stumps, logs or maybe rocks. The spots that many people overlook are the spots you want to try this weekend. Also try to fish as far away from the boat activity as possible. Right up in the back of shallow bays are much quieter than on the open dam, the fish in here won’t be as spooky.
This is the weekend where you want to use a subtle approach. Ditch the flashy and noisy lures and go with the subtle. Soft plastics would by far be my choice of lure. It doesn’t mean that others won’t work, because they still will. But on a weekend with so much activity the subtlety of a soft plastic might give you the edge over other anglers.
If you’re going to the top use a wake bait rather than a paddler style surface lure.
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Slow Down the Retrieve
Slow retrieves are something that should always be practised when targeting Murray Cod but try to really concentrate on it this weekend. You want to lure to be rolling as slow as possible.
Downsize your Leader
This may be an extreme step but if you’re fishing during the day it won’t hurt to downsize your leader. Especially if the sun is out, Murray cod can pick up the heavy leader and it can turn them from eating your lure. When the fish are really spooky and I’m fishing in an area with little structure I will go all the way down to 30lb but even 40lb is a good start.
Make sure you are always quiet! When you find a bank you want to fish, pull up away from the spot and electric your way in before you start casting. Also make sure you are light on your feet walking around in the boat or even if you are on the bank.
Low Light Periods
If you’re fishing on one of the busy lakes this is very important. If you’re really keen to catch a cod, be out on the water during the early morning hours. From midnight through till sunrise will be the best time to find a fish because this is when most people will be off the water, especially between 2 and 5am.
Good luck to everyone who is targeting our iconic fish over the weekend! It’s our last chance to give them a crack before we start gearing up for our other species that we love in spring!
I’ve saved my best tip for last… fish mid-week after this weekend because you’ll most likely have the waterway to yourself.
Don’t forget the Murray cod season is closed on September 1st before re opening on December 1st. For those three months avoid targeting the species so we can allow them to breed and this will result in more fish for us to catch in the future!