I Remember The Day

I VIVIDLY remember catching my largest ever Murray cod … after all, it happened just a few days ago!

I was fishing with my kids in the Great Carp Catch competition, an annual event designed to help rid Lake Tuggeranong (in south Canberra) of pesky carp and redfin.

Lake Tuggeranong is your typical urban waterway. It’s quite small and shallow and, unfortunately, littered with discarded shopping trollies, broken bicycles and other refuse.

It’s certainly not the place where you expect to catch the Murray cod of a lifetime – but this fish didn’t read the script.

Fishing with corn kernels as bait on four-pound braid, my rig had been in the water only a few minutes when the rod buckled and the drag screamed as a big fish made a long run.

“This must be the mother of all carp,” I said to myself as I struggled to gain any line. “Hey, I might just have a chance of winning this comp!”

After about 10 minutes, the fish broke the surface about 15 metres from the shore. “That’s an odd looking carp,” I thought, as the fish made another strong run into deep water.

Ten minutes later the fish was again close to shore and, this time, there was no mistaking its identity – a big, fat, angry cod! At this stage, I was getting a little nervous as the four-pound braid sung in the breeze.

My mate had a landing net he uses for trout and small flathead. We both jumped into the shin-deep water and followed the big fish around for a few more minutes, dodging shopping trollies and McDonald’s wrappers in the process. Somehow we finally got the fish – or part of it – in the net and hauled it safely ashore.

A crowd had gathered around us as we quickly photographed the fish and carefully released it. I don’t think any of us could quite believe that such a magnificent fish lived in such a tiny, dirty waterway.

At about 20kg and around a metre long, it was by far my best ever cod and certainly a surprise catch on a tiny corn kernel and a whiting hook.

And just for the record, we didn’t manage to catch a single carp or redfin all day! Go figure.


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