By Toby Grundy
In my last blog I listed 5 lures which catch a lot of Goldens. I also offered a few hints on how to fish them. In this article, I'll break down a few of the best retrieves to use when chasing Yellowbelly in Canberra using these lures.
I think the best thing to do with the ZX Blade is to simplify. Back to basics is best. So, for Spring Goldens, all I do is find a healthy stretch of weed, cast the ZX into the thick of it and wind the lure back to my position at a medium pace. In this way I keep the lure out of the weed and the lure also creates a lot of vibration when retrieved at this speed. Sometimes, I'll insert a lengthy pause into this retrieve allowing the lure to sink into the weed. On the way down, insert a few twitches into the rod tip (this is a common technique used by Bream anglers and has been around for a long time). If you don't get a strike, start winding again at a medium pace.
I recommend using a silent Jackall TN 60 during early Spring when fishing the shallower areas as the Goldens hunting in this area are already active and seem eager to hit a more subtle presentation. A rattling TN is fine for the deeper water. I recommend retrieving the TN slowly in early Spring but as the weather warms, steadily increasing the retrieve speed. On a standard retrieve I'll insert 3-4 pauses but they are usually short. I don't insert a lot of hops or twitches. I rely on colour and winding consistently while allowing for short pauses.
The GR Squirt is a 'crash diver' and therefore the retrieve should aim to get the best out of this design. Cast the lure tight up against structure and then crank the reel handle two or three times really hard to get the lure moving quickly towards the bottom. Follow these three cranks with a long pause. The fish will be holding in the structure and will have a look at the lure on the first few cranks but not always strike. With this method, the lure is in the strike zone for a long period and has done two very different things: dive quickly and then float slowly up. If the fish doesn't want the lure diving, it may take it on the way back up.
The Squidgie Wriggler is all about waist to shoulder and back again. I start with the rod tip at waist position after the cast and twitch the lure twice as I move the rod tip up to my shoulder. Then once I reach my shoulder, I wind in the slack (the pause) and repeat the process. These twitches are sharp and pronounced. It is a really simple but very effective retrieve that works in almost any situation.
Berkley Gulp Minnows require nothing more than a slow roll over rocky areas to bring the fish on the bite. But the 3-12 retrieve works well too as does a slow roll coupled with a pause like a TN. However, I do like using a 'ripped retrieve' when the fish are on the bite as the take can be incredibly powerful. Let the lure sink to the bottom and then rip your rod tip from from your feet to your waist (6-3 O'clock). Let the lure sink back down and allow for some slack in your line. Watch the slack carefully though as the fish strike as it drops.
There is no one retrieve that is going to consistently produce and the five I have discussed in article, though effective aren't the only retrieves I use. I recommend trying a few out and seeing what works or even mixing a few together. The trick is to keep trying new things to improve your fishing.
By Toby Grundy
During Cod close, Yellowbelly become the focus and early Spring is the prime time to target big Golden footballs on light gear. Outlined below are some of the best lures to use when chasing Goldens over the next few months.
The Ecogear ZX Blade 40 is one of the best lures I've used in recent years and has accounted for good numbers of Goldens for the CF Team, even during the winter months. This is an adaptable lure because it can be used in a variety of situations and when using a variety of retrieves.
One of my favorite methods (using the ZX) is to gently twitch the lure as it sits on the bottom. It isn't really a retrieve but instead just enough of a twitch so as to get the assist hooks moving like yabby claws. I'll discuss this technique further in my next blog.
The Jackall TN 60 has to be one of the most consistent produces of good sized Goldens in Canberra. Like the ZX Blade, it is adaptable so can be fished quickly along the top of the water column, slow rolled deep or even slowly lifted along steep structure. Last year, Jackall released two new colours: Black King Gill and the Teo Shad. Black King Gill is perfect for deep water situations while the Teo Shad works well when retrieved close to the surface.
Troy Erland, owner/operator of GR Lures, makes the 'Squirt' a 60mm diver that produces the goods in all of Canberra's local lakes but is particularly effective in Lake Burley Griffin. It is a favourite amongst Canberra's tournament fisherman and has accounted for some big fish. They are the perfect lure to use when working the middle of the water column and 'Red Belly' is a great colour to use when casting around the bridge pylons at LBG. GR Lures tend to get snapped up fast so it is worth contacting GR Lures on Facebook to find out when the next batch is coming.
