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Posted 22th December 2023

How to Catch Murray Cod in Rivers- the tackle and lures

How to Catch Murray Cod in Rivers- the tackle and lures
How to Catch Murray Cod in Rivers- the tackle and lures

By Jakko Davis

Righto guys, welcome back today we're going to sit down and have a bit of a yarn about the tackle and lures for chasing Murray cod in the rivers. The rivers will be my angling focus over the coming months and will be my focus in this blog.

Where to Go

I don't like to give away exact spots away because a lot of the spots that I go, I've worked pretty hard over the years, and I've fished a lot of water over the last 15 years. So, I don't give that stuff away and it sort of takes away from it as well. Growing up, doing all those kilometers of walking, fishing, all the water is half the fun. Getting down there, putting Ks in the legs and finding spots for yourself is what it's all about. It's not always about catching fish, it's about getting out there and finding your own spots and your own fish.

My recommendation is that you want to try and get as far away from where a public access point is as possible. Basically, the more people that can access that spot, the more pressure the water's going to get and generally the tougher the fishing will be. So, growing up, a lot of the fishing I did was hiking multiple Ks into spots or down river into a spot and doing multi-day, multi-day trips. Two and three days where you stay overnight by the river is how you get to the more remote spots and find the better fishing.

So, if you're a young fellow and you're sort of getting into this type of stuff, I can't recommend it enough. Set yourself up with a little one-man tent. That's all you need, a one-man tent, a bit of food, water purification pills or some way of drinking the river water. Then it’s just a matter or grabbing a couple of mates, heading down the river and as walking as far as you can, then turning around and walking back out.

It's good fun. Be smart about it. Take a snake bandage, because you never know what can happen and it’s important to be prepared.

Tackle Selection

We'll go into rod and reel setup. So basically, when I go down the river, I've got one setup. The rod I’m running at the moment is a Daiwa TD Black Duckfin rod. It’s designed to throw lures 15-70gram, is rated for 8-15kg line and is seven foot in length.

It’s a great rod for walking the rivers. It's nice and light can and can cast up to 70 grams (3 ounces), which means it’s the perfect rod for my style of fishing. I match the TD Black to a Daiwa Tatulion HD Custom reel. The Tatulion is a 200 size reel, as is the other reel that I often use, the Tatula 200 HD LTD. I can’t fault both reels and they are perfect for walking up and down the rivers, and making cast after cast.

My go-to line is the new J-Braid Expedition in 60lb. I like 60lb over 40lb as the Expedition is a bit thinner than the previous J-Braid I used. Going 40-60lb braid is the way to go because you’re fishing around heavy cover, throwing big lures and sometimes getting back lashes so you want to keep things in your favour as much as you can.

When it comes to leader I used 40lb J-Thread fluro leader. You can go heavier to 50lb but I find 40lb ties a lot easier and has you covered in 99% of situations.

The Lures

Let’s look at my lure selection, and what I’m about to outline is what I will be packing this season. This season my focus is a little different than most other seasons, and my objective it to catch fish on different lures than usual, and to throw lures that are inclined to catch larger fish.

Koolabung Codcracker (Surface Paddle)

So here we've got a lure that was really successful for me last season. The Codcracker is 130mm in length and is a surface lure that really calls in the cod. It’s a really good lure for some reason. I don’t know what it is, but it's got a great action and I got more hits on this than any other surface lure I've used ever before. It’s a great lure, they’re not expensive, though they can be a bit hard to find.

Handmade Wakebait (Surface Wakebait)

A handmade wakebait is the next one on my list. I have one that’s a favourite, it’s 160mm in length, looks like a white mouse, and I’m sure is going to get drilled this season.

DRT Joker (Jointed Wakebait)

Next up is the DRT Joker. I'm little bit obsessed with fishing DRT baits at the moment. They're a Japanese high-end Japanese brand of lure. They're pretty hard to get your hands on, but if you can track 'em down, they are sick. The Joker is a wake bait, it's really unique, it's really thick across the top and is about 7-8” long. So that's all the surface lures let’s now look at the glidebaits.

