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EXPLORING COD COUNTRY

By Erinn Ball

For the past couple of years, I have been dreaming of chasing the all-mighty Murray cod in the gorges of the Severn River and recently I had the opportunity to fulfil my dream. For weeks leading up to the trip I had been busy talking with a property owner in the SEQ (southeast Queensland) region regarding access to his property to fish some incredible looking water holes I found via searching Google Maps and NearMap.

Property owner Ben was more than happy to allow Guy Struthers and myself access to the property, which meant we had a 3.5 hour trip each way ahead of us, and oh yes... this was just going to be a day trip. To say that this trip was awesome is an understatement. We had rain, pig hunting dogs, 4WDing, surface cod action and incredible scenery.

Arriving at the property mid-morning we wasted no time and began walking the banks casting lures into any structure that we could find... and WOW, was there a lot of it! This was the kind of structure that loves to steal your lures and not give them back. As we had to walk quite a distance in difficult terrain I packed quite lightly. I took a selection of ZMan soft plastics, including ZMan 6" Pop FrogZ, ZMan 4" Hard Leg FrogZ, TT Lures ChinlockZ jigheads in 4/0 and 6/0 size and Striker Spinnerbaits in various weights and colours, with 1oz being the heaviest.

After an hour of fishing and hiking through the thickest scrub imaginable, we came up empty handed and so we returned to the car where Ben had left us a two-person canoe to borrow. Heading upstream in the canoe, I fished a 1oz Striker spinnerbait in Purple Blue Scale colour and immediately received two thumping cod hits that came as I ran the lure past a fallen tree, in the middle of the small rocky gorge. Unfortunately I missed both of the hits due to my lack of attention.

With the storm clouds rolling in over the mountain range, we had to start heading back downstream towards the car, but not before we threw a few casts at some impressive overhanging trees. Guy slowed the canoe down so that I could get a skip cast in under a tree. With a slight pause of the lure I happened to yell "THIS SNAG HAS TO HOLD A COD!" and then with an almighty BOOF I was hooked up to my first cod, which also happened to be off the surface. After a short tussle the cod was in my grasp and ripping the buggery out of my thumb. After a couple of quick happy snaps the cod was back in the water and ready to fight another day.

Within casting distance of the car it was Guy's turn. He opted to fish a 3/8oz Striker spinnerbait in Chartreuse / Blue / Green Scale colour. Guy also had never caught a Murray cod. He threw the perfect cast into a back eddy in the creek and was monstered not once or twice, but four times in the one retrieve, unfortunately missing all of the hits...

We continued downstream, through some impressive country, where Guy stepped up and hooked up to his first cod, which also fell victim to fast retrieved surface lure. The fish came in at 60cm and Guy couldn't wipe the grin off his face. Throughout the afternoon he managed to land another two impressive surface cod.

Tackle

When fishing remote areas I like to take two combos with me, just in case I have a failure with one of them. As I was going to be predominately fishing surface lures, I chose to take rods that where in the 6'8" range. When surface fishing I like to use a rod that is quite long as I find that I can implement action into the lure easier. I also like to use a longer rod as I am able to cast further, which is great when I am trying to cast to the other side of large pools. As I had never fished for cod before I was a little unsure of what weight combos I should take, deciding on a medium weight combo that was an 8-14lb fast action 6'8" casting rod and a 10-20lb fast action 6'8" casting rod. One rod was loaded with 18lb braid and the other was loaded with 30lb braid. I also ran a rod length of 30lb leader to each set up, connected via an FG Knot with a Rizutto finish.

For me the trip wasn't only about the fishing, but more so about the adventure. I went into this trip with very little knowledge regarding the location and terrain that we would be walking/canoeing through, which made it more exciting. We both set ourselves an achievable goal of at least landing just ONE, 'first' cod, so when we ended the day with a combined total of 4 fish, it made the long drive completely worth it. I would like to say a special thankyou to Ben for being so kind and allowing two total strangers full access to his property.

If you are wanting to follow my adventures, fishing for species such as bass, bream, barramundi, marlin and dolphinfish, to name a few, be sure to like my Facebook page

Erinn Ball - Girls Fish Too.

www.facebook.com/Erinn-Ball-Girls-Fish-Too-1402456606749390/

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FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2017