of the best freshwater lure casting in southern Australia can
be had around the log-packed margins of Lake Mulwala located
on the Murray River adjacent to the towns of Yarrawonga and
Where else can you cast lures around shallow snags and catch
between five and seven fish up to 3.5 kg before 10 am!?
you Mulwala's margins also have a lot of sub-50cm fish to contend
with too. But what they lack in size, they make up in numbers
- keeping you very busy as they throw themselves at your offerings.
Each year I head up to Lake Mulwala and each year after a few
days of wayward casting, I tell myself "Next year, I'll
practice casting for a week before I come up here!"
This lack of casting skill was evident one February morning
last year when fishing Mulwala with keen cod caster Gavan Moloney
and writer Roger Dark. Being the gentleman he is, Roger often
offers guests in his boat first cast at a snag. After my cast
falls a good ½ meter from the snag, Roger lands a lure
right on the money and one more than one occasion, has claimed
the fish (I hate to admit that)!
days when the fish are half-hearted, it really shows in your
catch rates if you can consistently put your lure within a few
centimetres of a snag.
A good way to improve your casting accuracy is try and land
your lure in a bucket at varying distances of around 10 - 20
meters in your back yard a few weeks before you go.
Maybe for this year's preparation, I'll put some time in with
By far the most accurate casting is obtained when using a baitcaster
and a pistol or trigger grip plug rod. If your cast is looking
like overshooting your target, simply thumb the revolving spool
lightly to slow its flight to the snag and it drops right on
You can get by with conventional spinning tackle, but it is
much harder to consistently cast with accuracy.
Bait casters are considerably more expensive than conventional
spinning gear, but need not send you bankrupt. My first outfit
consisted of an ABU 4601 and a Berkley IM7 plug casting rod
and only relieved my wallet of about $250.
You can use monofilament line, but once you've used the braided
lines, it's hard to go back to mono. Braided lines offer unequalled
sensitivity when bumping your lures through the logs and offers
near zero stretch when those cod make for the snags.
For added abrasion resistance, it's often a good idea to add
a length of 20kg monofilament leader via an improved Albright
or braid/leader knot. This also doubles as a shock absorber
for those sudden and often violent hits.
The list is almost endless! I find by sticking with lures that
are made for cod right here in Australia, you can't go wrong.
Most imported lures arrive equipped with hooks that (to quote
Rob Meade); "an angry goldfish could straighten."
Good casting lures to start with include Knolls Native, Number
2 Stumpjumper, Oar Gee, Codgers, and spinnerbaits and don't
forget the surface lures for those heart-stopping dusk casting
Never, EVER go casting in Mulwala without a tackle retriever
of some description. I can tell you, your heart sinks when your
line parts on your favorite lure just after you've boated +
released 3 or 4 fish on it for the morning.
You will always find a use for a decent set of pliers or multi-tool
when casting. For catch and release anglers, crushing the hook
barbs and quickly de-hooking fish will see the pliers busy on
deck most of the morning.
As mentioned earlier, your best chance of fooling a few cod
when casting the margins is get those lure in close to the logs.
Some fish I have taken have been in less than 60 cm of water!
The bigger fish that have graced our boat have come from large
logs that are around 2m deep.
You've got to cast your lure without fear of loosing it. If
you fear the snags, you will subconsciously try to avoid some
of the best fish-holding areas in the lake.
Do that drag up! Remember, most of the snag-dwelling cod only
have to travel about 1 meter to get back to their hole and snag
your lure, so you've got to have reflexes like a cat.
Your retrieve should be varied in a way where you can increase
and decrease your retrieval rate in short sharp burst to imitate
a startled forage fish.
When using spinnerbaits, I've found the best method is to retrieve
them as slow as possible but with a constant speed so the lure
hangs in the strike zone for most of its journey.
Best spinnerbaits for this method are ones with 'Colorado' type
blades on them. These are very broad and require minimal retrieval
speed to spin.
The better fish you are likely to encounter will be in the order
of 60cm and around 4-5kg while the average fish would be in
the order of 40-50cm. The smaller fish are more likely to give
your surface lures a scare during the dusk sessions, as they
are considerably more aggressive.
First and last light is best, with the dusk often putting on
a real fireworks show as far as casting surface lures and flies
By 10 or 11am things really slow down and we often head back
for a nap, lunch or go for a troll in the deeper sections of
Accommodation is available at a number of locations around the
lake from caravan parks to luxury lakeside apartments.
Some caravan parks have their own boat ramps and there are a
number of other ramps located around the lake.
Maps of Mulwala are readily available through many fishing tackle
outlets and are recommended for locating the many old riverbeds
for safe transit amongst the standing timber.
NSW Recreational Fishing Licence is required to fish at Lake
Mulwala. You can purchase them online HERE.
Mulwala Info Page including Lake Map
Regarding Rec Fishing at Lake Mulwala & Lake Hume
NSW Recreation Fishing Licence Online
Mulwala Hotspots - Article by Ian Stead
Cod Opening Classic Report - Neil Slater
Cod Opening Classic Report - Neil Slater