DRT Clash 9 (Large Glidebait)

So first off, this is another DRT bait, this is the Clash 9. I'm going to fish this without a lip on it so it'll be like a big glide bait. It's a 9” lure and with upgrade hooks on it is super slow sink lure. It's got an awesome action on the glide.

DRT Tiny Clash (Large Glidebait)

The next one is the DRT Tiny Clash, the little brother of the Clash 9. It measures 6.6” and is a lure that I had a lot of success on at the back end of last season. This is probably my most confident bait at the moment. It's just that perfect bite size for all fish. I fish it with the lip in and work it with a super slow retrieve.

6” Bullshad (Mid Swimbait)

Next up is a  little 6” Bullshad. I have a couple of these slow sinking baits and they’re the perfect snack size for the river. Pretty straightforward, just slow wind them back in.

Jackall Gantia (Jointed Swimbait)

I well used and loved lure for cod anglers, and most anglers have a least one in their tackle box. They’re a great lure in the impoundments and in the rivers. The retrieve for these is textbook, a slow wind/pause approach will get you the bites.

Huddleston (Soft Swimbait)

Next up is a Huddleston, which is a soft wedge tail bait. The American Huddleston baits are one of the OG swimbaits in America for targeting largemouth bass. I go for the 6” and 8” models. I'd say Huddleston's have accounted for more double-digit largemouth bass than any other swim bait. They have different ROF’s (Rate of Fall). My preference is the ROF 5 (5 feet per ten seconds). They also come in ROF 12 and ROF 16. I like to swim the lure above the fish’s head in rivers, so I don’t want to run the lure too deep, hence why I like the ROF 5. Most of the time you’re swimming your lure about a meter deep, same as that Tiny Clash action, so a slow wind is ideal and will see the lure track straight with a the tail going side-to-side.

Daiwa Duckfin Shad (Weedless Soft Swimbait)

A lure that’s hard to find these days, the 8” Duckfin Shad still has a place in my tackle box. Rigged weedless it’s a great lure for working through snags and it rarely gets snagged. While they’re a weedless lure the hook-up rate is still excellent. They can be rigged with different weights and hooks. An Owner 12/0, 3oz is one of my go-to hook/weight set-ups for the Duckfin.

Bait Junkie 6.2” Minnow (Soft Swimbait)

The Bait Junkie Minnow definitely gets tied on this season, with the 6.2” my preferred size. They’re cheap as chips, bullet proof and I like to rig them on an 10/0 Owner Beast hook.

Chatterbaits (Bassman Mumbler)

You can’t forget the chatterbaits when it comes to cod and for me it’s a 1oz Bassman Mumbler rigged with a 6.2” Bait Junkie Minnow on the back, and with a stinger attached on the rear for added hook security.


I won’t be packing spinnerbaits this season. While spinnerbaits are a must if you just want to catch, if it’s big fish that you want to catch I find larger profile lures such as the ones list above are more inclined to draw the attention of the big fish that I’m specifically trying to catch this season.

So Which Colour

A lot is written and spoken about colour when it comes to lures. While I don’t think colour is super important I do have my favourites. I try to keep things natural, and more often than not I find myself tying on a white lure. White and natural coloured lures stand out well in the water and work for me. What is more important is the action and profile of the lure.

Getting Hooked

I still haven't found the perfect treble to be honest. I'm always changing, but if I can recommend a few. The  BKK Fangs, Owner ST 41, and BKK Super Slides are three of my favs. One thing I would stay away from when it comes to trebles is really, really heavy-gauge trebles. When I was a bit younger, I thought go the heaviest gauge you could, but my opinion on that has changed over the last few years. I just think you don't need to go too heavy gauge, you'll actually miss a lot of fish. A cod's mouth is hard and tough and can be a challenge to penetrate with a hook, so you want to go the finest gauge hook you can get away with without it bending out on you.

So, there you have it a run down on my tackle selection for the 23/24 river cod season. I hope everyone's getting out there. Everyone that does get out there has a great trip, gets into some fish and just enjoy being out there.


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