In this post I wanted to ask the question (as much for myself as for anyone else): ‘to cod or not to cod?’ Part of this relates to my lack of success last season. It went something like this:
Around 15 predominantly topwater sessions totalling roughly 24 hours of cod-targeting. Most of this was spent on my local stretch of the ‘bidgee.
So, what did 15 topwater sessions produce? One 40cm cod landed, two boofs, a couple of swirls and a few follows. My disappointment was somewhat offset by catching my first monster cod (see ‘Codtroversy‘), but this was an accidental catch during closed season, so it doesn’t count.
However, this disappointment is only real if measured by the number of fish caught, or the amount of ‘action’. Some of the things I learnt were priceless, and that’s what made it such a good season. Here are a few lessons I learnt.
Go the extra mile
I always thought that when cod are ‘on’, they’re ‘on’, and it doesn’t matter where you are. If they are there, they will eat at certain times. While there is some truth in this, I’ve been convinced by the success of some of my buddies that going the extra mile and trying to find a stretch of river that isn’t fished very often definitely pays dividends.
Keep an eye on the weather
I started keeping a little spreadsheet over the season, recording locations, times, temperatures, clarity and air pressure. I found that a pattern started to emerge. Rising pressure, warm evenings, good water clarity (usually lower flows) were the recipes for cod success. But there are always outliers (as is always the case with all types of fishing) and you should never let the weather get in the way of a session.
Change lures and techniques
It’s easy to get into the habit of casting the same lure around over and over again, but often a change seems to produce some action. One memorable session was when I’d been casting a cod whalloper around for an hour or two, and was just about to give up and head home. I decided to tie on a big black fizzer, and was reminiscing about fishing for barra in the top end by pretending I was indeed fishing for barra in the top end, and a hungry 70cm cod shot up in deep water and had a big swirl at the lure. I’d cast the whalloper numerous times in the right direction, so I figure that it must have been the violent rips and fizz that enticed it to have a go.
If you miss, persist
This was a lesson taught to me by a lovely chap I met on the river one evening, who, based on the phone photos he shared, evidently has a lot more success than me. He said that if you miss a fish on the surface, have a few more casts and see if it returns. If it doesn’t hit the surface lure again after 5 or 10 casts, go sub-surface. They will often still be excited and angry, and will keep on hitting anything that’s in their zone. Hamish enjoyed this experience here.
These are just a few of the key things I learnt over the season, all of which I’ll be putting into play this coming summer. Despite my lack of success, spending time on the river was great. I ate silly amounts of blackberries, saw some amazing wildlife (native and feral), saw some beautiful sunsets and got some great exercise.
The answer to my question? In cod we trust.