The Squidgie Wriggler 80mm in Redrum has to be one of the most effective Yellowbelly lures I have ever used. I'm not sure what the fish think it mimics (a small Goldfish, tadpole or a Mosquito Fish) but it produces even when the fish are shut down, making it a great lure to use when the water is still cold. Insert a lot of long pauses into a 'twitch' style retrieve for best results and use a lot of Bloodworm scent on the lure to bring the fish to your location.
Berkley Gulp is another favorite among Canberra anglers and the 8cm Minnow Grub in black is the pick of the sizes and colours. I have been in situations where the fish are completely shut down and it is the only lure which will tempt them to bite. The minnow is a fantastic plastic because the action is so pronounced and therefore the angler need only retrieve the lure slowly and the fish will hit it. That said, it can be worked by lifting the rod tip quickly and then allowing the lure to sink again.
Whether fishing from a kayak, boat, or flicking from the bank these five lures will give you the best chance of catching a big Golden over the next few months. All of these lures can be adapted to a variety of situations and all have caught good fish for myself and the rest of the CF Team.
By Toby Grundy
Fat Yella Spinnerbaits are a bit different. This became clear within the first five minutes of speaking with owner/operator Jo Hancox. For a start, Jo didn't create the business to make money, doesn't keep track of how many he sells and he isn't remotely interested in building a profile in the industry. In fact, Jo started Fat Yella because he got tired of losing spinnerbaits to snags and the cost involved, so decided to make his own. Then there is the name, again, something different but they really do live up to their name (see the massive Golden Perch below).
Fat Yella Spinnerbaits are built for chasing massive Goodoo. Yes, they still catch the smaller specimens but Jo makes big lures for big fish. Remakably, huge Yellowbelly also love Jo's lures and his spinnerbaits are widely regarded as the best lure to use when chasing trophy Yellas in the Googong. Very few other makers can claim to have achieved such success on both Golden Perch and Murray Cod.
As I have previously said, Jo's spinnerbait business is different. He has no real colour base and instead leaves it up to the customer to decide. He can create any colour combination the customer wants on the head of the lure and prides himself on providing over 120 different skirt choices. The customer also picks the grub dangling on the end which can include anything up to a massive Bozo Grub.
Jo's lures are tested by two of the best Cod anglers in the ACT one of whom happens to be Jo's brother (Sam Hancox, the other James McCubbin). These two are behind some of Jo's more bizarre creations, but it is these spinnerbaits that have been producing the goods this season with Jo's lures accounting for big numbers of Cod well over the magic metre mark.
Jo likes to encourage young anglers and is more than happy to teach young fishos about which lure to chose and how to work it effectively to maximise success. Jo treats others how he wants to be treated and this extends to his delivery time which is always under a week.
Fat Yella do not sponsor any anglers (even Jo's brother) because Jo doesn't want anyone to feel like they have to throw his lures and ignore another type of lure.
Jo makes lures which give anglers the best chance of landing that once in a lifetime fish. So, if you want to get your hands on a few, check out the Facebook link given below.
By Toby Grundy
Skeleton Spinnerbaits is a local Canberra company that began in July 2015. It started with Rob Black and Luke Rhodes who decided to make spinnerbaits after failing to find spinnerbaits that suited their fishing needs. Skeleton Spinnerbaits delivered instant success with a number of metre plus fish coming to the net and the company grew from there.
Skeleton Spinnerbaits customise each spinnerbait to suit the client and specialise in large spinnerbaits for big fish (although smaller fish hit these massive lures too!). Each lure is fitted with silicon skirts which are beefed up with .52 wire frames and Owner Hooks. Then, each grub is equipped with two hooks to ensure that if a big fish misses the first hook, the stinger will still stick.
These custom spinnerbaits are a competition winning lure with Ryan Osman taking out the Greg Whitehead Challenge last year using a Skeleton Spinnerbait which he asked the boys to design. This 100cm fish helped cement Skeleton as one of the best big Cod lures on the market.
These spinnerbaits can be built for either rivers or lakes and can be fished fast or slow depending on the anglers preference. Rob tends to fish rivers and believes the willow bladed skeletons to be best for his fast water fishing while the colorado bladed Skeletons work best when slow rolled in lakes and large pools where the water is not flowing too quickly.
