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Cod opening redemption

Max Power

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G’day Raiders, hope everyone is well 😀

After an unexpected and mostly unplanned series of events, I have moved from Port Stephens back to the Central West. Just in time for the heatwave 🥵

The last several months have been a bit hectic but I just happened to be back out West not long before Cod season opened. Silver lining in every cloud etc etc.

Disclaimer…..this is sort of 2 reports in one 😆

Part 1: The Initiation:

I headed out to the Macquarie river on the 1st December but didn’t get down to the water until around 10am. I wasn’t set up for Cod fishing but did have a few spinner baits that I had bought many years ago. I was using my Black Savage 5-8 kg rod with a Diawa spinning reel spooled with 15kg braid and a 20 pound leader. Not ideal probably but good enough for half a chance to land something if luck was on my side.

It was a nice morning with little wind and the river looked very healthy and it was nice to stand up to my knees in the refreshing flow. There were plenty of carp around but I focused my attention on casting my lure to the opposite side of the river into the deep holes and around the fallen trees etc. 

I persisted for a while and then changed up to a larger spinner bait to see if that would entice a bite. No such luck 🙄

I moved downstream about 50 metres to where there was a fallen tree in the middle of the river and a big deep hole, under a big tree on the other side. I flicked my lure over and was managing to get pretty accurate casts into the deep hole and around the base of the tree but the fish (if anyone was home) didn’t want a bar of it. One last cast and although I landed my lure perfectly, my line just drifted a bit  and went over one of the branches of the tree in the middle of the river. No problem I thought, I will just flick it off and all will be good. Wrong 😒 it spun round and round the branch when I tried the ol flick it off trick and there was no solution other than to tighten the drag and bust it off. So now it sat hanging from the branch in the middle of the river, taunting me for fishing saltwater for so long and thinking I could just come back to the freshwater without a problem 🤪, but there was no way I was going into the deep fast water to retrieve it.

Feeling slightly (very) defeated I walked back to my tackle box to re-rig and throw a plastic for some of the carp I was seeing. As I was doing this I could see someone in a kayak  a hundred metres or so upstream, casting to the snags on the edge of the bank. Hmmmm I thought, if he comes past me maybe I could ask him to retrieve my lure 😀 Sure enough he did paddle down towards me and turned out to be a legend of a young fella that paddled out to the fallen tree, retrieved my lure and brought it back to the bank for me! You are a champion mate and I hope you caught a metre plus cod as a reward from the fish gods! (I did mention this forum to him) 😀

Had a few casts with the soft plastic for no result so cut my losses and headed home with a smile on my face, knowing that there are still some really nice people in our world and that I still feel connected to the West and the life giving river.

Part 2: The Redemption:

A few days ago I went searching at the usual tackle stores for some cod lures. Given my recent history on snags etc, I couldn’t bring myself to spend $20,$30 or more on one lure, so I headed to the $5 bargain bin. Sure enough there were plenty of different sized/styles of lures that looked a lot like the expensive ones but I’m pretty sure the quality wasn’t the same 😛 Undeterred, I armed myself with 3 likely looking lures and this morning headed back to the river (the same area as before) to try my luck.

This time I got there at 7am and the river was a fair bit higher than before. This meant some of the areas I had been targeting previously were now out of reach. It was also blowing a rather brisk Easterly but I still couldn’t get the lure right across to the “zone”.
I threw a weedless surface frog along the edge of the bank I was on (Eastern side) as I walked upstream in the shadows but apart from thinking that it looked pretty good for a cheap lure, I didn’t get any hits.

With the sun getting higher and it now 8am I headed downstream to a spot where the river narrowed enough for me to cast to the other side. I clipped on another of my “bargain” lures, this one a 40gm 140mm deep diver:


There was a nice deep hole on the opposite bank that the young fella from the other week had told me that it was impossible to reach the bottom from jumping off the bank and so I thought I would give this a go.

I cast around this area whilst enjoying the flocks of finches that were landing near me for a drink and just enjoying the cool(ish) morning. It was only 26°C at this point and a welcome relief from the 40+ temps that have been hanging around for the last week. 
Amazingly this lure swam well straight out of the pack and I could feel the big deep vibrations as it dove down into the depths and thought to myself that maybe, just maybe a cod would think it was ok too.

It was around this time that the lure was about 3/4 of the way back to me when I felt a tap on the line. A snag maybe? No, hold on there is weight on the line and it’s fighting! A big carp in the current was my call and I couldn’t have been happier.

After a bit of a tussle I raised it up to the top and couldn’t believe my eyes when the head of a beautiful big cod broke the surface!

I took my time and brought it into the bank and to say I was blown away is an understatement! This was the biggest cod, by far, that I have ever caught with my previous biggest one being around 40cm. I haven’t caught many cod at all and usually only manage to catch carp, yellowbelly, catfish and redfin.


