Flyfishing for Australian Murray Cod

Midnight Maps

Don’t let anyone tell you cod fishing is glamorous, it’s far from it!  Usually it involves a lot of sweat, fatigue and plain hard work. Our latest overnight trip was one of the most gruelling adventures we’ve experienced.

Typically, trekkers plan their trips down to every intricate detail; I’m not one of them. If Jason only knew that I was still deciding which direction we’d be heading to in the morning, he’d probably take over as trip co-ordinator.

Next morning we reached the river, instantly we were blown away by the rugged, brutal landscape and water clarity. Spotting cruising cod was kind of fun, but boy they were spooky!  We had to have a total rethink of tactics to fish this water; it was a case of dredging fly’s in the deep gorge channels.

By three o’clock we reached the end of the longest pool, deep water was replaced with more familiar banks. Callistemon trees and snags lined the water’s edge, cicadas droned noisily from the overhanging she oaks. Better still the sun was setting behind the hills and it was getting quite dark. This was the time to see if they’d respond to a surface fly. Respond they did!  The 50 metre tail section of the pool, was a surface smashing arena.  I landed 7 cod and had so many failed hook ups I stopped counting. Meanwhile Jason had worked his way downstream, into classic nursery water, baby cod smashed his 4/0 big poppa well into the darkness. With the aid of headlamps we made it back to our Hilton Hotel bush accommodation.

Camping and sleeping don’t really mix to well for me; I suspect I might have some sort of sleeping disorder and at 3am the sounds of cod smashing surface, lured me back onto the water. Surface fishing at night is something I haven’t trialled many times in the past. Having a ¾ moon overhead, visibility was okay and most casts somehow landed on the water.  From now on, that’s all going to change after that mad surface bite. The cod ranged from small to very small, but what a session! 

Packing the Floatboats we progressed through a heavily timbered and beautiful deep gorge, fishing was a patience game using slow inter sink tip flylines.  Possibly express sink flylines may have helped the situation, we’ll find out next time!  Jason opted for smaller subtle flys. This seemed to be the key for these timid granite gorge cod.

With time getting away, the river dropped abruptly into a steep rock lined gorge, we parked the boats and climbed high up on the rocks to get a better view of the surroundings.  Things turned hectic when we spotted a 1mtr+ cod cruising the water’s edge, we could see multiple cod in this pool as well as numerous catfish guarding their nests.  Jason slid frantically down the rocky bank with flyrod in hand, while I called the shots from high above.  Unfortunately our mythical big cod disappeared into the depths, undeterred we spent several hours sight casting and catching these cruising cod.  Leaving this special place was very difficult; managing this while hauling heavy backpacks up so many steep hills was a chore. Doing it during the blazing midday heat was painful.  It doesn’t matter how much hardship we endure on these trips, we’ll always go back!                                                                Nick



One response

  1. So very nice fella’s – nothing better than that!

    December 9, 2012 at 7:04 pm

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