Currently, there are 16 colours in the range that can be mixed and matched and these colours have been chosen by Luke and Rob because they work well in Canberra's rivers and lakes. The Mardi Gras coloured spinnerbait is a particular favorite with local anglers who fish the Googong and Burrinjuck.
The aim of Skeleton is to produce lures which are capable of handling very large fish. Some spinnerbaits buckle under the pressure from big fish but Skeleton are built using the toughest components sourced from around the world and so can be used over and over again.
To date, over a dozen metre fish have been landed using Skeleton Spinnerbaits and countless 80cm and 90cm plus fish. None of these fish have managed to destroy one of Rob's and Luke's lures.
Skeleton have no intention of expanding beyond their online business. Rob and Luke want to keep the business as is; building custom lures for Cod fisherman who are keen to connect with massive Goodoo in and around the ACT.
If you are interested in checking out the Skeleton range or any of the merchandise, you can have a look at the website which is listed below.
By Toby Grundy
I avoid my local rivers during Cod closed season, from September 1st through to December 1st even to cast small plastics or divers for Goldens. I just don't want to risk hooking into a beast during their spawn. So, by the time I get to make that first cast into my local river on December 1, I'm well and truly having Greenfish withdrawals.
I like to target the first Cod of the season off the top or in the first metre of water. I like to watch them chase my lures and I like to get reacquainted with their strike because it helps me adjust to the big game after months on the bench. Fishing this part of the water column also gives me the opportunity to try new things.
The Usual Suspects
The Cod, for the most part, have finished their spawning activities by the start of December and are obviously incredibly hungry. This means that they are a prime target for a fisherman looking to work the first metre or so of the water column as they will often chase down surface offering from 10 or more metres away. Choosing the right lure for this situation is half the battle and there are a few that feature prominently when I start casting.
Noise plays an important role in getting the Cod to strike, the sound works them into a frenzy and in my opinion, the Evergreen Timber Flash (wake bait) produces one of the best noises as it is retrieved. When slowly rolled back, the snake-like motion of the lure coupled with the noise it produces makes it irresistible to Cod. Though this lure is expensive, it is well worth the outlay.
Water displacement is as important as noise. The Cod will seek out surface disturbance and all surface lures are designed to produce a bubble trail and a significant 'wake' so they can be found quickly. However some lures are better than others at achieving this outcome. The Kingfisher Mantis is a cheap and popular surface lure which does produce an excellent bubble trail and wake. It is also very hardy and is able to cope with a lot of abuse at the mouths of greedy Greenfish.
Baiting the Beasts
Swim baits are a relatively new concept in Cod fishing. Some anglers will argue that this method has been around a while but most Cod fisherman are only now coming around to surface let alone swim baits. This form of fishing is producing some outstanding results, especially at the start of the season when Cod are willing to smash lures near the top.
A swim bait is a relatively light lure for its size and so takes an eternity to sink. Therefore, it is suited to situations where a lure can be retrieved near the surface. It is a great lure for working through snags and is jointed, so produces a profound action. This action drives the Cod crazy.Some of the most aggressive hits and hook ups I have ever experienced have come while working this lure.
There are a number of swim baits on the market but the Jackall Gantrel and the Evergreen TS Flat are two of the stand-out offerings. Again, these lures aren't cheap but I haven't lost a swim bait to date, this is largely because I don't work them too deep.
Surface lures are fantastic as most of the work is done by the lure as it is retrieved. Provided you use the right lure, it will produce an action and loud sound which will bring the Cod to your position. However surface lures and wake baits like the Timber Flash benefit from a few extra elements inserted into the retrieve.
When retrieving a surface lure, ensure that after the first few winds you allow a pause where the lure remains stationary for 5-10 seconds. Often Murray Cod will follow a lure, chasing it from their territory but if it thinks that the lure will hang around, it will strike at it in an attempt to remove it from their lair.
Also, a quick 'rip' along the surface can encourage a strike. To do this, simply wind up the slack on your line and once the line is taught, lift your rod tip quickly from waste height to just past your shoulder. On the whole, slowly retrieving a surface lure is more than enough but sometimes 'ripping' a lure along the surface gives the Cod only seconds to think about the lure and more often than not, they will hit as the lure speeds along the surface.
Swim baits, like surface lures do a lot of the work on their own and are designed to 'swim' in the water column with the aid of the current. That said, it is important to work the lure very slowly and with the occasional gentle lift. Many anglers retrieve this type of lure far too quickly and so remove much of the exaggerated movement of the lure. It is built to drift and should be given time to perform to its maximum potential.
