Cod quest continues: Wyangla

WE’D planned to head up to Copeton but my daughter’s dance concert was on the weekend, meaning I had limited time. While chasing metre-plus cod is important, it’s definitely not as important as attending a nine-year-old’s big dancing event!

After discussing the issue with regular fishing mate Ken Smith, we made the call to postpone the Copeton trip and instead head to Wyangla for a couple of days – this suited me fine as it was a four hour drive as opposed to the 8-10 it would take to get up to Copeton.

Ken had fished Wyangla the week before and reported numerous cod (see report HERE). During the drive out west I was feeling confident – hopefully this would be the trip where I’d get my chance at a big Murray cod.

I drove through the sleepy town of Wyangla mid arvo and followed Ken’s mud map to the campsite. After setting up our swags we launched the Fisho CXC 4.3 off the gravel bank and headed towards a steep bank littered with ‘laydown’ trees. Ken had scored well on this bank the previous week and our expectations were high. After an hour of fruitless casting, we were feeling less confident. As I’m fast discovering, native fish species can be extremely finicky – while they’d bitten their heads off the week before, that didn’t mean they were going to do so this week.


 Fisho’s CXC 4.3 project boat is ideal for inland sportfishing. The Merc 60 trolls quietly and efficiently. IMAGE: KEN SMITH

Long story short, we kept at it and amassed a total of 15 cod to 86cm, six yellowbelly and one silver perch over three days of fishing. The fish were definitely shutdown but our persistence paid off. And regardless of the lack of action it’s always good to fish these inland waters – I really enjoy the rugged granite landscape, the skeletal trees lining the steep rock banks, the rolling hills slowly turning purple in the late afternoon gloom. 


There’s plenty of structure to cast at or troll in Wyangla. This bank featured submerged boulders plus trees and logs (image: Ken Smith).

It was interesting to speculate on why the fish weren’t biting. The previous week had been the lead up to the full moon whereas we were fishing the aftermath. Could the lunar cycle influence the feeding habits of the cod? I reckon a trip back to Wyangla to fish the three or four days before the next full is necessary in order to put these theories to the test…

While we had reasonably good weather, one afternoon a front blasted through. We were fishing a run along a rocky bank at the time and it was interesting to note that when the front hit, the fish came on the bite. We got two nice cod (including the 86cm model for Ken) in less than three minutes. As soon as the front passed, the fish again went quiet. It seemed obvious that some sort of barometric spike influenced the fish’s behaviour.

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Jim is slowly working his way up the cod ladder – 60cm fish like this are good practice for when that trophy specimen comes along (image: Ken Smith).

We mixed up techniques between trolling and casting. Many anglers seem to find trolling boring but it’s a great way to cover water. It was interesting to note that when we marked fish mid water we just about always got a hit or hooked up. It was obvious these mid water fish were actively feeding. The DownVision mode on my Raymarine a Series sounders proved extremely handy when searching for both fish and structure. 

The other thing I learnt was the benefit of trolling off my main motor. Previous native fish trolling sessions have been ultra slow troll runs via my MotorGuide electric. But idling along with the Merc 60 four-stroke, constantly knocking it in and out of gear to maintain a speed of between 1.5 and two knots, caught us more fish.

At this speed, the Merc uses about 0.7 litres per hour so it’s pretty efficient – and the great thing about modern four-stroke outboards is that there’s no fumes and minimal noise. I think I’ll be doing a lot more outboard-powered trolling for natives…

As far as lures went, I used a couple of interesting models from a company called Livingston. These are being distributed in the local market by JML and, apart from being well made deep divers with quality terminals, they feature a water activated ‘clicking’ noise and flashing red eyes. Definitely worth an inspection…one of my two Livingstons remains firmly attached to a tree about 20 feet down – doubtless its red eyes are still flashing away…

The other lures that proved effective included the Rapala Taildancer, a slim-bodied diver with a wide wobble that drives to around the 20-foot mark, the venerable Swagman Jumbuck and Edgecrusher spinnerbaits. These lures are made by Simon Taylor in Griffith, NSW, and come highly recommended by many cod experts. I managed to catch my first cod on a spinnerbait using a ¾ oz red and black Edgecrusher. I was also very impressed with the Edgecrusher chatterbaits – those things put out a deadly sonic vibration! I can’t wait to head back out west when the cod are on and cast some Edgecrushers around drowned timber and sunken boulders.

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This ¾ oz red & black Edgecrusher spinnerbait proved effective, catching several quality cod for Jim. One day it might get him a metre-plus model! (image: Ken Smith).

While it’s obvious that a hot bite is always welcome, there’s something to be said for working for your fish. While Ken has a lifetime of experience with cod, I’ve only been fishing for these magnificent natives for a couple of years. Every trip reveals new info and adds to my growing understanding of native fish. In this game you’re always learning and I have to say that I’m enjoying the challenges Murray cod present. All this collective experience will definitely result in that longed for metre-plus fish being all the more rewarding – when it finally comes.

As with all fishing, the key to success on cod depends largely on time on the water. Being based on the coast, this presents a few logistical issues…looks like I’ll continue racking up the miles heading out west!

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 Located near Cowra, Wyangla was previously best known as a trout dam but it now boasts a very healthy native fishery with Murray cod, yellowbelly, silver perch and catfish all being available (image: Ken Smith).




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