Well it's been a while since I've been on the forum or written a report. But as I sit in my room on a Friday night surrounded only by the 4 walls I call home for half the year, rain pouring outside and Architects latest album pumping from the Bose, I can't help but relive the events from my last trip in my head.
It was over the usual lunch banter that a mate and I, still a cod virgin at the time, planted the seeds for a cod trip in to gods country chasing the mighty Murray Cod. That seed grew at a rapid rate, and one week later we found ourselves fumbling for our phones as 4:30am flashed across the screens. It was Tuesday morning, and we couldn't help but feel a little smug as we made our way through the early tradie traffic, two kayaks strapped to the roof and every inch of space loaded with fishing gear and swags. We were headed west!
We arrived at a mates property at around lunch, and after a bit of paddock bashing we soon had the yaks in the water, loaded and ready to go. I had promised Malcolm I'd put him on to his first cod, so I was relieved when when I heard the distinct sound of a cod smashing his Pompadour off the surface 10 minutes in to the session...that was, until he learned his first lesson about cod in tight structure. Needless to say, the fish won its freedom, but the lure was saved!
Before long I landed the first fish of the trip, a standard size cod for what I had previously caught in the area, but at least it was green!
Malcolm soon found himself hooked up to another cod, this time managing to seal the deal. The pressure was off, he'd officially popped his cod cherry, and at the same time christened his new Moken Lure 11.5 yak!
The rest of the afternoon was fairly slow, missing 2 good surface strikes from a fish around the 50-60cm mark on sundown. After that we decided to call it a day and make the trip in to the local pub for a feed and a scooner or two...as they say, when in Rome!
The following day we made the trip out to another of my mate's properties located on a different system, one which contained a few deeper holes for us to explore with the low water levels of recent. The scenery was breathtaking, Deep, snaggy water surrounded by steep banks and gums so ancient that, as my mate so poetically put it... "that c*** would have seen Captain Cook!".
Things looked promising, with my Cooby Cobba surface walker copping 3 missed hits from a fish within 2 minutes of setting out. That seemed to set the scene for the rest of the morning bite period, copping at least 6 hits on various surface presentations with no hook ups until the bite slowed.
Growing frustrated, I decided to change things up and tie on a lure I had been dying to try out for months...the massive Jackall Gantrel swimbait. I was extremely impressed with the action, so realistic you'd be able to fool most people in to thinking it was a real fish swimming! A few casts later my rod doubled over as I worked the swimbait through the branches of a fallen tree, and before long I was holding my new PB cod, a nice 58cm model.
A nice 56cm goodoo followed soon after.
With the fish tally going 2 and multiple hits for me to 0 with not a single touch for Malcolm, the fishing gods must have thought I was getting a little cocky by this stage. After stopping for a bite to eat, I decided to have a flick around a rocky pool nearby. Sure enough, the Gantrel accounted for another fish, this one diving for rocky cover. I could feel the leader scraping against the rocks, and in my struggle to move to a better position, disaster struck. I went ass-up, coming down hard on my elbow, and...my favourite Daiwa Tatula+Dobyns Savvy combo. Bruised and wet, I managed to land the fish before assessing the damage. I had bent the handle of my Tatula in, and also what I fear is the handles axle, and put scratch marks in the tip of my Dobyns.
From then on Mal's day picked right up, cleaning up with 5 cod by the days end.
By sun down we had racked up a Tally of around 12 cod between us.
This day I will remember forever for multiple reasons.
We were fortunate enough to gain access to some incredible, untouched country. After some serious 4x4 only terrain through dense scrub, we arrived at our destination. This was gorge country at its finest. Deep, DEEP rocky holes, sheer cliff faces, incredible, ancient rock formations carved out by floods over thousands of years...I was in awe.
"If there's anywhere you're going to get your metrey, this is it." Remarked my mate, referring to my seemingly overly optimistic goal I had set when he had asked what I was aiming to catch. Too excited to contain it, we immediately grabbed a rod each and made our way down the cliffs to find a good casting platform. "Irrigation can wait." he smirked.
I aligned myself parallel to a vertical drop off in to what looked like very deep water with a small overhanging tree clinging to its edge, flicking my trusty Pompadour along its face. 4 casts in, a sizeable boil emerged behind my lure. Quickly I fired another cast up in to the same location, my heart in my mouth as I waited tentatively for a strike.
The sound was like an explosion breaking the early morning silence of the gorge as the water around my pompadour erupted in a flurry of white water and one ENORMOUS green tail.
"I'M ON! He's big! Mate he's BIG! I yelled as my mate scrambled over the rocks towards me.
The fish was powerful, the kind of power you can't help but feel that your 30lb braid might as well be 6lb if the fish decides to run. I was trembling with a mixture of uncontrollable excitement and fear that my gear wasn't up to the task of reigning in a fish of this size.
Luckily for me, the sound of the Pompadour must have woken the beast up and it was still half asleep, because after a few heart stopping moments of pulling drag, it emerged on the surface without too much hassle.
"IT'S A METREY!" I yelled over and over as I saw the fish for the first time.
Now I know I'm starting to drone on here, so to cut a long story short, actually landing the fish involved Malcolm (to his credit) jumping in the water up to his waist, boots and all, to lift the fish up to me, as it was far too heavy to lift it's head enough to get a hand under its belly. After some more team work from the other two lads, I had what I came for. Not only my "Metrey", but the fish of a lifetime, 113cm of wild Murray Cod!
The smile tells the rest of the story.
Ensuring she was treated with the utmost respect, a quick few photos and a measurement on the brag mat and the big girl swam off strong with a crack of the tail I will never forget. The best part of it all!
It's moments like these that will go down as some of my most cherished, the moments I live for. The sense of adventure, achievement, and being able to share that moment with mates in an incredible location is what it's all about.