Luring Murray Cod - Andrew McGovern
The ripples from the cascading water broke the surface film just enough to marginally obscure my vision, as my spinnerbait rose from the slightly murky water. I noticed a subtle disturbance as the water at my feet turned over, kicking up slime and grit from the subsurface boulders. A few decades of experience told me one of my piscatorial foes had just followed my lure to within a metre or so of my position. Next cast needed to be the money cast, otherwise I may miss the opportunity!
With a firm underhand flick, I propelled my offering no more than five metres along the western facing ledge. A short pause as the lure sank and then the tell tale ‘tick, tick’ of the large spinner transmitted up my line as I began my retrieve. The anticipation had skyrocketed as a sickening thud could be heard beneath. Simultaneously, my graphite rod buckled over as the epoxy cracked and popped under extreme load. My grip tightened as I held on, hoping everything would stay together as the powerful beast plowed into the depths.
The firm backbone of the rod combined with some coaxing via a solid side sweeping position of the rod allowed me to turn the head of the fish. Within minutes a magnificent green and olive creature materialised in front of me. The quick fire combat combined with the sight of Australia’s most spectacular native fish was more than enough to sooth the soul.
Chasing Murray cod with lures is a lifetime obsession for not only myself, but also thousands of anglers around the country. These fish are too precious to catch once and most anglers practice catch and release. The following piece will hopefully help you improve you catch rates while appreciating how special the magical Murray cod is to our freshwater rivers and lakes.
Cod, particularly big cod, are possibly the most structure-orientated species that live in our freshwater ecosystems. This fact is imperative to a fisher’s success and must be remembered at all times when casting lures. Most freshwater fishers worth their salt understand this, but what separates the average native angler from the highly successful ones is the ability to identify and work significant features.
Significant features are the topographical characteristics of an impoundment or river that stand out from the rest of the features of that piece of water. Some classic examples of this in a river situation is a solitary submerged tree in a large pool dominated by rocks, boulders, and ledges, or a rock bar or rocky island isolated in the middle of a uniform pool of water. In impoundments the same types of significant features apply and effort should be exerted casting around these areas. Another gun spot to search for a cod in an enclosed body of water is a solitary tree.
I cut my teeth casting lures in several of my local rivers for cod and golden perch. As young teenagers we marvelled at the exploits of true Murray ‘Cod fathers’ such as Gordon Winter, Dr Bryan Pratt, and Rod Harrison. Back when lure fishing was still relatively new for natives, we spent countless hours searching every inch of large pools and backwaters in the hope of enticing one of those magnificent green fish.