Flyfishing for Australian Murray Cod

Serpents & Swine’s

It’s not very often I head far from home to find water, but I’ve been always keen to fish the lower Macintyre river system. John Everett was also interested in venturing to the rich broad acre cotton farming region and hopefully find a few fish.

5am road trips and country roads can sometimes involve white knuckle driving, dodging crazy kangaroos that seemed determined to inflict damage on my Toyota.

Calling into the first property, we were rewarded with a yarn and also fishing access, oh and the obligatory mud map that farmers always tend to favour.

Spotting the river gums we knew that the water wasn’t too far away, but it wasn’t going to be easy as we weaved our way through the thick mimosa bush that choked the prime grazing land.

A little unsettling was the number of black snakes sunning themselves in the morning sun. We knew we’d better keep our wits about us on this trip.

The river twisted and turned down through heavily silted sand banks. Little cod eagerly darted out from thigh deep water, pinning them with our flies wasn’t easy.

Finally we floated to a descent hole, but still the fish persisted with playing hard to get.

A black rattling clouser raised interest with not many takers. It was very frustrating when a big cod had three goes at the fly, but no hook up.

As the sun settled, we watched several feral pigs slipping down for their daily drink.

We decided to walk back upstream, to find and collect the ute. Our plan was to figure how to reach the large pool by vehicle. Somehow we worked our way through the maze of gates and Mimosa bush, back to our chosen campsite. The decision was to fish the rest of the large hole at first light.

While darkness fell, pigs grazed on previously ploughed paddocks not far from the campsite. Next morning while having breakfast we watched as a steady flow of pigs travelled from a distant cultivation, leading them right past our campsite.

Even though we worked some really prominent snag structures, the morning session remained very quiet. We decided it was time to pack the Hilux, head down the road and find the next property.

At the next farm they gave us the rock star treatment, happily showing us around and pointing out the better water. Even though the water was quite shallow, the hole looked similar to the New England water we fish regularly. Bottle brush and overhanging trees formed structures for Murray cod, which is the water we like to fish.

The cod seemed a lot more willing to strike on rattling flies. Pigs and snakes were ever present as we finned quietly upstream using our Floatboats, but we were here to fish, not hunt!

Although we struggled to encourage the bigger fish on our trip, I was assured the water held good quality fish. When the colder months arrive, I think I’ll return to the warmer Goondiwindi water with both flyrod and rifle.                   Nick

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