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The Cod Father II

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It's been a while since I wrote a post so fair warning... to make up for it, this one is going to be a long one so maybe go and get a coffee or cold beverage then settle in...

Murray Cod season opened last Saturday so Jewhunter (Grant), Outdoor Dan (Dan) and I had long ago booked a return trip to the Severn River to coincide with the first few days of the season. This time, we were also joined by a blow-in hoping to cash in on our previous success... Brown Dog (Greg). Now, I'd like to get straight into some mind-blowing Goodoo action but I need to write a short preface. You see, Dan has this problem in that he is physically unable to be in close proximity to water without fishing in it... in fact, if he is kept away from water, you might find him digging a small hole in the dirt and filling it from the nearest tap. Amazingly though he's also such a good fisho, that he'll then usually catch something in that hole.

After flying in on Saturday, Dan bunked in with Grant at his place on the Tweed River so of course Saturday night was decided as a time for Dan and Grant to chase one of the Tweed Bull Sharks that are hammering bait in the river at the moment. In the end it was Grant who nailed a good fish in the shape of a muscly Tweed Jack a bit over 51cm. Having been targeting sharks, we're all a little uncertain whether it can be called a good capture though... it sure wasn't very sporting since the red fish virtually choked to death on the 1kg mullet fillet bait that Grant was using.

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It's worth a word or 2 on the very special rigging technique that led to this success. The first tip is the use the very special and until now, secret, 'Vidler Improved Albright' leader knot (it's worth clicking on the pic and blowing it up to have a close look). This knot works on the principle of letting the line do all the work thus simplifying tying. It's a knot best left not snugged up (as attempting to snug it up usually results in breakage). The second secret to both effectively tying this knot and to this style of fishing can be seen in the lower left of this next photo. NO, not the gaff... behind the gaff.

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Thankfully the boys managed not to need the services of the local VMR despite their very wobbly fishing boots and a nice fish was the outcome (along with some sore heads). Jewhunter made sure to SMS me the photos obviously because they thought I would like to hear all about how awesome they both were... :ranting2:

So now finally onto the cod fishing trip. Early Monday we loaded up my 'Mosman Shopping Trolley' (Toyota Prado) and Greg's Landcruiser flat tray. I should point out that despite an endless tirade about the pooncy air conditioning, adjustable suspension & electric everything, Jewhunter seemed pretty quick to always bags the passenger seat with me rather than in Greg's ute... I noticed in the 30+ degree swelter in Casino that Dan was struggling to boost the air conditioning in Greg's truck but the window was already open all the way up :1prop: After a bit over 4 hours of driving we met the property owner at the local pub (actually, first we went to the wrong pub so had to have a drink there first). And after another round of beers in the right pub while checking out all the cod heads nailed to the wall, we headed off and finally got to the property which compared to last trip, was very green.

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The drive into the cabin was rocky and rugged and for a while at least, Grant laid off hanging shite on my Mosman suspension... I'm not sure that Greg and Dan still had all their teeth when we finally reached base camp. We settled in

and unpacked all our gear. We all know Grant is a man of simple taste and simple understanding... but even we were surprised by his tackle box. He turned to us with a hurt look in his eyes after our derisive comments and pointed out that unlike all our Plano goodness, he had exactly what he should have... a box (cardboard) holding his tackle (tangled mess). We also made sure we had plenty of provisions. Mostly these consisted of blue cans, twiggy sticks and other assorted preservative rich proteins. While twiggy sticks might be the one food to survive a nuclear holocaust, anyone who came into our hut and breathed the air during our stay may not have been so lucky. :badair: I don't think we really need to comment on Jewhunter's fishing shirt as it was well documented in the report on the last trip but I hear that the Sydney Mardi Gras organising committee is in the process of negotiating with Grant over a sponsorship deal.

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With everyone expecting Dan to be, as usual, the first to the water and the first one fishing... as soon as we were unpacked I actually managed to sneak down to the river right in front of the cabin and a couple of casts later we had our first green fish on the grass, falling to my favourite surface walker. That first afternoon the fishing was a bit tough for all except THE CODFATHER (Dan) who managed to pull cod out of seemingly any puddle and back-eddy into which he lobbed his spinnerbait. A pattern which he pretty much maintained through the whole trip (in the end catching close to half himself, of the 50 odd cod that we landed for our 4 days)

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Unfortunately, the afternoon we arrived there were big storms in the hills around us so the next morning we woke up (those of us that managed to sleep despite the bugs in our mouths and ears... who left the door open? :badmood: ) to a river that had risen noticably and turned a tasty shade of chocolate. It killed our plan to try to cross the river to access the easier fishing far bank but nevertheless, we set off heading upriver from the cabin. I over-optimistically decided to take my fly rod... I think in about 3km of walking I managed to find enough fishable spots to have around a dozen casts. The other boys weren't much better off even with baitcasting gear as the bank we were on was steep and scrubby.