Look for submerged timber, rocky banks leading into the water or even islands of rock in a river or Lake. These are the types of areas which fish favour during the opening few weeks of Cod season. The best places to target are those which give the fish ambush cover.
Big Murray Cod require strong gear but sometimes even the strongest gear is not enough. If a really large specimen decides to strike, occasionally, no matter what gear is used, the fish will win. However, there are rods and reels which are better than others for this type of fishing and will give you a greater chance of landing a big fish.
I use a Daiwa Coastal medium/heavy bait caster rod matched to a Daiwa Millionaire 103 CV-X barrel style reel. This rod has 'stripper' guides which are over-sized guides designed to allow for a larger leader knot to pass through without getting wrapped. This is a powerful rod but can still cast smaller surface offerings. I use the Millionaire reel because of the retrieve ratio. I like to use a reel with a 5.8:1 as these lures benefit from being worked slowly.
I run 20 pound braid and 30 pound leader and though some anglers would consider this light, as long as it is quality leader and braid, it can stop really large fish. Plus, the lighter you go, the more strikes you will get.
Cod opening presents a great opportunity to start on top. It can be some of the most exciting freshwater fishing an angler can experience with some truly memorable captures coming to the net. Swim baits, wake baits and other surface lures worked slowly will give you the greatest chance of connecting with a beast come December 1.
By Toby Grundy
GR Lures started as Golden Retriever Spinnerbaits. Troy Erland began crafting Yellowbelly spinnerbaits in his spare time and these lures became very popular. Golden Retriever Spinnerbaits have achieved cult status amongst the local anglers and if you do see one, grab it as they are a phenomenal lure for working up the resident Golden Perch. However, Troy started to develop an interest in surface lures during this time and soon found that his passion lay in designing, carving and producing hard body lures.
Troy shortened the Golden Retriever name to GR in September last year and produced his first few batches of of the Squirt (60), the Killswitch (80) and the Hustler (120) which are effective on a variety of species from Trout to Murray Cod.
All of Troy's lures are made from Jelutong and Western Red Cedar; he proxy seals the wood first to ensure that there is no swelling and he cuts the bibs himself. Also, Troy individually tests every lure he produces to ensure each lure swims perfectly.
Currently, Troy produces 700 units a year in 10 different colours. However, Troy introduces a new colour into each batch with 'Tequila' being his latest and greatest creation and a favourite of Capital Fisho.
The buoyancy of these lures really suit Canberra's lakes where snags can be a problem and the high visibility of some of Troy's unique colours really suit the murky, discoloured water of impoundments like Lake Burley Griffin.
GR Lures is involved in a number of charities including 'Lures for Cures' where lure makers produce one off pieces which are sold at auction with all proceeds going to help the Garvan Institute solve some very complex diseases. GR also sponsor Canberra Fishing Tackle Buy, Swap, Sell which is a great local Facebook page.
Troy's lures are a good trolling lure but are also an excellent casting lure. GR Lures benefit from a 'Stop, Pause, Twitch' retrieve which is incredibly effective on the local natives.
Retrieve: give the GR three quick hard cranks to get it swimming at the correct depth and then slow the retrieve right down. After a few winds stop, pause the lure for a moment and then twitch the lure as you would a soft plastic. The Redfin, Perch and Cod will hit as the lure is twitched up through the water column.
Troy is working on a line of surface lures and wake baits and has just released a line of hoodies. He is also headed up to the Lure and Fly Expo next year where his brand will no doubt continue to grow.
If you want to check out the GR range, head to Wheelers Fishing in Queanbeyan.
By Toby Grundy
Redfin and Yellowbelly form the focus of my freshwater fishing from September 1st through to December 1st. Not only because it is closed season for Cod but also because both Redfin and Golden Perch are a lot of fun to catch during this time.
The winter months are lean months for Yellowbelly and Redfin. Yes, they get to eat the odd meal but overall the food they like to eat like Yabbies, small fish, insect larvae and shrimp disappear so they live off their fat reserves. Once Spring rolls around, the insects hatch, the crustaceans reappear and the fish feed again. These two freshwater species know when the food is out and once the whole system has woken up, there isn’t much you can’t put in their face that they won’t hit.
