While I’ve been guiding for a while, the ‘Come and try Cod Flyfishing’ concept was brought up over a few after work drinks at The Flyfisher.
Our Murray cod could be compared to the American musky. It’s another fish of a thousand casts and a real sportfish. Cod tick all the sportfish boxes. They need a reasonable cast with a large fly. The takes are explosive, and you need to really battle that cod to get it out of cover. To say they create an adrenalin rush is an understatement, and every cod landed is well earned.
The Come and try Cod Flyfishing day was designed to help flyfishers catch Murray cod from the bank so they could have a go themselves when it suited them. Basically, the day aimed to simplify and demystify flyfishing for Murray cod.
I like to keep up with current river conditions and in this case, I changed venues two days out as the first option was flowing high and dirty. Both my guests were fine with the change and met at my house around 8am. We then headed into town for a coffee prior to kicking things off on the water.
With coffee in hand, I brought out a few fly rods, reels & lines – and of course flies – so we could begin to discuss the whats and hows of Murray cod on fly. We covered fly lines for different situations, plus leader construction and tippet. On flies, we talked about how and where to fish various patterns, and why they are tied in a particular manner.
As we were going to be fishing from the bank, I chose two outfits for my guests to try. The first was rigged with floating line and a Frog Popper. This is a surface fly I designed which can be dragged through a lot of terrain and come out unscathed.
The second outfit was rigged with an intermediate line and a subsurface Cod Snack fly. This is another pattern that has been trialled, tested, changed and tweaked to reduce snagging, without affecting hook-ups.
One of my guests also brought his own outfit to use and all that needed was a new leader and tippet.
With rods in hand, we made our way to the river to learn how to cast the flies and how to retrieve them. With the temperature forecast to reach the high 30s, we had decided to wet wade, which turned out to a wise choice! Both of my guests were quite capable casting large flies, and were able to get them right into where a cod might be, so we then practiced drifting the flies into snags and worked on retrieves.
Meanwhile, we worked on maintaining line speed to ensure good loops.
With this part of the day completed, it was time for a well-earned lunch.
We crossed the river and made our way to an area I had checked out earlier. All likely spots were covered with a floating fly and then a subsurface fly. Both casting and retrieves needed a little work but not a lot. We made our way upstream and kept covering likely spots, unfortunately to no avail. As can happen, the fish of a thousand casts had shut down.
My guests had listened intently to my instructions, and I could see them strip-striking when they thought they’d had a hit. We buried a few flies in the sunken timber, but that’s exactly what I would have done.
Despite little cooperation from the cod, the main aim of the day was achieved. My guests now knew the gear they needed, how to set it up and how and where to fish their flies. And they strip-striked when required!
The drive back gave them a chance to recharge before they headed home, and with plenty of knowledge gained, they vowed to be back.