New England Murray Cod

by Simon Fitzpatrick | Australian Lure Fishing

Tweed River Mangrove Jack Map
Simon Fitzpatrick

Simon Fitzpatrick

Fishing Guide & Journalist

Simon operates the highly respected guiding service “Northern Rivers Sportfishing”. A talented fisherman, he specialises in wild river bass and cod, as well as impoundment fishing for these and other native species. Simon is a Fisheries and Aquaculture Scientist by trade and is the President of the AusFish Tweed River Chapter. Simon recently appeared on television the Offroad Show, where he guided Steve and Jo Starling on a bass fishing adventure.

Simon’s Top Tips For Targeting New England Murray Cod

  • Murray Cod can be found in some surprising places. The New England Rivers are skinnier and clearer than many systems that hold cod and fish can sometimes be found in a couple of feet of clear water in the middle of the day.
  • The Murray cod fishing is about persistence. This is the “species of a thousand casts” and beginners often give up too soon – it pays to keep casting in areas where there are known to be cod as it can take many casts to get a strike. Targeting the same snag or structure with multiple casts can be productive as it can anger a lazy fish into striking.
  • A large proportion of New England cod river habitat is on private property. For visiting anglers the many dams in the regions (eg Copeton) are excellent cod fisheries and offer easy access.
  • Those keen on fishing for Murray cod in rivers are best to check Google Earth for bridge crossings or check out reserves and Travelling Stock Routes (TSR’s) for river access. Alternatively, some local B&B’s have river access, as does Bens Falls Retreat Retreat camping area.

Simons Murray Cod Tackle Selection

  • For the rivers, casting accuracy and presentation are more important than distance. A baitcast rod in the 6kg line class, with 40lb braided line and a 60lb leader is perfect.
  • For the dams, long “swimbait rods” that are capable of casting very large, heavy lures are preferred.This can be baitcast or spinning gear, but spinning gear can be easier to use, especially at night. Casting distance is more important than accuracy in these locations.

Simon’s Best Murray Cod Lures For The New England Area

  • Swimbaits are an excellent way to catch New England cod. Simon prefers swimbaits that stay within a foot or so of the surface and suspend when he stops retrieving. His preference is the Jackall Gantarel, which is effective fished around the relatively shallow lake margins during low light periods. Look for places where baitfish have aggregated and work the lure with pauses to get a lifelike presentation.
  • Hell Yeah weedless chatterbaits are awesome fish takers and are more snag resistant than most spinnerbaits and are great for throwing into serious snag country. The extra soft tails give the lures amazing action and they’ve been extremely effective on winter cod in Copeton Dam.
  • Large surface lures are a favourite on New England Cod. The American made Mammoth Lures are ugly but have been amazingly effective on Murray cod. They aren’t currently available in Australia, but are soon to be imported by Smak Lures.
  • Hell Yeah Chatterbaits or spinnerbaits are good selections for cod fishing in the skinnier or snaggier river waters.

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Murray cod fishing lures

Simon’s Guiding Business

Northern Rivers Sportfishing specialises in putting clients onto wild river bass and Murray cod from boat, kayak, float tube or shore-based. They offer half day, day or multi-day trips using lures and flies.

Simon’s Sponsors

  • Smak Lures is an Australian lure making business that produces hard body, spinnerbaits and tail spinners designed for Australian fish and Australian conditions.
  • Shimano Australia support Simon’s guiding business with high quality rods and reels suited to New England Murray Cod fishing.
  • Hell Yeah Chatterbaits manufacture the weedless chatterbaits that Simon uses for his cod fishing exploits.
  • Native Watercraft supply Simon with the kayaks he used for guided kayak fishing tours. They have a large range of paddle and pedal propelled fishing kayaks.
  • Jackall Australia are importers of high quality fishing lures, including the Gantarel swimbaits that Simon recommends for fishing the New England dams.