We booked in a weekend away to Burrinjuck Dam for a couple of reasons: The close of Cod Season was looming on the 1st September, it was my birthday so fishing was the perfect present, I wanted to achieve a carp on fly and we had a few handcrafted lures to try and see how they went. It was a 4 day weekend shared with some new comers that have never fished there before, nor caught a cod and a couple of people like us that have fished the dam often but has not yet captured that magic metre cod.
This time of year can be hit and miss, often working all day for one fish but our theory is you increase your opportunity in scoring that metre fish. With water temperatures still quite cool the fish are not as active, although they have to eat sometime. Working your lures slow and casting at the same spot several times before moving on, increases your chance at a strike. If you have caught cod in one spot before it is a good idea to work a few of these areas before moving to new ground.
Day one saw us work all day into the early evening. With a few missed hook ups it wasn’t until the evening trolling back to the boat ramp that we finally connected and got a 55cm cod.
Day two, David Welfare arrived which meant another boat on the water. This was great as we could spread out and meet back at lunchtime, share each other’s information and work together to try and catch a cod. On this day we went past a fisherman on the bank. We drove past him and signalled how many? He put his finger up with one digit showing. We looked up the bank further to see a mighty fish laying in the shade of his car. Pulling up on the bank we asked if we could take a look at the fish. It was definitely over a metre cod weighing in at 17 kilo’s. He had only just caught it before we went past using a bardi grub. He then explained his technique for catching bardi grubs and how to store them which was very intriguing. He mentioned his mates had caught some bigger fish the day before.
We worked some lures trolling and casting in that area all afternoon. David Welfare was lucky enough to score a 71cm fish on a spinnerbait and there was definitely self-confidence brewing in all of us. We only scored 3 redfin, no cod for the day.
Day three, we decided to go up another arm of the river to try and find some warmer water temperatures. We persisted in trolling this day given that the bite was slow and we could cover more ground. A mate of ours had given us some handcrafted timber lures to try up there that he had purchased. They were called Mencho Lures, made by Darcy Menchin from Raymond Terrace. He will paint them in the colours you like but I must say the buoyancy of the timber and there action was fantastic with a number of different depth options. They are definitely fish catchers and we will be contacting him to make us some for purchase.
We took note of the surrounding features of the water that the bait fisherman was fishing. It was a plain grassy bank or in bream terms “a flat” so to speak. So we targeted the same features up another river arm. It paid off on this day with 3 cod to the boat including a first for a good friend. There was a bit of celebrating on this night.
Day four was our final day and a short one at that. We snuck in a morning session before the drive home. After hitting a rock wall that Scott had been busted up on it wasn’t long before we put the first cod in boat, once again just another small one. We all missed a couple of hits. This happened a lot over the weekend. My theory is that perhaps they are having a shorter strike just to scare the invading lure out of its territory but not actually committed to eating it, I am not sure but it happened to us all over the weekend.
Stopping off on a bank to stretch the legs I took the fly rod for a walk. Up in the back of the bay I could see a number of carp. Oh, my excitement took over and the adrenalin started to rush through my veins. I had tied some flies before I had left, some egg sucking leeches, thanks for the tip Joel Norman. I tried to cast at the carp doing pathetic casts. The day before I was doing pretty good casts so I took a step back and a deep breath and slowed everything down. Much better.
I landed the fly right before a couple of carp, two shied away but the third took a closer look at my fly. I stripped it slowly with pauses and then the carp had sucked it in. I lifted my rod and pulled my line to set the hook and then the fight was on. It was so thrilling watching the spare line take up onto the reel and then the reel sing whilst the fish was taking a run. I fought it back to the bank and yelled out Whoo Hoo! Listening to my scream echo across the dam.
I think my journey has started and there is no turning back. After putting the backing on my own reel, spooling my fly line on, tying my own tapered leader, this was my biggest task watching Peter Morse DVD “Arbor to Fly” over and over again to learn all the tips. Then to tying my own fly, the visual of hunting the fish, the presentation, the fight and then landing it. I looked at my husband and apologised that I am now really hooked. My nights will be spent tying flies.
We all went home on a high and I am sure you will see me around the shores of Burrinjuck chasing carp until cod season opens again.
Until my next adventure, tight lines!