Flyfishing for Australian Murray Cod

Canadian scores his first Cod!

Imagine moving from British Columbia, Canada to Tenterfield, flyfishing opportunity’s had taken a big nose dive. Instead of sulking around, Jason enlisted the use of modern technology to find what species are available in his local area. A quick google revealed that Aussie native Cod are a worthy challenge on fly and would hopefully fill the void created since moving to our Aussie shores. With the aid of the Flylife forums he discovered there were other anglers out there that shared his passion for fish on fly.
Through work commitments he found himself based at my small home town of Ashford, now not many anglers chase cod on fly in Ashford and it didn’t take long before the locals pointed him in my direction. Within minutes of meeting, talk soon turned to flyrods, tackle and flies. As luck would have it, Peter Morse and I had planned to spend a few days floatboating some of the local waters in the New England. An invite to join Peter and myself was soon arranged. Peter soon kitted Jason out for the day with some of Sages finest tackle, specialized Bass rod and fly lines perfectly matched for our native cod fishing. (Thanks Morsie) after the day’s end and much bantering, Jason had absorbed information like a sponge.
Several months past until we could organise another trip, hopefully testing out Jason’s newly acquired gear. Fishing the Bottlebrush infested river calls for some form of watercraft, targeting repetitive casts under the overhanging foliage. Jason employed the use of his float tube while I used my invaluable float boat. We both used Sage 330gr Largemouth Bass rods; Jason matched his with a 10 wt Rio Tarpon sink tip while I used a full intermediate line, only because I had left my sink tip line at home. Casting under a Willow tree resulted in a massive jolt from a good sized Cod, the fight was like being chained to a bulldozer. It was in prime condition considering the low water levels the fish had endured during summer. Within minutes Jason’s enthusiasm was rewarded with a Cod repeatedly boiling at his 2/0 rattling clouser. Finally it happened and a Cod smashed his fly violently. His hands trembled with excitement when the fish rose to the surface. And after a series of photos it was released back to freedom. Jason had finally lost his “Codless Canadian” title!
Fishing was slow and hard going, but we were encouraged throughout the day from many short striking fish. Often inquisitive Cod would swim under our craft as we manoeuvred into position. Firing a low angled skip cast, deep under a tangled mess of tree limbs resulted in a subtle strike. Instantly the pale coloured Cod rose to the surface. The fight was dogged and my arms ached from the intense battle. Netting the fish was another feat with only 2/3 of the fish actually fitting in.
Removing the hook from the fish revealed why they are in such good condition, with the remains of 20cm fish still in its mouth, most probably a common Carp. Casting a 4/0 rattling clouser in front of a submerged tree was absolutely hammered with a series of rod jolting hits, giving its identity away as Golden Perch.
Much of the time the fish would hit the fly on the drop and quite subtle. Throwing surface flies into the evening resulted in a couple of short strikes. Successful patterns ranged from 2/0 and 4/0 rattling Clousers, tied on super sharp Gamagatsu sl12s hooks. A modest tally of 5 Murray Cod and 1 Golden Perch for the day was still good going, especially when a newbie scores his first of a species.
Regards Nick
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