The heart of winter means lots of casts with big lures for the chance at a monster cod. The buzzing activity that is associated with autumn slows right down with the almost freezing temperatures, but the one thing that stays on the prowl is the mighty Murray cod!
Only the keenest of anglers venture out during July and usually they are crazy! With the minus temperatures in the morning, chilly wind and rain, it’s almost not worth it. I can tell you now it is far from enjoyable until you hook into a fish. The reason we do it is for the chance of catching the ginormous cod that exceed the 100cm mark, with some going bigger than 120cm!
It’s tough fishing at this time of year, but some days the action can be brilliant, as the big fish need to feed throughout winter, and with little food around, they’re actively chasing big lures. You may go on a few fishless trips, but the more trips you do, the more chance you have of landing that fish of a lifetime.
The best technique for this time of year is to cast large lures in against the banks. We like to cast large soft plastics as they have an extremely life-like action and represent the carp, redfin and trout that the Murray cod feed on. Spinnerbaits and chatterbaits are another great option. Both the grassy and rocky banks fish well, but we prefer to fish the flatter grassy banks early in the morning. Just as first light breaks, the fish will be sitting close in against the banks looking for a feed. Keep your distance from the bank, and cast your lures as far as you can. Let them sink to the bottom before giving them a big hop and slow roll them back to the boat.
Some of our favourite lures are the FX Fury soft plastic, Mud Guts Big Guts spinnerbait, Gotcha Shad, Berkley Swim Shads, Westin Shad Teez and any other large soft plastic.
Trolling is another brilliant technique, especially right on sunrise or sunset. The largest of lures work the best, like the 150mm AC Invader and the 190mm White Crow Warthog. Troll shallow in around 3-5m at low light periods, and as the sun comes up, push deeper and troll depths around 6-8m. This also applies to casting.
The river flows this year have been very different to last year. We were in the middle of a flood during July last year and the Murrumbidgee River was almost unfishable. This year due to less rainfall, the river is lower and is a great location close to town to try your luck. The fishing is similar to the dam in that its hard work, with lots of casting for little action, but the rewards can be big!
Winter is most commonly the time to head out and target the larger fish because they are active. To increase your chances of hooking a big river cod, target the deeper stretches in the river with the largest logs. Big fish need large homes and deep water, so try to concentrate your efforts in these areas. Usually, the outside bends are home to these features and during summer the water flow is too fast around the outside bends, that’s why we fish them during winter.
If the water is flowing nice and slow, try to use large spinnerbaits with a big soft plastic tail and large Colorado blades. These will emit a large amount of vibration and flash, which will attract the bigger fish. Copper and gold blades are my preferred colour in the Murrumbidgee River, with darker coloured skirts being the pick, but in saying that, don’t be afraid to tie on a white one from time to time.
You cannot go past the standard Mud Guts 5/8oz spinnerbaits with a bulked up tail and blade, and while you’re at it, you can also check out the Mud Guts Big Quaddie, which is specifically made for fishing for big cod in shallower running rivers, just like the Murrumbidgee River.Reads: 849