However, the bigger specimens can be a little harder to catch. The goliath Golden Perch and the larger Redfin are more tricky, especially at the start of Spring. So here are a few tips to aid you when chasing the beasts in Canberra’s local lakes during this coming Spring.
Check the weather
This is an oldie but it is important. If you want to connect with a big Golden or a really big Redfin the barometric pressure has to be high and building towards a storm. Also, a lot of fisherman will be put off by wind on the lake but I like it. Some of the biggest Golden Perch I have pulled from Lake Burley Griffin or Lake Ginninderra have been during really windy days as a storm was building.
Work the weed beds
I don’t look for deep water in spring. The big fish I have caught have been cruising the margins of the shallow weed feeding on yabbies and shrimp or chasing schools of smaller Redfin and insect larvae into the weed bed.
Look for weed beds in 2-5 foot of water, these weeds beds should be about five to ten metres long and two or so metres wide. If you are fishing from the bank, it is important that you are able to cast at the weed bed but when retrieving you never have to move your lure directly through the weed but instead, parallel to it.
The big fish are going to be cruising along the edges of the weed, or sitting just inside it waiting for a shoal of small fish to swim past and so by ensuring your offering is always (just) out in the open, you will maximise the chance of a strike.
If you really want a big Redfin this Spring try plastics and lipless lures. Yes, if you come across a school of Redfin you will catch a lot of Redfin on a hardbody lure and sometimes you will catch a big fish on a Spinnerbait or deep diver but the bigger specimens respond really well to finesse techniques and this means life like offerings. Plastics are about as life like as it gets and these lures perfectly mimic the food swimming around the water during Spring. Likewise, lipless lures work in much the same way as they dart about like a wounded bait fish which forms part of a large Redfin's diet. For Canberra, I’m a big fan of anything red or gold but a Squidgie Red Rum is a personal favourite as is the Jackpot soft vibe. I also really like the Jackall TN 60 in the ‘Norbs’ colouration.
Vibes for Goldens
There will have been dozens before you who have punished the weed bed you are casting at with all manner of divers, of that you can be certain. But, not every section of Canberra’s lakes have been worked with lipless offerings and in some parts, to some fish, it is a completely new concept. I spent the majority of winter casting vibes for Goldens and caught plenty of good fish but it is in spring when these types of lures really come into their own. The tight sway gives the lure a ‘fleeing’ effect in the water and because you can control the depth, it is perfect for fishing shallow weed beds. I use a variety of different vibes for targeting Goldens in the local lakes but my favourites are the Jackpot soft vibe, the Jackall Doozer and the Berkley Powerblade.
Retrieve: Allow the lure to sink to the bottom and then lower the rod tip to your feet and wind up the slack. Lift the rod tip at a medium pace from your feet to just past your ear (the fish will hit on the lift) and then lower it to waist height and wind in the slack. Slowly wind in the lure being careful to ensure you maintain the action of the lure.
This is about having fun. It’s about big fish running into structure on finesse gear. I use a light spin stick matched to a 2000 size reel with six pound braid and eight pound fluorocarbon trace. You want to make sure if you go this light that the outfit is quality and the drag is 5kg plus as the first run from 60cm Golden can be a cracker.
It is also worth investing in a decent pair or Polaroids if you do want to connect with some bigger than average Redfin and Yellowbelly during Spring. The difference between seeing the top of the weed and the whole weed bed can make a huge difference when figuring out where to cast. I use Spotters and can’t fault them.
Lake Burley Griffin
Try Scrivener Dam. There are two excellent weeds beds on either side of the wall within casting distance.
There are also some wonderful weed beds around Black Mountain Peninsula that hold good fish.
There are two significant weed beds within casting distance of the police jetty that always produce good fish. Dawn and dusk are best.
The weed beds around Diddams Close are also a fantastic place to cast for Redfin and Golden Perch especially off the point near the playground.
A small weed bed sits between the two islands at Greenway. This fertile fishing ground can be hit on the cast with a Jackall from the bank and provides outstanding fishing.
The Goldens and the Reddies fire up in Spring and they keep the majority of us entertained right through until December 1st. However, the really big ones, the 60cm Yellas and those big 40cm plus Redfin, can be a little bit harder find. What I suggest is keep an eye on the barometric pressure, head to big weed bed, chuck out a softvibe, and see if you can’t connect with a beast.
