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Murray Cod Open Season – Jacko Davis

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For Three months I collected likely looking lures, received new gear and studied google earth, all in the anticipation of the reopening of cod season. By far my most favourable weekend to fish, the first weekend of December has come and gone for another year. Like most, it was another unforgettable weekend with many memorable moments and milestones achieved.

Day dreaming of what could happen made the four hour drive from Newcastle back to Bathurst go by Fast. Myself, Robbo and my old man had a few afternoon sessions planned, walking a local river, which we have fished many a time in the past. After an hour’s drive through some lovely country we reached our starting point, with a backpack full of goodies, a combo each and some serious confidence, we knew we were in for a sick time.

Our first casts hit the river’s stained water at around 2 o’clock, with the sun high, and the temps into the thirties. This was our excuse for a slow start, though we expected the late afternoon bite to be mental. We hiked downstream for a good five kilometres picking up 4 mid-sized cod along the way, all falling to Assassin spinnerbaits. We decided to have a lay down, let the heat pass, before we began the hike back upstream.

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Around 5pm we were on the move, and after a few casts our expectations were met. We pulled in a few more on spinnerbaits before tying on our surface lures, and that’s when the reel fun begun. We took turns watching our pompadours and new BUNJi paddlers get BOOFED of the surface. Places we’d fished hard with spinnerbaits for no return on the way down, were now alive with surface smashing cod. The hits became that consistent as the sun went down, that it was somewhat funny watching each other unskilfully strike the lures out of the cod’s mouth in over eagerness. We continued our way upstream, now with our head torches on, landing around 12 cod up to 66cm, and missing countless hits.

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We reached the last hole, before we had to scale back up the mountain to the ute. A large hole that regularly produces quality fish, in the darkness we stood there listening to our paddlers walking across the surface. Once the sun goes down, the anticipation of a surface hit quickly becomes quite terrifying once the lure is almost finished its retrieve. Terrifying but addictive. On the final retrieve of the night my pompadour, only a metre from the rod tip, got absolutely creamed. Still shaking at the knees I lip gripped a lovely 74cm specimen to round out our first session of the season.

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A few days of work went by, before myself and the old man headed back out to the same location to try our luck again. This time the fish were more inclined to hit spinnerbaits, and fish around the 50cm were quite common. Almost at the end of our run down, I set up the GoPro on the bank of a timber infested section of the river. Most of the structure we fish along this river is rock/boulder based as it’s a pretty gorge’y environment, however this hole is one of few that holds good amounts of both timber and cod.

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As I set the GoPro up on the bank, something I had not done before, my dad says “feeling pretty confident?” I smiled and waded out into the water as he answered his own question “You’ve always got to be confident”. I fired a few casts, working my way down the adjacent structure before I threw one smack bang in the centre. Five cranks of my Tatula and my spinnerbait got cracked, my thumb went straight onto the spool, praying this thing wouldn’t return to its home. I knew it was a good one so I ordered dad to get the oversized lip grips. Not budging this brute, I had to lock up my 30lb JBraid and walk backwards to get her clear from the timber. After a stressful six and a half minutes my dreams had turned to reality as the old man lip gripped a massive river cod. A few photos followed the all-important brag mat measurement, she measured a healthy 114cm. Shaking with pure stoke I swam with this amazing animal until she was happy to head home. Only leaving the water momentarily for a quick photo, she was treated with the respect she deserved and set free swiftly and in good health.

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I sat down for a while, soaking in what had happened and allowing my body to stop shaking before we started heading back. We picked up a few more nice fish off the surface on the walk back, ensuring the best start to a cod season I’ve ever had. It really doesn’t get much better than walking the bank catching these guys, something that I am very privileged to be able to do.

Associated video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_uBdPRuYws

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