Chasing Murray Cod is an addiction for myself and many anglers out there that takes us to some very special places. The Murray Darling Basin is littered with rivers and tributaries that hold these special fish. When it comes to catching them, us anglers are exposed to a vast array of habitat, landscape and climate. One of the most effective ways to target these fish, I’ve found, is by hiking a section of river, camping overnight and then walking back the following day. This method opens a lot of options, is effective and can land you in some pretty remote locations.
Spending time on software such as Google Maps allows you to navigate the location and find an entry point. I personally like to find a section of river that spans around 10km’s and has many obvious large pools. Be prepared to walk long distances, once you get caught up in the thrill of catching these stunning creatures and the beauty the Australian outback has too offer, it’s hard to turn back. Preparation is key, and packing a well weighted hiking bag with essentials is critical. Personally I fill my bag with one tackle box filled with a range of lure options, the rest of the space is used to carry food, water and a camera. To the outside of my bag I attach Boga Grips, a Billy can or pan and a sleeping bag. Other luxuries include toilet paper, sleeping mat and personal cleaning equipment – only if you feel the need. Packing water purification tablet’s lets you drink the water from the river which saves you lugging a lot of extra weight. I carry one rod and reel along with me, my Tatula Type R spooled with 30lb Jbraid, matched with a Generation Black Cranky rod. This combo is lightweight to carry, offers a strong drag system and is deadly accurate which is crucial when targeting Murray Cod.
The beauty of being able to hike numerous kilometres along a river one day, and back the next, is it can find you in some remote, less pressured waters. These isolated sections can hold fish that may have never seen a lure before and can result in some seriously great action. I’ve had some great overnight trips, landing over 30 beautifully marked cod in gorge country. Like any fishing, if you do the miles, you get the smiles and this method is a prime example. It also allows you too fish the most productive times, walking one way in the afternoon and walking back the next morning – both prime bite times for Murray Cod. Setting up camp on a nice section of river or big hole can also produce some awesome night fishing, especially on the surface.
This method of freshwater fishing is simple, effective and offers so much more. The places you can end up in are so untouched and beautiful, and if you do your homework, they’re not hard to find. There is something special about sleeping under the stars, insulated in just a sleeping bag, gaining warmth from the fire. Waking up the next morning, boiling the billy, sipping black coffee and wondering how too fool your next Murray. If you are well prepared, hiking into remote locations with only what you can carry on your back can be so successful and satisfying. This is why it’s my favourite way to target the great Murray Cod.