Murray Cod Fishing Tips

Murray Cod Fishing Tips

By Chris Cleaver

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Murray Cod Fishing Tips

By Chris Cleaver

For as long as water has flowed through this sunburnt country, anglers have chased our largest and most iconic species, the Murray Cod. In certain circles they go by colloquial names such as ‘Muz’, ‘Muzza’, ‘Greenfish’, ‘Goodoo’, but no matter what name they are given or where they reside, Murray Cod are atop the podium for budding freshwater enthusiasts.

There is just something about them and the whole package that makes up chasing these beasts of the freshwater world. For some it’s the mate ship, getting out there with a group of good buddies cracking a few tins, telling fishing tales around the campfire and wetting a line in hope of some huge Green. Others just love the whole wilderness thing, paddling a canoe through rugged gorges sculptured by years of floods looking untouched by human influence. While I like all of the above there is just some mystique to these beautifully mottled marvels, whether it be in a dam or a snag lidden river it just keep me coming back.

Time of day and Temp

Barometer has long been whispered in fishing folklore, in fact there is a little saying ‘1020 Cod a Plenty’ and yes this is damn true. But if you waited for those 1020 days it can be weeks or even months depending on what time you have to get on the water. Some days it more a case of having a lure or bait in the water to put you in the game for catching some Cod. If you can coincide your trips with a moderate to high barometer from a high pressure system as opposed to a low pressure system the fishing should be considerably better.

Night time is possibly the peak of activity for Cod, they are quite skillful in moving about looking for meals to fill that large gullet of theirs. With that being said, large surface lures, hard bodies lures, spinnerbaits and swimbaits account for many Murray Cod. Just heed a word of warning and be careful walking or operating a boat at night, take your time and be wary of the dangers present.

During the day cod on most occasions will reside around a snag (sunken timber), rock crevices and ledges and will only move a nominal distance from their home. There are exceptions from the rule on extreme barometers and near breeding months but for the most part they will reside near some cover. This is where casting needs to be pinpoint and repeated, they say big Murray Cod are a cast of thousands, for the sake of your sanity I hope not but some days yes it can take a lot of casting. I guess one upside is you get a lot of practice and can only get better and more accurate. Spinnerbaits and deep diving hard bodies seem to be most popular but swimbaits and big squidgies or soft plastics are gaining popularity for these fish.


Gear and Technique

Baitcast reels are perfect for these beasts, as the majority of cod lures have considerable weight and reels like the Shimano Caenan, Curado and Chronarch are perfectly adept to casting all day or all night at likely big Cod haunts. Spooled up with 20-40lb braid like Power Pro and fished with a fluorocarbon leader like Ocea in the 30-60lb and your almost ready for action. Match it to a rod like the Cod Raider or Zodias and you are armed with a weapon ready to catch the fish of a lifetime.

Baitcast reels can be a little beyond some fisho’s and that’s not a bad thing because at the end of the day it does not matter if you use a baitcast or a spin outfit as long as you catch the fish in the end. Spin reels in 2500-5000 size like Sedona or Stradic with the same braid and leader setup as above matched to Barra Spin style rod will have you well and truly in the game.

Make sure to set the drag quite firm but not locked up for the strike, Cod have quite hard mouths and you need to set those hooks. Once you are on and clear of any bad structure you can release the drag somewhat and just casually play the fish till it is ready to land. This is where I have found the X-Large Environet invaluable, having the ability to net Cod well over 120cm and hold in the water while getting the camera and the brag mat ready is great. It also aids immensely it getting the fish into the boat without too much stress or lack of support. If you are fishing land based it will be more a matter of getting close to shore and possibly grabbing it by the bottom jaw with a gloved hand or lip grip tool.

Then quickly get your Brag shot for Instagram or Facebook or just to send to your mates while they are working then get the big girl back on her way to make some other anglers happy day.

Locations and Seasons

Their location disparity and distribution make them very viable throughout large pockets of Australia. Stretching from Southern Queensland down through New South Wales, ACT and down into Victoria and South Australia. Existing in most rivers, Lakes and Dams from wee little ankle biters right up to 1.5m and beyond goliath beasts that have been known to eat the odd water bird!

They are a viable target almost year around, although some closed season are present to help prevent exploitation and stress in spawning times. QLD, NSW, ACT & VIC are closed to targeting them from September 1st to 30th November, SA has a more strict policy year around and has a closure from August 1st to 31st December. There are a few exemptions to these closures as scientific evidence suggests in some dams with little or no inflows breeding is not viable. While the fish still undergo the whole process as a natural urge the salinity levels and water flow make it a non-event. Copeton Dam in Northern NSW and Lake Eildon on the Victoria Border are two impoundments open to year around fishing and have quickly stamped their reputations as Murray Cod Meccas due to years of active stocking programs.

If the big open ponds are not your thing and those flowing snake like rivers of the western slopes and plains have the allure of attraction to chase Cod then you will need to do some homework. A quick search on the internet should reveal the quality of the Cod fishing available on the more well-known rivers or a call to the local tackle shop with nominal drop in and purchase of something should get a little point in the right direction.

Once you have a place in mind, it is time to have a crack during the peak time. Depending on location this can vary but on a whole, dawn and dusk are prime times for a big lazy green slob to start patrolling his beat for a tasty meal. That said some true trophy beasts get caught in the middle of the day, after all we eat three meals a day so why not the cod. Though in the summer months the flies, heat and the call from the cold beers in the esky make it all too hard for middle of the day fishing. The cooler months around the closure times are much more bearable and the fish seem somewhat active in these months putting on condition before and after spawning. 

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