Central Victorian Native Fish Specialist
Caitlin is a central Victorian lure fisher who consistently extracts quality Murray cod from the Loddon and Campaspe rivers, among other places. A leader within the “Women In Recreational Fishing Network”, Caitlin came from a non-fishing family and progressed straight to lure casting, skipping the usual bait fishing apprenticeship.
Caitlin’s Top Tips For Targeting Murray Cod
- In this episode we focused on the Campaspe and Loddon river systems, as the main ones that Caitlin fishes and knows well from the shore and from a kayak.
- Fishing for Murray cod is like doing a puzzle with some of the pieces missing. One of the best pieces of advice Caitlin can give is to keep a detailed fishing diary, even for the days when no fish are caught. And fish at every opportunity regardless of the conditions.
- Google is your friend when it comes to fishing these systems. There are tons of bridges, roadside reserves and other access points that open up all manner of cod-holding structure. Don’t be discouraged if the water is shallow at the access point, usually if you walk or paddle a short distance you’ll find suitable fishing spots. Remember that these systems are popular, so being prepared to walk or paddle further will increase your likelihood of finding quality fish.
- Both river systems contain decent snags and weedbeds. Cod love to spend the day in the weed, but snags are another obvious target to pepper with lures. Don’t discount any water though, it’s amazing where cod even in very shallow water or in current around ambush points at times.
- A lure retriever is an important piece of kit, if your lure is getting snagged occasionally then you are somewhere close to the right structure.
- The Loddon and Campaspe river systems are regulated for irrigation, but no so heavily as other Vic Rivers. During late spring and through summer the water levels and clarity stabilise and the cod become more active.
- Don’t expect to catch cod every trip. Sometimes you will do everything right and still won’t catch any fish. Move around between spots and take some time to think about what the conditions might be telling you and how you can get a bite.
Caitlin’s Murray Cod Fishing Tackle
- Caitlin uses a 6’ to 6’6” 4-8kg baitcast rod with a 150 size Tatula reel, 20lb braided mainline and 30-40lb leader.
- It’s worth upgrading hooks and rings on a lot of the lures that are available as the stock hooks are often not up to the task of taking a cod.
Caitlin’s Top Murray Cod Lures
- A 1/2oz Loddon Lures spinnerbait with Colorado blades is relatively snag proof and can be bashed into snaggy country and mid-stream timber and the slow rolled back out. In slow water they can be sunk to the bottom, in faster moving water you may not be able to fish them so deep. Keep tension on the line and slow roll the lure through timber and other structure fast enough that you can feel the blades spin.
- 70-120mm surface lures such as the Koolabung Codwalker paddler are perfect for night fishing, casting over heavy weed or hard structure. Try and match the lure to the surface food items that the fish might be feeding on, such as mice, small birds, lizards, cicada’s and so on. An important consideration when surface fishing for cod is to “fish with soft hands”, in other words, not keeping too much tension on the line. Cod are implosion feeders, so it’s important to allow opportunity for the lure to be sucked down. Focus on ambush points such as eddies, snags and weedbeds.
- 130mm unweighted swimbaits are productive and are a good balance between not being too big but having sufficient size and presence that a cod might eat them. These lures are expensive and are very easy to get snagged up, so they’re usually fished in slow flowing water that is relatively clear of snags and structure. Slow rolling these lures along the deep edge of a weed bed. It’s not important to get the lure down too deep, cod are looking upwards for unsuspecting prey.
- A deep diving hardbody that gets down to around 2m, such as a #2 Stumpjumper or Gidgee Fatty Junior is a very handy lure for bashing through snags. The large diving bib helps increase the snag resistance and the buoyancy allows them to be floated back upwards when they hit structure.