A beautiful fish!


It had engulfed the lure and after some careful extraction I gave it a quick measure.


It came up 72cm in the photo but in my haste to get it back in the water I think it’s probably a few cm longer so I’m calling it 74cm 😇

After facing it up current for a little while it gave a massive tail splash and I let it go to swim back down into the depths of its hole.

What an incredible fish the Murray Cod is and I’m stoked to have been able to experience a lovely fish like this!

I quickly checked my gear and headed back to the water in the hope that a bite window may have opened and began casting again. I probably had another 5 or so casts when all of a sudden the line pulls up tight again! Awesome! Except this time, no fight and it sure ain’t a stingray 🤔 Snag!!!

I tried all my tricks to un snag but to no avail and I had to, once again, bust it off. Then, after I had done that, as if in an act of defiance it floated to the surface and proceeded to drift off downstream in the current!


I hope someone finds it and doesn’t disregard it as being useless because it certainly performed well for me today.

After watching it disappear down the river I headed back to the ute, packed up my gear and headed straight back to the $5 bargain bin to buy another one 😆

It was an awesome couple of hours on the river and I look forward to attempting to better my new PB cod very soon!





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WOW, what a great report Max Power. I had lots of questions to ask you based on your earlier responses to some of my reports...but you have answered them. Very well done on catching such a fantastic specimen. Your persistence was definitely rewarded.

I have often argued that you don't always need the most expensive or right-coloured lure to catch fish. I believe that fish (particularly Murray Cod) are reactive and will attack for one or both of two reasons. Hunger or protecting its space. They seldom sit and think of what they do.

Ever contemplated using spinnerbaits as your go-to lure of choice? They are less likely to get snagged and on their day work really well. One of the issues where people fail with them is that they cast them and start to retrieve immediately. Often they get hit as they descend in the water column. Their natural retrieve pattern is to come up in the water column as they are retrieved, so are better off starting on the bottom. Sure there is more risk of losing the spinnerbait using this method, but with Cod fishing you have to take risks to get results.

If I can offer you a tip, consider this. When fishing from a boat, the best results are achieved by casting hard into the snags at the bank. Cod will occupy the most difficult, inaccessible areas you can find. You can do this by walking the bank and casting a few metres in and around the snags. Have a look at videos from Whistling Willy Cod fishing and you will see what I mean. Get a good extendable landing net and some of your smaller, cheaper diving lures and give it a go. Not something I do from the bank (I have mobility issues), but certainly do from the boat.

If you want to invest in some spinnerbaits, I have a mate who makes great quality ones in Wagga Wagga and is usually about half to two-thirds the cost of retail outlets. If you would like his details, send me a PM. He will post them to you.

Good luck with your Cod fishing. Keep in touch, always nice to have someone else on here with their experiences of chasing these iconic fish.

Cheers, bn

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4 hours ago, big Neil said:

Ever contemplated using spinnerbaits as your go-to lure of choice? They are less likely to get snagged and on their day work really well. One of the issues where people fail with them is that they cast them and start to retrieve immediately. Often they get hit as they descend in the water column. Their natural retrieve pattern is to come up in the water column as they are retrieved, so are better off starting on the bottom. Sure there is more risk of losing the spinnerbait using this method, but with Cod fishing you have to take risks to get results.

Thank you for your kind words and awesome advice @big Neil

Yes I do have a few spinnerbaits and I used a couple of them on cod opening day and also many years ago. I also bought another one in a larger size to try and will definitely spend some time using your advice and see how I go.

Im on a tight budget at the moment but will definitely keep your mate in mind when I’m next in the market for some more lures and thank you for letting me know.

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3 hours ago, Little_Flatty said:

Fantastic @Max Power!

Great to see you making the most of the fishing opportunities available to you, even with an unplanned move. That's a beautiful cod you have there and what a lovely young gent who helped you retrieve your lure again.

Thank you @Little_Flatty and yes it was a beautiful fish that’s for sure!

 I actually met a couple of the young fellas mates yesterday down at the river and they were very pleasant young chaps as well. We had a yarn for about half an hour talking about fishing of course haha and it seems that there are plenty of cod around in the river at the moment so I’m keen to get back out and have a go.

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On 12/15/2023 at 10:09 AM, Yowie said:

Nice work, lovely fish and worth the effort, snagging, early start.

Thanks Yowie, it was a welcome surprise that’s for sure!

23 hours ago, LuckyFil said:

Really enjoyed reading your report and great to see you were rewarded with a cracker fish.



Cheers LuckyFil it was a very nice reward!

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On 12/24/2023 at 12:12 PM, Pickles said:

Great report @Max Power, I hope you can find another lure like the one you lost.

Cheers @Pickles when I packed up my gear I went straight to the shop where I bought the lost one and grabbed another of the same and also one in different colour. All for the grand total of $12 😀

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