By Toby Grundy
Gobsmacked lures started out of necessity. As a young fisho, Jaime Judd couldn’t afford all of the latest and greatest lures so he started tinkering. His early designs caught fish and from there he started to think about a career in lure design.
Jaime’s first foray into professional lure making centred on spinnerbaits and soft plastics and though these lures were excellent and highly sought after, Jaime’s interests lay elsewhere and he quickly changed his focus to hard body lures.
Last year was a breakthrough year for Gobsmacked with Jaime’s Buzz Bug winning Australian Lure of the Year 2014 (voted by other lure makers) because of an innovative design which involves two buzz props. The Bass find these little crackers irresistible.
There are three different sized divers in the Gobsmacked range designed to target Bass, Yellowbelly, Redfin and Murray Cod.
The Frog Walker (a surface offering) comes in three sizes (50, 60, 80) and is an excellent lure for chasing Murray Cod and Bass on the surface.
The Rattlesnake Walker (another surface lure) is great option for Murray Cod and Bass and comes in 80 and 100 sizes.
And last but not least, the Buzz Bug comes in 50, 60 and 80mm sizes.
All Gobsmacked lures are made with a mix of Jelutong and Western Red Cedar and are finished with Shinto hooks and Worth split rings.
Currently Gobsmacked move almost 7,000 lures a year.
Jamie has a few ideas on the best way to work his surface lures. Jaime casts his Rattlesnake Walker out and waits. He waits until all the rings of water have disappeared and then he gives the lure three quick rips. Then Jaime winds the lure back in very slowly with the occasional pause added. Gobsmacked lures create a wonderful bubble trail and by using this method of retrieve, Jaime maximises the effect of the bubble trail.
Gobsmacked sponsor two locally based anglers in Matty Tyler and Patrick Roberts. These two anglers test out Jaime’s latest and greatest offerings and represent the brand at competition level.
Gobsmacked also sponsor the Mulwala Cod Classic and the Burrendong Classic. Jaime gives hundreds and hundreds of dollars’ worth of lures and tackle boxes to these events and has been a firm supporter of these events for many many years.
Gobsmacked also give to several fishing clubs and to the Queensland Rural Fire Service.
In September, Jaime will be sponsoring Pride of Perch which is a local competition run by Canberra on the Water (check out their facebook page) and some other local competitions in the new year.
I was lucky enough to check out Jaime’s latest creation- a new diver. He always has something interesting in the works and the new lure will be released at the Queensland Lure Expo later in the year. This lure is sure to be a big success on the local Yellas and I can’t wait to get my hands on a few.
Jaime is also looking to expand but only if he can keep making his lures in wood.
If you would like to check out Gobsmacked Lures, you can find out everything you need to know here: http://gobsmackedlures.com.au/
By Toby Grundy
Last Cast Spinnerbaits is a local Canberra company started by Adam Le Dieu in October 2014 after injury curtailed his promising pro BMX career. Though Adam only started the company late last year, his spinnerbaits have already become a highly sought after lure because of their unique design and ability to catch good fish. Currently, Last Cast move over 100 units of stock per week both in stores and through custom orders. Last Cast also have a significant profile in Victoria. In fact 80% of Last Cast sales come from this region.
The Last Cast range has twelve colour bases and come in over 150 different colours and 13 different sizes. The blades for each spinnerbait are individually hand painted by Adam with the ‘Redfin’ Pattern being one of the best colours to use when fishing Canberra’s local rivers and lakes.
Adam also reckons that purple is a great colour to use and moves more purple lures than any other colour type.
Adam only uses spinnerbaits. He believes that anywhere that can be fished with a hardbody or lipless bait can be fished with a spinnerbait. So you know that when you buy a Last Cast Spinnerbait it has been tested by Adam in all sorts of different scenarios.
All Last Cast Spinnerbaits come with Mustad hooks and the paints are sourced from the US.
Last Cast Spinnerbaits are best worked slow to maximise the effect of the painted blades. Adam crawls his offerings back to his position and ensures he does not start the retrieve until the spinnerbait has stopped descending through the water column. A lot of good fish are taken on the drop.
Interestingly, while fishing with Adam in the middle of winter, I witnessed the effectiveness of this slow retrieve as he was able to spin up a good cod despite the freezing conditions.
Adam gives away stacks of lures every month in the form of online giveaways to raise money for charity. Though the business is still in its infancy, Adam is a firm believer in giving back to community and will readily get involved all manner of programs to aid others.
