Freshwater Fishing Writer
Andy needs no introduction to Australia’s keen freshwater fishermen, being an extraordinarily prolific fishing journalist. A regular writer for Freshwater Fishing magazine (among many others), Andy has penned around 300 informative magazine articles to help others on their journey to improve their fishing. He’s also responsible for fishing atlases covering the ACT and southern NSW regions and is a regular on stage at tackle shows and club nights.
Andy’s Top Shore Based Cod Fishing Tips
- Today’s ALF interview complements an article about fishing for cod from the banks of ACT and NSW storages that Andy had published in the May/Jun 2021 edition of Freshwater Fishing Australia. Go check out the mag for even more info on shore based cod fishing!
- Shore-based cod fishing can be hard work and requires plenty of homework and preparation. Just like targeting them from boats, you will find that not every land-based trip is successful, but catching your first metre-plus Murray cod from the bank makes it all worthwhile.
- Unlike river fishing, most lakes and storages in NSW have public access if you are prepared to walk, kayak or boat to your chosen fishing spot. Do plenty of research before you leave home, familiarise yourself with the storage you’ll be fishing and look on maps and Google Earth for spots where cod can be targeted from the bank.
- Lake Burley Griffin, Wyangala, Googong, Burrinjuck and Eildon are all great places to try for cod off the shore, but most lakes will fish well if you spend the time to figure them out.
- Cod can often be found in quite shallow water. Places to look for when targeting cod are areas where water drains into the lake after rain – cod often make these areas their home and can be there even when there is no rainfall runoff. Undulations, cliff faces and boulders are all placed that hold cod too.
- Understand the movement of the sun across the sky and look for areas that get plenty of sun to encourage weed growth. Weed beds hold lots of baitfish, oxygenate the water and provide cover, all of which attract cod.
- Land-based anglers tend to work an area more thoroughly than boaties because it’s not so easy to change locations. This often results in fish being caught that might be missed by boaties. Another advantage to bank fishing is that cod in shallow water less than 10m from the bank are typically there to feed and will take a lure freely. Boaties can often be distracted by inactive fish that show on their sounder and may waste time casting at fish that won’t take a lure.
- Anywhere you find a lot of activity among small carp, redfin, gobies and so on there is likely to be cod. If you find bait, stay there because at some time in the next few hours a cod is likely to come along.
- Whilst big cod come into shallow water very close to shore to feed they also like easy access to escape into deeper water (4-5m). Look at the topography of the bank for indications of whether there is deep water nearby.
- Humid, overcast and warm (for whatever season you’re fishing in) days tend to make cod more active. Barometric pressure seems to be irrelevant, but still, calm conditions don’t fish so well. Andy finds that a south westerly wind of 15-20km often fishes well – wind blowing over weedbeds stirs up the bottom and dislodges food for cod and baitfish. Exposed areas seem to fish better than places that are sheltered from the wind.
- Getting a good hookset is important and can be a challenge, so fish a very heavy drag whilst you’re casting and be ready to back the drag off quickly if you need to.
- A key to shore-based success is to plan where you’re going to land a fish once it’s hooked. Have a game plan, try to anticipate which way the fish might go, how you’ll move on the bank to steer it away from structure and where and how you’ll get it onto the bank.
- Expect that you will lose some lures when you’re fishing for cod from the shore. If you get snagged, try moving around the shore to extract the lure from a different angle. Even with a lure retriever you’ll find it’s often hard to dislodge a snagged lure.
Andy’s Preferred Murray Cod Fishing Tackle
- Andy packs a travel rod as a backup in case his main rod gets broken whilst he’s a long walk from the carpark.
- A light baitcast outfit with 20-30lb braid and 50lb leader, depending on the structure he’s fishing is perfect for this style of fishing. Andy prefers supple, tough mono to fluorocarbon for his leaders.
- You don’t need to drain the bank account to fish for cod from the shore. Andy uses a 5-8kg Rovex Inter and has handled multiple fish over a metre from the shore on this rod.
Andy’s Top Murray Cod Fishing Lures
- A couple of spinnerbaits with willow blades varying from ¼ to 3/4oz, with contrasty colours such as white/purple. The willow blades can be fished a bit faster than the more typical Colorado blades used by most anglers for cod. This can result in reaction strikes and works better from the shore where lures often need to be worked above weedbeds.
- Weedless soft plastics are perfect from the shore. A 4-6” slim profile lure with a good sized paddletail is a good option. There’s no need to fish the massive 10” range when you’re shore based. Andy prefers natural looking colours for his soft plastics and rigs them on weighted worm hooks or unweighted hooks with a size 1 or 2 ball sinker in the loop knot.
- Diving hardbody lures in the 10 to 15cm size range are great. Andy prefers timber lures that float well, sinking and suspending lures are very difficult to work from the shore. If the lure floats too high, add a little bit of adhesive lead weight to the lure to slow the rate at which it floats.
Jarvis Walker Australia have supported Andy for many years and supply a wide range of tackle for all fishing situations. Their brands include the Quantum Smoke rods and reels Andy mentioned, Fin-Nor tackle, Rovex lines, Tsunami lures and plenty more.
Freshwater Fishing Australia
Freshwater Fishing is an Australian magazine published by the Australian Fishing Network group, for whom Andy has been a consistent writer for many years. Episode 166 features an article by Andy on the subject of land-based Murray Cod fishing. be sure to go check it out!