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There was a lot of celebration though when Brown Dog put some casts into a likely looking hole and landed his fist ever Murray Cod. Onya mate :thumbup: Dan made a memorable capture... managing to land the Hunchback of Codtradame. Grant added to the tally despite his shirt.

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That's not the best looking head... and the fish isn't much better.

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Then I finally found the one spot on the accessible river where room for a fly fishing back cast coincided with some suitable cod water. 3rd cast in and my 9wt Sage loaded up. A few minutes later I'd ticked off one of my 'to-dos' and had my first Murray Cod on fly. Not big... but like all of them (except Dan's deformed monstrosity), a beautiful green-speckled chunk of a fish. (sorry about the self-indulgence of 2 photos but hey, I'm the one they've pushed into writing this thing!!)

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Through the middle of the day, we regrouped to the cabin and apart from spending some time sleeping off the previous night's blue cans, made a plan to fish the river in the afternoon at a section of granite gorge further up-river.

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Once the sun started to get low enough to shadow the river, we scrambled into the spectacular country (or at least the 27yo Dan scrambled... the rest of us sort of shuffled). Foam from the waterfall at the head of the gorge lined the surface of the pool and followed the eddies and currents of the river. The poetry of the moment obviously moved Greg to spontaneously begin a zen Tai Chi spiritual ritual. Apparently when he attains his black belt, he should be able to dip his ass in the water without losing contact with the rock... something to look forward to.

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At the risk of blowing my own trumpet (hell, try and stop me!!), my Mojo was on fire that day. After my first with the fly rod, I then managed (despite almost sliding on my butt straight into the river) to find a great spot from which to throw a big quad-blade spinnerbait. And on the second cast the bumping of the lure across the snaggy bottom was interrupted by an almighty WHACK! A few minutes of tussling had me sliding what felt like a green bulldozer into range of my lip grips. While not a big fish by any means, it was my PB at 66cm

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My mojo continued later on when I headed down river before realising that my camera was missing and even though the thick grass was hip high, I actually managed to find it again back near where I'd almost slid into the river. As the sun dipped lower, we all moved back to the head of the gorge where Grant claimed one of 'his' rocks (many times during the trip, the granite cliffs rang to Grant's refrain of "Get off my ^%*$## rock!"). We hadn't realised after the last trip that it was possible to register a legal claim on particular granite boulders... Jewhunter must have a particularly switched-on lawyer.

Shortly afterwards Grant started hollering and hooting as he was hit by a good cod and then whooped and yahooed, loudly claiming it was at least 70 or 75cm. From nearby I laughingly shouted back that it must be only 65cm. "Nah... it's heaps bigger than that" was the reply. I shuffled around the granite and helpfully produced my tape measure... it was 65 :mfr_lol:

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Day 3 started with us heading even further up river to the water we'd fished a lot the previous trip. By now the river level was dropping again, the barometer was rising strongly, and confidence was high. It's a beautiful stretch of the Severn surrounded by wind-fall timber as it gurgles through bouldery pools (artsty photo alert).

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The fishing was tougher than expected. I once again had my fly rod and didn't manage so much as a touch despite plenty of casting in the more open country. Grant and Dan managed a few fish between them. Dan's being small as was the pattern of his trip... in fact we all reckon that if you only counted the decent fish, Dan probably only landed 3 fish for the trip! Greg had stayed in the cabin to spend time recovering from the previous day's Tai Chi.

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One of the problems fishing the Severn is that it holds one of the world's great old-growth stinging nettle forests! Thigh high in places, long pants are a must unless you want to spend your time curled up in pain, mewling like a scalded cat. The other worry is snakes. Unlike last time, we didn't see any this trip but constantly walking through hip height scrub and grass where you can't see where you're putting your feet, really grates on your nerves. I'd learned my lesson last time and withstanding a barrage of derisive abuse I tracked around in snake gaiters for the 4 days. Derision turned to envy after a couple of days when I was still happily plodding along while Grant was quickly developing a nervous twitch every time he put a foot down.

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That afternoon, it was decided to make the epic crossing of the Severn in front of our cabin. While Dan and Grant were having a beauty rest, Greg and I gathered up some rope and combined with an old inner tube and a plastic tub we jerry-rigged a raft. Once again when the sun started to drift lower, it was time to hit the river. Dragging the 'SS Doomed To Failure' down to the river's edge, Greg took the lead and braved the raging river to paddle across and secure one rope to the opposite bank. All he got was a bit damp. We then ferried our gear across in the handy plastic tub. Unfortunately, then Grant took his turn and employing a 'rear first' boarding technique managed to put his ass through the plastic tub, thereby rendering any likelyhood of a dry crossing for us or our gear highly improbable. Mountain Goat Dan managed an agile crossing with minimal wetness and then my somewhat beefier frame made a very undignified crossing with bum in the water, feet in the air and avoiding going head over only by virtue of Greg's fast rope work. We were laughing so hard that through the tears we forgot to take pics so here's some shots of Dan's return voyage. No Fishraiders were harmed in the making of this documentary (and Dan's smokes made it through unscathed too)

