Murray Cod – 1M + On The Bucket List


With Murray Cod Season opening in NSW on Tuesday 1st December to say I am a little excited would be an understatement. Like every other season I have fished, I am chasing that elusive 1m+ fish and to achieve this close to home would make this even a little more special.

I am picking it is the same feeling as achieving that 1m+ Barramundi. You are filled with adrenalin throughout the fight and then are just in ore, as it becomes boat side.  I draw a lot of parallels with fishing for Barramundi and Murray Cod.  It is our southern Barramundi.

To catch it from a boat, kayak or land based I don’t mind it is on my bucket list in any way shape or form except from privately stocked dams (just wouldn’t be the same).

Burrinjuck Dam 1. Photo courtesy Vicki Lear

For those whom haven’t targeted cod before a few tips I would like to share: –

Where to find: –

  1. Structure – sunken logs, spindle trees or large rock walls. They all provide an area where the fish is able to ambush their prey.DSC_0350
  1. Deep holes or drop offs. Like you would fish for jewfish, search for a flat and then the drop off you will find cod, they love to hang in areas like this. Same said for river bends as the current sweeps around the fish may be sitting there ready to ambush.
  1. We have had some success on weed beds too. We have found a lot of smaller fish hanging on the edges, but it is not to say there have been no big fish there.
  1. If fishing from a boat then be sure to use your structure scan to find underwater structure, the thermocline and bait schools.

Lures to use: –

  1. I don’t find cod to be particularly fussy with lure type; different days will generate better bites on different colours for some reason. Red/black and purple/black are the colours we regularly fall back to but we have had some cracking days on white and native green.
  1. You can use hard bodies at a range of different depths from surface right through to 20 feet. You just need to find the right places to apply it. I do like a hard body with a wide action and good buoyancy if fishing deeper as it bounces up over the snags. There are some great Australian lure makers out there along with some of the commercially available lures. If trolling we like to work between 10 and 17 feet depth range.
  1. Spinner baits have seriously been successful in catching some of the biggest fish I have seen to date and I think this year I will be spending a lot more time on this method. You can cast or troll a spinnerbait. Spinner baits will normally troll at approx 10 feet. You can increase or decrease this depth but adjusting your speed. Choosing a weight to cast with will also depend on the country/depths you are fishing in either river or dams. It could be anything from 1/8th to a 1/2 ounce. I would also recommend a stinger hook; I never fish without one. If they come with a soft plastic don’t be afraid to change this either. Whilst we are also on the spinner bait subject I would also recommend chatterbaits. I have caught a lot of 60 odd cm fish on these. They work a treat.Cod Mania 001
  1. Soft plastics either rigged weedless, on jig head or drop shot rig all work. Like barra fishing we have used a 90 to 110cm plastics rigged weedless with a sinker weight on the nose, you can throw it into the nastiest country and pull back out snag free. I have also had success using a soft plastic rigged straight onto a ¼ ounce jig head and rolling it back to the boat like you would for bass. Use your imagination it will work.
  1. Vibes – soft, hard or rattling. Work well when casted to bank side and a lift and pause, like a hopping retrieve works.   You can also troll them behind a boat. They normally troll at a depth of 10 feet. Unfortunately though they are not buoyant so when you get a snag it is a good idea to have a lure retriever on board as it is a little expensive when you start losing a few of these.
  1. Blades – work for yellowbelly jigging on flats and trees and the cod don’t mind them also.

Wow, lots of choice, great when you are fishing with a mate so you can mix it up and find what is working on the day.

Last but not least I will cover gear: –

Rods – depends what size lures you are going to throw but I think people sometimes gear up too heavy for the poor mighty murray cod, I have not lost a cod yet to a trace wearing etc.  I do like to use some finesse when fishing for cod. You really have to match your rod to the lures you are using. No point casting too heavy a lure and snapping the tip off or it is so heavy that you just can’t get enough action in your cast.Cod Mania 012

  1. My favourite rod has to be my most versatile in my collection, it is the Daiwa Supercasta it is a 2 piece 7 foot 6, medium heavy rod with a fast action, casts from 7 to 28 grams and is rated to 5-10kg, and this is absolutely ideal.
  1. For bait cast options I still love my interline rod because it has minimal resistance and pinpoint casting accuracy. It is a 6 foot 6 rod with medium fast action, its casting weight is ¼ to 3/8 oz and is rated 6 -14lb. It is very light and I could cast with it all day.DSC_1284
  1. When I want to go really light I fish with the TD Battler Bewolf Rod. Love the AGS Guides; you feel everything through this rod. It is a 7foot rod with a light fast action. You can cast 2-7 grams and it is rated to 2-4kg. This makes fishing a challenge and a lot of fun.DSC_0667
  1. Reels – teamed up in order from the rods above, I use the Ballistic 3000 with the supercasta, the T3 Ballistic bait cast reel with the interline and the Caldia 2004 with my light TD battler spin rod.

Mostly I have 20lb J braid on my 3000 Ballistic and T3 and then on the Caldia I have 8lb braid.

Trace line I like to use 20lb for those raspy teeth or those big cod and when fishing light will use 8 to 12lb. You have to be careful on some lures as the heavier leader can effect their action. If you are trolling a 20-foot lure and your lure is only reaching say 10 feet it can be because your leader is too heavy and it is affecting the lure in reaching its depth.  It could also be because of your trolling speed.

Dam’s and rivers are all affected by water flow and so too are the fish so if you are having a great day take note of water levels and whether is is rising or falling, barometer and moon phases.  They all effect freshwater species.

If this is your quest this season to catch your first cod or increase your personal best I wish you luck and hope you can use some of my tips whilst I try and tick another one off the bucket list.


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