Traversing the timber wonderland
Targeting Murray Cod can be quite challenging, especially when it comes to waterways where there a multitude of structure for the fish to hide among, and Nagambie is no exception to that! The tree lined banks that traverse the river arms and litter the lake system can make it difficult in just deciding where to start your pursuit for that mighty Nagambie Murray Cod.
Narrowing Down Your Search
There is general Native fish methodology at play that will assist you in navigating the timber in search of that 80k winning Murray Cod. This thought of mind will not only increase your chance in catching more fish but it will also help you understand why our Native fish act the way they do. A key point to remember is that Murray Cod have eyes positioned at the top of their heads, and this is why they generally ambush their prey from underneath. So, it really does pay to think like a fish and not just blindly cast your lure or bait in hopes for the best! The below highlights some of this this methodology in more detail:
- ensure to cast as close to the structure as possible. I.e. you are simply not getting close enough if you are not getting snagged occasionally;
- ensure to cast upstream working your lures in the natural river current flow;
- allow your lure to sink in accordance to the depth of water you are fishing. A general rule is that you run your lure 1-2 meters off the bottom, especially when casting the slower moving slack water; cast your lure on the back side of the structure away from the main river flow (the slack water), as Murray Cod will naturally position themselves out of the main river flow to conserve energy. This couples as the great ambush spot for Murray Cod as the bait-fish will also navigate this area for a rest at times, so it is a win win or the Murray Cod and us anglers.
Choose a lure that caters to the situation at hand to allow you to fish the conditions more effectively. I will use spinnerbaits as an example – if the river is high and the flow is strong, I would tend to lean towards using a single arm spinnerbait coupled with blades that will assist in cutting through the water more efficiently. An example of this is fishing a spinnerbait with single or double willow style blades, or a tandem bladed setup that consists of one colorado style blade on the bottom and willow style on the top. incorporating a heavier weighted spinnerbait will also assist in the stronger flow, by allowing the lure to sink faster and deeper into the water column, and in turn presenting your lure to more fish.
In the slower flow, presenting lures with more drag such as double bladed colorado spinnerbaits on a single or double arm setup is a great option. This setup allows you to fish much slower and hang the lure in the fish’s face for longer periods to help induce that strike. Incorporating pauses or twitches in this situation can really bolster your chances in getting a hit or a second hit from that fish. Also, the rounder blades of the double coloardo setups send a lot of vibration in the water column to draw more fish in from further away. An added bonus is that the blades tend to helicopter and sink slower than other configurations and tends to also capture many fish on the drop, so be prepared to strike. This slower style of presentation is also effective in the flooded lake systems, that in the most part does not deal with a lot of flow.
Lure Colour Choice
A good starting method in selecting lure colours, is to match the prey in the system you are fishing. If the water is clear, think about selecting a lure colour that resembles more of a natural prey, and if dirty go with darker lures that cast more of a shadow in the sunlight (with the exception being whites as they stand out well in the dirtier waters). Although, having a few bright elaborate colour choices in your tackle-box can pay dividends, especially when the fish are on the chew and active. Some of my favourite fluorescent colours are chartreuse, pink and orange.
Presenting lures with more drag is a good option in the slower flow, such as double colorado bladed spinnerbaits in either a single or double arm setup. This setup allows you to fish much slower and hang the lure in the fish’s face for longer periods to help reduce that strike. Incorporating pauses or twitches in this situation can really bolster your chances in getting a hit, or a second return hit from a that fish. The rounder blades of the double coloardo setups also sends a lot of vibration in the water column, and this further assists in drawing a fish from further away. Also, an added bonus is that these blades tend to helicopter and sink slower than other configurations and this tends capture many fish on the drop, so be prepared for that Strike!
Getting Techy with Active Target
In recent times, nothing has seemed to evolve more in the fishing scene quite like fishing electronics, especially in the way of live sonar! I am going to take you back in time to my first instance using Lowrance’s new Live sonar system ‘Active Target’, while walking you through its key features, and how it has positively impacted my Murray Cod fishing.
Quite often, the higher level of technology equates to the higher level of understanding needed to operate the technology! However, what really jumped out to me from the get go was Active Target’s menu simplicity and the ‘plug in and play’ system. The key point is that I was not overwhelmed with settings to adjust, and that’s because one of Lowrance’s primary areas of focus was to design the easiest live sonar system for the everyday fisher-person to use. Lowrance not only has hit the nail on the head with Active Target’s intuitive functionality and navigation menu, but the clarity and definition of the imagery really hit it out of the park for me! Lowrance has engineered Active Target to be at the forefront in clarity and definition, and this definition and clarity spans from the fish to the all-important structure hide in.
As mentioned, Nagambie is littered with copious amounts of timber and this form of hard structure is where Active Target really shines! Below are screenshot examples of the same tree in both forward and down views. This showcases the clarity and definition that Active Target gives in and among structure itself, but also indicates the shadow lines and bottom break up. The first image is in forward mode shooting out 20 meters in front and the second is in down view shooting down 10 meters in depth.
The below screenshot identifies 3 big Golden Perch that are awaiting the arrival of a school of Redfin Perch 14-20 meters away, that are encroaching on their ambush point.
The below screenshot highlights the definition and clarity break up of a very large school of Redfin that were ranging from 10cm-25cm in length and hanging off a 6-meter-tall tree. You can literally count the fish individually and this even apparent with very small fish.
In short, the bigger the fish the more defined and detailed readings you get with Active Target. You will notice a lot more detail and breakup in the fins, tail and body movements (sway) of the fish. These two screenshots clearly identify the pectoral fins (front fin underneath the belly) of these two extremely large meter plus Murray Cod.
The below screenshots demonstrates the penetration Active Target gives you in dense tree structure. The first screenshot shows a big Golden Perch holding next to a tree directly below the boat, as well as slender trees in the distance between the 5-meter mark and 21-meter mark. Even at distance, these spindly branches are well defined.
This screenshot again shows penetration and also the crisp clarity of being clumped up structure.
In conclusion, Active Target enhanced the way I fish by giving me the ability to not only confirm the methodology mentioned in this blog, along with a host more on water scenarios, but it has also allowed me to learn a heap more about our mysterious Murray Cod. Another big take away is seeing the fish activity happening around you, and that in itself has been more valuable to me than actually catching a fish. We often talk about tools in fishing and what Active Target is for me is just that, another tool to my arsenal that allows me further delve into the magic world of our Murray Cod.
By Romen Dicovski from Roaming Productions – Australia