OVER the past few years there have been some seriously big Murray cod caught at Copeton Dam, and the prospect of catching one of these mega cod on a surface lure has really excited Aussie anglers. I recently returned from my maiden trip to the mega cod Mecca and have no doubt I’ll be back. Although I only had one hit, it was everything you could have hoped for; a textbook “boof” and tail slap of a metre-plus fish engulfing a big surface lure. Can it get any better?
The thought of a metre-plus Murray cod on topwater, however, shouldn’t distract you from the reality that is Copeton Dam in winter; it’s brutally cold and you have to be deeply committed to your fishing to reap the rewards. And with such long hours between fish, it’s hard to figure out any sort of fish pattern. Nevertheless, we concentrated our time on favourable low light periods around the dam’s shallow edges and used relatively large (150-250mm) lures, including surface paddlers, wakebaits and hard and soft swimbaits. There were no real stand-out lures. If you put any big lure in front of a cod at Copeton, it’ll eat it! But it’s important to use something you’re confident with and can comfortably cast repeatedly for 4 or 5 hours each session. For that reason, a suitable swimbait style outfit with 30-50lb braid is vital for casting these heavier lures. Staying warm, sharp and focussed is also half of the challenge at Copeton as, like me, you might only get one hit. Make it count!
The bunch I fished with are very keen and highly accomplished anglers with well over a dozen trips to Copeton between them. Collectively, we made about 4,000 casts for a total of six fish between four anglers and two boats – that’s almost 700 casts per fish and we certainly didn’t have a “bad” trip! With huge granite boulders and flanking hills, Copeton Dam is a great place to fish for this iconic freshwater native.