Opinion

Hunting the elusive cod

by
December 08, 2017

Rising river levels in the Goulburn River put a dampening on cod opening.

What a wet opening to the cod season.

A torrential downpour on Friday morning with follow-up rains caused the Goulburn River to rise to within a couple of metres of overflowing its banks; in fact my preferred riverbank fishing spot is now almost 4m underwater.

All of the feeder rivers around the region have become raging torrents and fishing in them has become a non-event.

All reports which have reached me about anglers who have had success have come from the lakes, including Mulwala and Eildon. If you did not mind a drenching, these were the spots to head to.

Needless to say I have not wet a line yet, but with the river dropping it won’t be too long before I rejoin the ranks of anglers hunting the elusive Murray cod.

As you can imagine, results during the past week have been thin on the ground.

Eildon’s water level rose by three per cent and fishing close to the banks had the best results as the fish moved in to feed on freshly covered ground.

I did hear of a 50cm yellowbelly being caught in the Delatite arm, but the lucky angler was unwilling to pass on any more details.

So with a bit of luck and some dry weather the next week of the cod season should see an improvement in the number of fish being caught.

The rivers and streams in the north-east also took a hammering from the weather and normally placid mountain streams turned into raging torrents so trout fishing was confined once again to the lakes.

Some nice trout were taken by anglers trolling Tassie-style lures, mudeye or worms behind a Ford Fender, and the best time was in the early morning.

Saltwater

Saltwater fishing was not as affected by the rain and Peter Smallwood and Rod Lawn from Adamas Fishing Charters at Queenscliff said some nice bags of snapper, squid and whiting were the norm around the heads.

Rod said offshore from Barwon Heads gummy shark were on the chew in 40m of water and the best bait was fresh fillets of trevally or salmon.

He said good-sized snapper were also biting on the inshore reefs as well as flathead off the sandy bottom.

Peter said larger snapper were the go around Mornington and he used a variety of baits, including squid, pilchards and fresh salmon fillets, to get results.

At Western Port anglers were catching snapper along the edge of the shipping lane using silver whiting and squid as bait. The best times were on the change of the tide.

At Hastings anglers headed to the steel works or anywhere along the rubble beds for the best fishing.

Whiting are coming on the bite in the shallows with 30cm King George whiting biting on small pieces of squid and pipis.

Up north

North of the border, at Eden, John Liddell said most reports were from anglers bottom-bouncing the inshore reefs around Boyd’s Lookout and Green Cape, which is an hour’s boat ride from Twofold Bay.

He said snapper and morwong were being caught by anglers using striped slimy mackerel or squid as bait.

He said flathead were also being caught when drifting the sandy bottom.

John said there were reports of kingfish being caught by anglers using knife jigs when a school of fish was located; small live baits were also affective.

Graham Cowley had a similar report from Narooma, further up the NSW coast.

He said when anglers were able to go offshore the reef fishing was good, with snapper and flathead being caught, but there was still little action off the shelf for the game fishermen who were hoping to hook up with a marlin.

Down south

At Flinders island James Luddington said despite the weather flathead and gummy shark were still providing anglers with plenty of action.

He said fishing with garfish and squid for bait was getting good results, and the channels between the islands off Lady Baron were fishing well.

James said it was still too early to head into deeper water in search of albacore or trumpeter. He said the warmer weather in January was the best time to head off the shelf for them.

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