So I’m not sure exactly which god Josh and I have pleased lately, but for us both to get our first meter plus Cod only a week apart means we have been definitely doing something right!
In all seriousness though, most people don’t see or realize the amount of fishless trips that we have both had to endure to finally get a chance at our trophy fish. While Josh’s fish was caught at one of the most iconic Cod dams in NSW, Copeton, I managed to get my first Metery about 1200km south of there in my home waters of Lake Eildon, Vic.
I’ve always found Eildon a tough Cod fishery. I think it’s a combination of it being such a big place with so much to see and learn. Along with its clear waters and endless supply of standing and drowned timber, the lake offers such diverse Cod habitat. Steep rocky banks and points, steep clay banks with laydowns, shallower clay banks with standing regrowth etc etc. Another thing to keep in mind with Eildon is the bush type, and aspect ratio of banks and bays, as that can also play a huge part in the size and amount of standing and fallen timber on those particular banks.
While Murray Cod are a much more common occurrence in Lake Eildon now thanks to the huge stocking program Fisheries have been completing over the past 10 years, there is still not yet a huge amount of meter plus fish that seem to come out of Eildon compared to some of its rival NSW lakes. But Give it another 5 years and I think that will change quite dramatically.
From my experience Eildon’s clear and fertile waters seem to make the fish harder to catch. I’ve had countless fish come up and inspect my lure, swirl on it and just swim away, whether this is because they can get a really good look at the offering and have plenty of time to do that, or because they have plenty of “Real” food sources to keep their tummy’s full. I mean have you ever seen a skinny Cod come out of Eildon??
So it all came together on a Friday morning in May, I had a half day to head up the lake and do my thing. This generally consists of me hitting up a few banks at first light where I have seen or know cod live, and then do a bit of exploring afterwards to help build a better understanding of the lake and its huge amount of bank line.
This particular morning the weather was perfect, it was very still, and very overcast. I hit one of my usual banks at first light with no luck, then quickly on to a second one for the same result. I’m a bit of a sucker for exploring new water so decided just to check out some new bits and pieces of water I hadn’t been to before. I found a little bay with quite a bit of regrowth lining the water edge blocking my ability to cast right up to the bank, but I could still see plenty of fallen timber on the bank behind the regrowth. So I slowly picked my way along the bank and put a cast in where ever I could get a clear shot to within around 2-3m from the bank. It was a few hours after first light now, and I knew I was running out of productive bite time quickly.
I came across a little pocket that gave me good bank access for a few casts with little standing regrowth. I could see some smallish fallen trunks that were about 10 inches in diameter side by side, laying horizontal but about 1m below the surface. I backhanded a cast in over the top of the structure, I only had to cast about 5m from the boat. I clicked the reel into gear and started winding, retrieving the Thirsty triple threat paddler about 1m, enough to make a bit of a commotion and get anything’s attention if they were there.
From out of the depths under the logs sauntered a big green fish. I instantly froze. She came up to about 50cm below my lure, paused, looked at the offering and then slowly started to sink down again. Heart in mouth, I gave the lure a twitch hoping to entice her, she turned sharp and went down deeper leaving a boil on the surface and I thought I’d blown it. But a second later I saw her green colour appear again but hanging deeper about 1m under the lure.
I went for a more aggressive retrieve now to see if that might work, I wound the lure fast for a about a foot. Her body language changed, she rose up slowly, I gave one more quick 12” retrieve, she accelerated straight up and absolutely exploded the lure off the surface.
A solid hookup resulted and she went straight down peeling line from the Daiwa Tatula Type R reel. After I composed myself, and remembered to breathe again I went pretty hard on her as I didn’t know what was below us and I knew I had the gear to be able to turn her. A short fight later she surfaced next to the boat and was landed successfully with only a small amount of net bending, lol. Side note, does anyone make a landing net strong enough to lift a big cod haha.
Well if you had of been fishing or camping anywhere in the vicinity you would have heard a fair bit of hooting and hollering from myself, plus a fair few expletives as I came to grips with finally getting myself a trophy Murray Cod. Heart pounding in my chest I slid her onto the brag mat and she came in at 103cm, a few photo’s later she was heading back down into the deep green waters of Lake Eildon.
(Apologies about the image quality. Taking good pics solo is definitely a challenge!)
This capture and memory will now be one that is hard to beat. For me it was my ultimate Cod capture that ticked all the boxes. Home waterway, trophy fish, topwater and then to watch the whole thing unfold only meters from the boat. Does it get any better!