The big fella upstairs looked after the club by dumping over an inch of rain on the oval the day before tent construction took place. This saved our drought affected surface being turned into a dust bowl over the weekend. On a cool and pleasant Thursday morning, a crew of 30 volunteers banded together with the staff from Bourke Hire to erect the monster shed style tent. Stretching 90 meters X 15 meters, it again left everybody involved blown away by its sheer size. After 6 hours of hard work, it had now come time to try and fill it.
The predictions of thunderstorms for Friday proved wrong with a great day greeting all. I’m sure this encouraged many fair weather only fishermen to register at the last minute. Registrations saw a steady flow of people passing through. At the completion (including Saturday morning) a total of 2443 (2098 Adults and 345 juniors) had enrolled. Slightly down on 2006, this was an amazing result considering the lead up.
The majority of participants took the chance to have a look through and utilise the fabulous new facilities that are now the home of the Mulwala Football Netball Club and the Cod Classic. Cold beer and the launch of the amazing “Cod Almighty” Murray Cod DVD kept people around for hours. Friday night saw many competitors take the chance to listen to the Cod gods, Rod McKenzie, Gus Storer & David “the Barefoot Fisherman” Hodge’s very informative “Catch & Release Clinics” and talks in general about fishing for Murray Cod.
After the previous two years of being flogged by miserable weather conditions on the Saturday morning, anglers were greeted with an absolutely perfectly flat lake and high barometer. Fishing conditions were spot on with fish numbers reflecting this. Some great fish were reported with Cohuna lass Gemma Free leading the way at the end of Saturday with a beautiful 93cm Cod being measured and released. As the day drew on, the thermometer reached 35deg and people started to suffer from too much sun. Many retired early and headed back to event headquarters looking for shade and a cool drink.
Saturday night saw approximately 3500 people converge on the Mulwala football ground for the night’s activities. Early in the evening “Flathead Fred” kept the children entertained for 45mins with his energy filled kids fun fishing show. Following this, lucky door prizes were given out. I know one lucky junior was offered over $500 for the limited edition lure he had won as a lucky door prize. In attendance was our first international guest, Mr. Lance Smith from Tulsa, Okalahoma. Lance is Lowrance’s national service manager, in Australia for the next 12 months. A staggering 1400 minor prizes saw more than 66% of competitors go home with a prize. To finish the night, the finals of the adult and junior amateur casting shootouts were held. Hundreds of onlookers had stayed around to watch this event with the Australian pro casting shootout closing out the night.
Sunday morning, competitors were greeted with wind but still the clear skies hung around. Only the fair dinkum made it onto the water as there were many wounded participants from the night before. Rumors did the rounds about a meter plus Cod that had been caught mid morning and this proved to be true.
Presentations for all fishing categories got under way noon Sunday with the massive tent being jam-packed. The juniors got onto some nice fish with Kyle Hodges taking out 1st place with a beauty measuring 80cms. Harrison Sloane took the coveted junior prize of Swagman Lures Junior Champion of Champions with 2 legal cod giving him a total combined length of 1.11 meters. In the adults section, Ken Grant was the lucky angler taking home the Oar-Gee Lures Champion Angler title with a great fish measuring 1 meter even. Gemma Free held on for 2nd place and also took out SMAK Lures Female Champion while Dean Sheehan finished in 3rd with another 93cm beauty.
Again a great band of supporters got together to assist with the pull down of the tent and it had vanished within 2 hours. The ground was cleaned up and then it was time to sit down, share a cool drink and dissect the event thinking of ways to make it bigger and better once again in 2008.
All in all, the event was a massive success. An estimated 1200 boats took part making it a site to be seen once again. Fishing conditions were the best in the events 8 year history with fish numbers reflecting this. Due to the lower water levels, it seemed that a lot of fish that would normally reside in the 4-6ft areas of the lake had made their way to the edge of the channels. The channels were easily defined as a plethora of rotted tree tops were visible. Add the fact that the water temp in the lake has raised considerably, the fishing advantage was with the fishermen.
In a reverse to the weekend just gone, Monday morning brought with it rain. A group of 6 golfing tragic’s took their chances and manage to scrape in 18 pretty rough holes in between two great storms. What is now becoming a tradition, the 3rd “Cod Classic Golf Championships” was on. Rules such if you do not hit it you don’t count it, if you can retrieve it within 10 seconds from the tee you can have it again, you could choose to have 1 kick and 1 throw somewhere within your round and all sledging is fair whist having your shot made for an interesting and very funny morning. Russ Wright didn’t let the demons get into his head and took home the crown with a fine 91 off the stick. Dave “Long” Silva managed to keep the ball straight off the T and was awarded driving champion.
The committee of the Cod Classic wishes you a very merry X-Mass and all the best for the New Year.