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Secrets to Catch Murray Cod on Lures

Secrets to Catch Murray Cod on Lures

Secrets to Catching Murray Cod on Lures

by Josh Lambert

Are you ready to reel in some Murray Cod, Australia's largest freshwater fish? This blog will reveal the secrets to landing these prized freshwater giants using the best lures and techniques. Whether you're a seasoned angler or a beginner, mastering the art of Murray Cod fishing can lead to thrilling adventures along the riverbanks and inland lakes. The learning curve can be steep, and the effort involved can be daunting, but once you've caught your first cod you'll be hooked for life.

Josh Lambert with a magnificent Murray Cod
Author with a magnificent Murray Cod

What are Murray Cod?

Murray Cod inhabit the rivers and streams of eastern Australia. Belonging to the Percichthyidae family, the scientific name for Murray Cod is Maccullochella peelii. These resilient fish can live up to 50 years, making them a sought-after catch for anglers seeking trophy-sized specimens.

Murray Cod distribution map

Murray Cod were once abundant throughout the Murray-Darling river system, but overfishing and environmental changes have drastically reduced its numbers. Murray Cod generally prefer slow flowing, turbid water in streams and rivers, favouring deeper water around boulders, undercut banks, overhanging vegetation and logs, often living in the spot for years. Known for their predatory nature, Murray Cod are ambush predators, often lurking near structure such as fallen trees or rocky outcrops, waiting to strike at passing prey.

A happy angler with a Murray Cod

How to Identify Murray Cod

Murray Cod are distinguishable by their olive-green to yellowish-brown coloration with darker mottling along the body. They have a relatively large, elongate and deep body, small eyes and a short snout, which has a distinct concave profile. The mouth is large with a protruding lower jaw. Murray Cod possess a cream to olive green colour with dark grey to greenish blotches over the head and body. The belly is generally a creamy white colour.

Best Time of Year to Catch Murray Cod

Size and Possession Limits: Size and possession limits vary across Australian states, so it's crucial to check local regulations before fishing. In NSW at time of publishing this blog, the size slot for keeping a cod was from 55cm up to 75cm - small or bigger fish must be released. Fishing for Murray Cod must be done during open season in NSW, with closures from the 1st of September to the 30th of November in all waters, except Copeton Dam. Closed seasons may vary in other states so it pays to check. The closed season is for protecting spawning populations during sensitive times of the year. See below for a link to NSW Fishing Regulations.

Murray Cod are an icon of Australian fishing

What is the Diet of Murray Cod?

Murray Cod have a voracious appetite, preying on a variety of aquatic and terrestrial organisms, including fish, frogs, crustaceans like yabbies, turtles, insects, lizards, snakes and even small mammals and birds.

Best Gear for Murray Cod

I have a couple of outfits that I run, depending on where I'm fishing and the lures I want to fish.

Murray Cod outfit, option one for trolling

  • Option 1: Trolling using a baitcaster is the most popular. My preferred outfit is a Gloomis Crankbait rod 20-25lb with a Shimano Curado DC 200 reel. Fill this with 20-30 braid. Don't discount the more entry level outfits like Shimano SLX. They are great if set up correctly. Lures can vary depending location but my main go-tos are Predatek Boomerang 80mm deep in the Zebra & Mulga Frog colours. I also like the Hester 70mm Crank in the Blue Dog colour, and the Gangster Motherfrogger 1oz White/chartreuse & Red/black. Learn more about Curado DC 200 reel
    Watch the Curado Video

  • Option 2: Casting using a baitcaster or spin reel will both do the job well. Stick with similar weights as above in the 20 to 30 pound bracket, but look for a rod with a slightly more sensitive tip. I like the Shimano Cod Raider or Raider Barra spin if using a spin outfit. Spin reel size 2500-3000c depending on balance.

Spin outfit for Murray Cod

Find out more about Raider Rods

  • Option 3: Swim baiting. This technique is the newest kid on the block and with the advent of Live Scoping is becoming quite the norm for a lot of fishos. The preferd outfit is a baitcaster setup. 7-8ft rod rated at 30-50lb using a 300 series reel with 30-50lb braid. Lures can vary from XL spinnerbait's to 180mm slow sinking solid body lures that look more suited to costal fishing than freshwater! Big cod aren't shy when it comes to food. This is the prefect technique for chasing the larger trophy fish.

Recommended Lures for Catching Murray Cod

Opt for lures with erratic swimming actions to mimic injured baitfish, enticing aggressive strikes from Murray Cod. Choose lures with a large profile to grab the attention of these apex predators in murky waters. Experiment with lure sizes ranging from 3 to 8 inches, matching the size of the local baitfish population.

My top three hard body lures are:

  1. Predatec Boomerang 80mm deep Mulga Frog or Zebra

  2. Hester Crank 70mm deep Blue Dog

  3. Stump Jumper No2 colour 97

Best Murray cod lures

My top three plastic / spinnerbaits are:

  1. Gangster Mother frogger Dam Buster 2.5oz

  2. Gangster Motherfrogger 1oz

  3. Bassman Codman 1oz

Best spinnerbaits for Murray cod

Murray cod fishing has its rewards

Best Techniques for Catching Murray Cod

Vary your retrieval techniques to mimic the movements of wounded prey, including slow retrieves with occasional pauses and sudden jerks to trigger predatory instincts. What I do is cast to snag of structure allow a second or two for sink time and slowly crank you lures away. Pending depth and more so if using Live Scope Sonar you can watch your lure drop to the required depth to the fish to entice the strike......

Be prepared to make many, many casts at the same structure before triggering a strike cod can be very lazy but persistence and trigger an aggressive response...

Best Way to Land Murray Cod

When landing a Murray Cod, use a landing net to safely bring the fish aboard without injuring it. Avoid lifting the fish by the line or gills, opting instead to support its body weight with both hands. When fishing trophy water like Copeden Dam or most well stocked dams I'd opt for an XOS net. Due to the nature of the cod's raspy teeth, a good set of gloves is always a bonus. Wearing gloves means that you can quickly and confidently handle a fish and secure it, thereby preventing injury to yourself or the fish.

A beautifully marked Murray Cod

Author with a beautifully marked Murray Cod.

Are Murray Cod Good Eating Fish?

Murray Cod are prized for their firm, white flesh and are considered excellent table fare when cooked fresh. However, due to their slow growth rate and conservation status in some areas, it's essential to practice responsible catch-and-release fishing to preserve these iconic Australian fish for future generations. Catch and release is the preferred course of action in sensitive waterways.

Fish N Shoot Tackle World Goulburn

The from entrance of Tackle World Goulburn NSW

Tackle World Goulburn is about looking after anyone who would like to experience the enjoyment of Fishing & Shooting. We cater for all levels. Regardless of your taste we have the products and more importantly the advice you need to succeed in your endeavours.

Goulburn is located in a country area so we pride ourselves on personal service and friendship in a comfortable environment for everyone who enters the store. Therefore we have a motto by which we live, "there are no strangers here only friends we haven't met."

Services: Reel repairs, line spooling, fishing tips and rigging.

Fish N Shoot Tackle World Goulburn
Unit 2 104 Clinton Street
Goulburn, NSW 2580
Phone (02) 4822 1929

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NSW size & possession limits

NSW fishing license - Online