By Josh Kopp
Early morning start and frozen hands are here. This is a time you question your sanity until that bone crunching hit from an impoundment giant rattles through your frozen hands and springs you back to life faster then that double shot of coffee you downed on the way to fishing. Yep, wintertime is here!
As the past few years have show winter is a really productive time to target the bigger fish in the inland lakes. If you are brave enough to withstand mother nature you are every bit a chance to be rewarded with one of her biggest fresh water fish on the planet, the mighty Murray cod.
Big baits aren’t exactly breaking news, a lot of people have been throwing them for the last few winters, but every year the gear that is available to us is getting better and better. Every year there is new baits and the gear to throw them becoming available to us.
This season sees a few new additions in the Daiwa range, and you bet I will have them on my deck and in my hand in pursuit of a giant cod. The 20 TD black ‘Mother’ is the new swimbait rod in the TD black family and is a welcome addition to my cod arsenal. Already being a huge fan of the TD black line up for year this rod has really impressed me. As the name suggests it’s a mother of a rod, although more then capable of throwing most of the swimbaits available to us here in Australia its surprisingly a great all round option and that is exactly what I will be using it for.
I have had it out for a few sessions already and have thrown swimbaits on the smaller scale like the Jackall Gantia right up to the biggest of the Jackall family the Gigantrel, that with a chin weight attached coming in around the 7 ounce mark. This is a huge advantage for me as it means I can have less rods to cover more bases, especially if I am fishing in someone else’s boat I can now take the one rod to do it all.
For a rod with a cast weight of up to 300grams it is surprisingly light in the hand and is extremely well balanced which is really important when you have it in hand for such long hours in pursuit of that dream fish.
Another new addition has been the upsized Tatula reel models with the 300 and 400 hitting the range. These are an idea size reel for swimbaiting that will hold a good amount of thick line, have strong drags that can be locked for a ‘don’t give them an inch’ hook set. They're also built with a super tough gear set to handle the weight of the heavy baits being launched countless times a session.
Reel em' In
I like to pair these reels up with no less than 50lb J-Braid Grand. It’s insurance against snapping off expensive lures in a wayward cast and importantly hold up to some heavy hard fighting cod. Between the baits and the braid I use a fluorocarbon leader of J-Thread, usually a rod length and a half long, this gives me a little more stretch and a good amount of leader between the braid and the fish for the nasty structure encounters. I connect these with an FG knot and find this is super strong whilst keeping the knot size small for easy casting.
Check it Out
It always pays to keep a close eye on your gear. You fish for long hours and chances don’t come easy when chasing cod so you really want to make it count once you finally connect with one. This means checking your leader knot, leader condition, especially after a fish or contact with structure, even down to the sharpness of your hooks.
I wish you all the best this winter and hope to see some huge fish filtering through social media, remember you’re only one cast away so get out on the water and you will reap the rewards of how good the winter cod fishing can be!