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2005 Cod Opening Classic Report. by Neil Slater

Cod Opening Classic
December 3-4 Lake Mulwala

FOR me, the Cod Opening Classic was a 4 hour drive from Geelong to Yarrawonga telling my QLD visitor (dad) that the rain would cease as soon as we passed over the range - just like going to Lake Somerset.
Anyway, after an inch of rain while we were standing in line to register at the Mulwala Footy Club grounds, it was wearing a bit thin.
The Cod Opening Classic is total catch and release for all native species and with 5 boat - motor - sounder packages (SIX next year!) up for grabs, you can see why it is popular!
To all of you that were camping in tents, my deepest sympathy.
The turnout to the competition was a staggering 2260 competitors (up 180 from 2004) and with an estimated 1080 boats, makes this competition the largest inland fishing competition in the world!
It wasn't really as bad as it sounds. The lake is around 14km long and there were plenty of areas to wet a line. You could just about walk from boat to boat in the most popular casting spots, but some fantastic fish still made it to the measure stations.

I have to make special mention to Chris Millar. Chris and his mates got there early Friday and decided to get the rods wet for a 'practice'. You guessed it - (long story short) Chris, busted rod, no net, managed to land and release a 110cm brute of a fish that sent water everywhere and nearly pulled his arms out of their sockets! Unfortunately, it was ineligible for prizes since it was caught out of competition time, but I know for sure Chris is one happy chap!

The weather was as ugly as some of the heads I saw crawl out of beds early Saturday morning. The wind blew a nasty westerly that followed us wherever we tried to hide from it and a decent rain cloud let loose on those competitors near the wall.
Saturday night saw an estimated 3500 people pack the 100 X 25 (yep, big!) marquee on the footy oval for pro and armature casting competitions, Flathead Fred kids fishing clinics, as well as Catch and release seminars.

Sunday saw the wind ease a tad and the cod got onto the lures with a bit more aggo for the short fishing period up until 10am.

The stats that matter:
Total competitors: 2260
Estimated boats: 1080
Boat winners: Lucky Door - Harold Adams, Mulwala
- Cod C & R - Jack Florence, Corowa
- Carp Boat - Brett Scott, Werribee
- Raffle - John Davis, Mulwala
- Early Entry - Alan Vucenik, Boronia

Fish Numbers
353 Murray Cod (- 62 on 04), 150 Golden Perch (+30) & 785 European Carp (+255) - Total 1288 (+223)
Longest Cod Adult - Gary Lord 110cms Junior - James Scott 57cms
Longest Yella Adult - Damien Leeburn 55cms Junior - Anthony Free - 50cms
Longest Carp (Open Section) Joel Thomas 75cms

Cod: 353 Caught & Released
Most Productive Methods - Bait 245 (+ 52 on last year) Lures 82 (- 64 on last year) No Response 26
Breakdown - Bait - Bardi's 153, Yabby's 37, Worms 26, Cheese 14, Shrimp 13
Lures - Oar Gee 20, Stumpjumper 13, Codger 8, Bassman Spinnerbaits 8, Legend 5, Custom Craft 3, AC's 3, Predator 2, Swagman 2, Halco 2, Schooner 2,
Mongrel 1, Others (non sponsors) 15

Golden Perch: 150 Caught & Released
Most Productive Methods - Bait 70, Lures 68, No Response 12
Breakdown - Bait - Worms 36, Yabby's 20, Shrimp 8, Bardi's 6
Lures - Stumpjumper 21, Bassman 10, Predator 6, AC's 6, Mongrel 5, Custom Crafted 3, SMAK 3, Outcast 2, Swagman 2, Predatek 1, Codger 1, Oar Gee 1, Others (non sponsors, includes spinnerbaits & soft plastics) 21

European Carp - An incredible 785 Carp were removed from the lake and taken to "Charlie Carp" for processing. Ron Kaponica form Charlie Carp report that the total weight of all the Carp was 1.34 tones.

Casting Champions
Juniors: 1st Tom Heatherington, 2nd Jesse Street, 3rd Cooper Bennett
Adults: 1st Brett Rice, 2nd Joe Copper, 3rd Jamie Roberts
Pro's: 1st Cameron Whittam, 2nd Tony Bennett, 3rd Nick Jeans

Lake Mulwala Map
Longest Cod Winner, Gary Lord & Merv Hughes
A Healthy Cod at the Hogans Rd Boat Ramp Measure-in
Click on map for larger version
Click on images for larger version

Neil Slater

Copyright© 2005 Neil Slater. Sweetwater Fishing Australia