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That afternoon we worked downriver fishing a long section of really great looking water, finally reaching some more granite country and concentrating our efforts around a big rock shelf. We all managed to pick up fish including a few good Cod around the 3kg mark. The deeper holes certainly hold the better fish on average. The only sour note being Grant having 'sand in his mangina' after leaving his spinnerbaits in the cabin and having to rely on borrowed lures which were 'entirely to blame' for him missing a hit he swears was the moby dick of all cod. We all believe him. :icon_razz:

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After narrowly avoiding drowning on our trip back across the river we settled in to a great nosh up. By this stage what I thought was a head cold (I'm now under a doctor imposed quarantine for possible chicken pox/shingles) had me feeling like crap so I fell into my sleeping bag while the boys undertook some blue can fueled brainstorming for our last session in the morning.

The next day I drove Dan, Greg and Grant into the big waterfall gorge for a last fish while I (still feeling very 2nd hand) decided to do something a little less strenuous. The final session produced quite a few fish without anything spectacular and when I got back to the drop off spot at around 10am, the 3 of them were looking shattered... Grant was horizontal and the others looked like kicked dogs. We headed back to the cabin with one quick stop when I spotted a crocodile in a roadside pool. "Bullcrap" was the least offensive of the comments when I hit the anchors and told the boys what I'd seen here in roadside New England. But sure enough... Ok, so it wasn't real but the property owner sure has a sense of humor and I wasn't lying.

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So that's it for another trip. We're all knackered (not that it stopped Dan fishing out the back of Grant's house until 2am the night we got back). But it's an awesome place and way to fish and the 'Mighty Goodoo' gets it's nickname for good reason. Absolutely one of the best fish to chase... looks awesome, hits like a freight train, fights like a bulldozer and takes you to amazing country. Roll on next trip.

Cheers, Tony

Edited by slinkymalinky
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OMG!! I am still trying to work out the knot!! NICE Jack, BTW!!!

074.gif074.gif Just as well you had the extra drinks, wouldn't want you affected by dehydration, eh??

Well Done on your cod on fly, Slinky!! Terrific looking fish!

...(or at least the 27yo Dan scrambled... the rest of us sort of shuffled).....074.gif074.gif074.gif WOOHOO!! Nice Legal Cod at 66cm on fly!! AWESOME, Slinky!

.....Grant's fish was (65cm ... not 75cm) ..... Yeah, my 55cm felt like a 65cm, too!!wacko.gif

LOL!! Where is the live footage of that creek crossing via the rubber tube! 074.gif

AWESOME trip report, Slinky! You just needed someone there to stop the snoring, eh???

Well done, boys - a great 'cod almighty' outing together!! Well done on the number of fish caught, with some real beauties thrown in too!thumbup.gif

NICE pics, too!


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Nice report mate. :biggrin2:

I suppose I was always going to cop a serve after my usual lighthearted

banter over the week. You know how sensitive I am! :1crybaby:

Note to self. Don't tie knots when you can't see properly!! :drunk: I am still rapt with

my P.B jack, even if it did resemble a red surf board while I was landing it.

We all got P.B's over the week. Me with jack, you & Greg with your biggest cod

& Dan with his P.B smallest cod. :074:

Dan should have the video of a spectacular surface strike of a 65cm fish he captured

on the go pro up soon.

Cod are a very special fish. Their colours are awesome & they photograph so well.

As usual it was all over way to quickly. :badmood:

Thanks for the company fellas. It was a memorable trip for many reasons.

Here's a few more pics. Gotta love the one of Dan looking like a lost golfer & Greg a stunned mullet! :tease:



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Great read slik! Cracking time had by all....by all accounts the surface stike of a cod resembles that if a barra?

They are quite a bit different Poddy, even though they are both natives.

Barra usually leave a bow wave while they home in on a surface lure.

Cod hit more like an oversized bass. More of an implosion feeder.

They love surface walkers. The explosion comes as a shock & can be out

in what looks like the middle of nowhere.

Barra fight alot harder when hooked though.

Keep an eye out for a post from Dan. Once he gets his editing program sorted

I'm sure he'll put up a short vid of an awesome surface strike he got.



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Tremendous effort Slink :thumbup:

That's the Report of all reports :thumbup:

Enjoyable reading and some lovely photos too!

Congratulations on the all round PB's guys, top effort.

There must have been a wealth of fishing experience and knowledge between the three of you no wonder you all produced the goods!

Thanks for sharing and keep up the tremendous work :thumbup:

All the best


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