Southern Queensland Cod Enthusiast
Morgan has been fishing Leslie Dam for Murray cod for around 12 years and keeps a pretty low profile on social media, although he recently penned an article for Freshwater Fishing magazine on the virtues of fisheries in Southern Queensland. Morgan also fishes more widely, of course and doesn’t mind turning is hand to other species such as yellas and bass.
Morgan’s Murray Cod Fishing Tips
- It’s not necessary to fish deep, even through the middle of the day, but especially during low light periods. Don’t be afraid to cast into a metre or even less of water, especially if you find a boulder pile or some bait flicking in the shallows.
- Morgan likes to arrive pre-dawn and find a spot to start that “feels fishy”. He recommends patrolling a shoreline and studying the sounder until you identify a boulder pile or active bait. It’s not necessary to spot lock and fish a spot, fish are moving and you can do so too, just work along the edge until you find fish.
- Look for birds such as pelicans or cormorants, which feed on the same bait as cod. The presence of these birds indicate the presence of bait and by default, cod.
- Light to zero wind conditions are perfect for running surface lures across the top and getting spectacular bites. Frosty morning often fish well on the surface.
- Keep a close eye on the weather forecast, as there’s often a good bite just before and during a wind change from northerly to south or south east. South and south easterly winds tend to bring tougher fishing.
- Cod tend to feed up pretty well in the winter and spring in response to the spawning instinct, even though they can’t spawn in an impoundment.
- When the fishing is quiet, it pays to take a break from fishing for 10 minutes or so and just reflect, take stock and think about what you’ve done and what you could try next. Fishing a chin-weighted swimbait very slowly past deeper boulder piles is a good tactic when the cod have retreated back from the shallows to their homes in the deep.
Morgan’s Murray Cod Fishing Tackle
- A Murasami Wakebait 7101H is great for throwing big surface lures and Morgan couples it with a Shimano Tranx 300 baitcast reel loaded with Yo Zuri 40lb nylon-fluorocarbon hybrid line. This line casts well and has plenty of stretch, giving higher hookup rates on surface feeding cod than a braided line.
- For swimbaiting a lightweight rod with a little softness in the tips can help getting hookups, provided it has the grunt to be able to cast large lures. This is again coupled with a Shimano Tranx 300 baitcast reel, this time loaded with 30lb straight through Sunline fluorocarbon.
- For casting crankbaits a Chronarch reel loaded with 42lb Gosen braid and 50lb FC Rock fluorocarbon leader will do the trick. Once again match this to a rod that is light enough to enable all-day casting but with enough grunt to handle large lures and fish.
Morgan’s Favourite Murray Cod Lures
- A Mudeye Rattlesnake rattling surface swimmer casts well and has a good rattle that seems to be very effective in Leslie Dam – and other parts of Southern Queensland. The casting qualities are important as a lot of time can be wasted if your lures have a habit of fouling the line during casting. This is the lure to use when bony bream can be seen touching the surface and are pushing right up shallow. Cast it as close to the edge as possible, pause, wind eight to ten times, pause, repeat. The idea is for this lure to be the “last man standing” when the bony bream school disperses, leaving the cod with just one easy target to hit.
- The Jackall Dowzswimmer is Morgan‘s preferred swimbait. The long, slender profile does a good job of imitating carp and bony bream and the wide, side to side gliding action is deadly on cod. This can be fished unweighted near the surface in very shallow water and the slower it’s worked the deadlier it is. This lure can also be used when bony bream are on the surface, but is a more subtle presentation for when the fish are a little more spooky. Again, work it very slowly with plenty of pauses in an attempt to get the “last man standing” effect. Can also be weighted with a light chin weight to get it a little deeper if the bait are down further.
- A Megabass Big M 4.0 crankbait casts extremely well and can be run on straight mono line through very shallow water to keep it high in the water column. This lure is a good option when the fish and the bait are a bit more scattered through the system. Morgan suggests using the electric to move a little faster along the shoreline and firing out long casts to the waters edge. This enables plenty of water to be covered in search of active fish. Work the lure a fair bit faster than the previous two lures and expect that the strikes will be vicious.