Mildura Weekly : Friday November 29 2013 Vol 8 No 5
www.milduraweekly.com.au 86 Mildura Weekly – 29/11/13 MURRAY cod season has been closed since September, and serious cod an- glers are ‘champing at the bit’ in the hope of hooking up to that fish of a lifetime. The Victorian and NSW cod sea- son opens this Sunday, but Riverland anglers will need to wait until Janu- ary 1 before they can legally target Murray cod. Whether you are a local or a visitor, it’s worth studying the laws on cod fishing. In South Australia you cannot remove a Murray cod from the wa- ter – they are a catch-and-release species only. However, if you are targeting yellow belly (callop), you are allowed a personal bag limit of five fish, or a boat limit of 15, with 33cm being the minimum length. Remember, you are not allowed to troll a lure from a moving vessel for any species during the cod closure. If you are visiting Mildura or sur- rounding areas over the Christmas break it will also pay to note the rules. Victorian waters permit anglers to possess up to a maximum bag/ possession limit of two Murray cod per angler per day, with a minimum length of 60cm, and maximum 100cm. Yellow belly have a bag limit of five per angler with a minimum size of 30cm. In NSW waters, there is a limit of two Murray cod for each angler, with a boat limit of four. Minimum length is 60cm, with only one over 100cm allowed. Again, the Yellow belly limit is five per angler, with a boat limit of 10, and minimum size is 30cm. Anglers who do not adhere to these rules are liable for fines up to $20,000. Importantly, if anglers do the right thing, our fishing waters will stay healthy for years to come. Even though Victorian and NSW laws allow anglers a bag limit on Murray cod, techniques of catch and release should be exercised where possible. My advice is to be particularly careful when handling big Murray cod. These fish are vulnerable out of water, and do not like being out for too long; and they shouldn’t be placed on a hot tinnie seat for that photo session. Even if you have a carpet deck covering, still use a wet towel before placing the cod on any surface. Also, ensure you have the correct equipment at hand ensuring a quick and safe release. Enjoy the beauty of catching, sighting and releasing these majestic fish rather than senselessly killing or filling your freezer. Even though it seems there are reasonably healthy numbers of Murray cod in the sys- tem at present, it is important that anglers realise that Murray cod, par- ticularly those in excess of 80cm, should be returned to the water in excellent condition to allow the next generation of fish to breed. Sunday’s cod season opening will hopefully be the beginning of some great fishing over the next few months, and comes at a time when the river is gaining some normality. With flows down and water back in the banks, anglers could be in for some exceptional Murray Cod fish- ing. Last summer there was a crack- er start to the season, and this year should be no exception. It has been extremely pleasing to hear reports of nice yellow belly being caught in decent numbers around Mildura of late. However, it is time to turn the attention toward trolling and cast- ing big lures into the timber to stir up some big Murray cod. Trolling large lures is usually the best method of hooking up during the summer months, with casting reserved for the cooler months. River flows are still evident in the pool areas, so trolling large hard- bodied lures with no rattles against the current will be one of the best methods of catching a cod. Trolling your lure against the current will make the lure work to its full potential and ensure it is pre- sented in the water column for lon- ger, resulting in many strikes. Troll- ing slightly smaller, more shallow lures with the current will see the lures dive deeper over a shorter dis- tance and allow them to spend more time in the strike zone. This method accounted for many metre-long cod and over last season. When choosing lures for troll- ing in faster-flowing water, you can rely on big hard-bodied lures with shallow diving bibs – around 3-4m, as they gain a decent depth and pro- vide less resistance whilst trolling against an ultra-fast current. A thin profile helps to cut through the cur- rent without pulling the rod out of your hands! Ideal lures for slow or fast-mov- ing water are the Koolabung Codbait and Codzilla series. These can be cast or trolled, and have accounted for multiple giant cod over the years. Casting big lures into timber, even though usually reserved for the cooler months as mentioned earlier, is still worth trying in summer. In this case, big, bulky spinner- baits like the Bassman 5/8 or one- ounce Mumbler or Codman with willow blade (thin and long) set-ups are ideal in these higher flow areas, as they find depth a lot quicker and stay there. Colorado blades, which are flat and more rotund, are needed when fishing slower waters around snags. The bigger blades catch more water and slow down the sinking speed. The ‘flutter’ and pulse of these blades through the water column attract na- tive fish, particularly Murray cod, as many fish have been caught ‘on the drop.’ Bassman’s new ‘Little John’ is also worth adding to the tackle box, as these lures gain depth very quickly and hit just about every snag in their way. When a spinnerbait is fished and used properly, chances of snag- ging are minimised, even when us- ing trailers or ‘stinger’ hooks. Protecting yourself from the harsh Mallee sun is a wise move in summer. The more an angler sits in the sun without protection, the more vulnerable they are to attracting sun spots and skin cancers. The good old ‘slip, slop, slap’ policy is important. But if you are like me and cannot stand sun creams on your skin, then long-sleeve shirts, wide-brimmed hats, long pants and sun gloves are a must. A good quality pair of polar- ised sunglasses is also important for eliminating glare from the water and, more importantly, to protect your eyes from the sun. Not only do quality ‘sunnies’ protect you from the sun, they act as a safety barrier from having hooks and sinkers cast into your eyes, which can happen very quickly. This cod season will hopefully be filled with hope and promise as anglers make the pilgrimage to their favourite haunts in the hunt of that fish of a lifetime. Wherever you are, make sure you obey all the rules, and have a safe and enjoyable fish- ing trip. Dust off the big lures, rods and reels... stock the tackle box, get the bait ready, make sure you’ve got a current licence and give the boat and all safety gear a thorough overhaul... we’re heading out onto the Murray and Darling Rivers. As JOHN MENHENNETT reports... • MONSTER: Mildura Weekly fishing writer John Menhennett (right) with good mate and fishing partner Rod Mackenzie holding a monster Murray cod before release. It was caught on a Koolabung Codzilla 120mm. John says cod like this are common at this time of year, but care must be taken when handling the fish out of water. INSET – John is fishing ‘sun-smart’ by wearing a ‘Buff’ headwear product while out in the sun. When fully pulled up, it covers the whole head, including the ears – but you do look a bit like a bank robber on the water. Angler Ross Virt, BELOW, maker of Kaos Cod Flys, holds a nice cod in the water prior to another successful release. Even smaller models of fish can suffer in the summer’s heat when out of the water for too long. 100cm. Yellow belly have a bag limit In NSW waters, there is a limit length is 60cm, with only one over This is Cod’s Country... 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Friday November 22 2013 Vol 8 No 4
Friday December 6 Vol 8 No 6