Adam has a lot on the go. Last Cast will be taking part in the Queensland Lure Fishing Expo along with other local industry heavy weights. Further, Adam is also working on a timber surface lure for targeting Murray Cod. He told me about his design and it could be a game changer!
Last Cast was started months ago but is already considered a lure company to watch in 2015 and has already won balded lure of the year 2015 at the Australian lure and Fly Expo. The range is superb and if you can’t find what you want, Adam will customise your order. He also welcomes visitors to his workshop where you can watch him make his masterpieces.
Last Cast Spinnerbaits are available at Wheelers Fishing and Outdoors Queanbeyan as well as through the Facebook Page.
By Dane Osman
In my last article, I listed five lures that are easy to use and, if used correctly, will catch Murray Cod. These lures were the Oar-gee Plow, Skeleton single and twin spin spinnerbaits, Kingfisher Mantis and Jackall Doozer. I selected these lures because they cover the four most common styles of lure used to target big natives – diving hard body, surface lure, spinnerbait and lipless crankbait.
On some days, if you’re in the right spot, catching fish can be as easy as casting the lure out and slowly rolling it in (basically letting the natural action of the lure do the work). But, on those slower days, when the fish are shut down and feeling a bit lethargic, there are certain retrieve techniques that can entice a strike.
Diving hard body lures
Diving hard body lures are great for people relatively new to fishing as they can simply be cast out and then slowly rolled back in. However, when the fishing is tough, and the slow roll isn’t working, it is important to try something different.
I like to start off by adding pauses to the retrieve. Many hook ups occur when fisherman feel the bump of a snag and stop the retrieve so that the lure can float over the snag. Golden Perch in particular are notorious for attacking a lure as it floats towards the surface. As well as the odd pause, try pointing the rod tip down towards the water and give the handle a few quick cranks to get the lure to dive quickly for a moment. The purpose of the pause is to imitate wounded bait. The purpose of the quick retrieve is to imitate fleeing bait. Remember: it’s a natural reaction for a predatory fish to feed on distressed or injured prey.
Similar to hard body lures, the majority of surface lures for cod are crafted so they have a good action straight out of the packet. A simple slow roll will work on most occasions. Once again, I like to introduce pauses to the retrieve, although, unlike floating hard body lures, it’s quite a long pause, sometimes as much 5 seconds. This gives a lethargic fish the opportunity to swim over and investigate. If that fails, try working the surface lure as quickly as possible without sacrificing the action of the lure. The aim of this technique is to imitate something that has fallen in and is trying to get out. The number one rule with surface fishing is to never pull the lure out of the water too early - always work it right to your feet. A lot of strikes occur when the cod knows its prey is about to reach the safety of terra firma.
The most important aspect of using a spinnerbait is to consider the depth of the water you’re fishing in. There’s not much point letting your spinnerbait sink one metre when you’re fishing in five metres of water with a snaggy bottom. You must get the lure in the strike zone and keep it there for as long as possible. Once you’re confident you’ve got the lure in the zone, it’s as simple as winding at a speed where you can feel the blades of the spinnerbait just ticking over. You can then introduce some twitches of the rod tip to make the lure dance. Remember to put several casts in the same area or snag. Even if a fish isn’t hungry, you can irritate them until it makes a territorial strike.
Crankbaits can be a bit harder to master than other styles of lure. Many have a very subtle action and rattle when slowly rolled in, but both can be enhanced using different techniques with the rod. I’ve found that using a faster retrieve than you would use for a hard body lure produces the best results. The increased speed gets the lure vibrating faster and, if they have a rattle, makes it louder. A variation to this is employing a lift and wind approach. After letting the lure sink close to the bottom, flick the rod tip up in order to bring the lure closer to the surface. As you lower the rod back towards the water, wind in any slack line as the crankbait sinks back towards the bottom and repeat. This allows the crankbait to cover a larger portion of the water column and enables you to find fish at different depths.
There is no one size fits all approach to lure fishing for Murray Cod. What works to entice a fish in an urban lake may not work on fish in a shallow river. The most important thing is to spend time on the water practicing and experimenting. When you do land a fish, make a mental note or write down what you were doing when the strike took place (things like the speed of the retrieve and the environment). You might start to see some interesting patterns that can make the next expedition even more successful.