An inch and a half of rain Wednesday along with a slight drizzle Thursday morning was stark contrast to 2012 when day of building the "Mega marquee" reached 46°c! Soft ground and cool weather were perfect working conditions and saw the impressive construction complete within four hours.
Action started first thing Friday morning as a full book of exhibitors set up in readiness for the fishing and outdoors expo that is now a standard feature of the Cod Classic. Gates opened at 2pm with a constant stream of eager fisho's passing through for the afternoon. Friday evening saw Rod McKenzie, Gus Storer and Dr. Paul Hardy Smith conduct “Cod Talk”, an informative interactive talk session based around anything that has to do with Cod fishing from catch & release through to lure selection and casting tips. After a comprehensive event briefing, the drawing of the first boating package for all competitors who had registered up until 8.30pm took place. Brian Courtney of Lancefield was the lucky winner and thought this was just reward for many years of participation.
At the close of registrations Saturday morning, 2653 keen anglers (2210 Adults, 443 Juniors) had nominated. Perfect conditions with only a hint of a slight breeze saw everybody take to the water in search of the mighty Murray Cod. None were more highly prized than "Brian", a specially tagged cod who carried an added bonus of $20,000 if anybody managed to catch him. With the previous few days cold snap (the coldest December day for 8yrs) all fish proved to have a case of lock jaw and were being presented at a much slower rate to measuring stations than the past few events. One person that didn't have trouble finding a cod was Michael Maher. Michael's trolled Custom Craft lure was gobbled up by a 113cm monster to see him leading at completion of fishing Saturday. Junior angler Brock Pierce was another very lucky boy when a 108cm green beast took a liking to his well presented scrub worm. Surprisingly Carp numbers were down after last year's explosion within the region.
Saturday night saw approximately 5000 people converge on the Mulwala football ground for the nights activities. “Flathead Fred” kept the children entertained for an hour with his energy filled kids fun fishing show. Following this, lucky door prizes were given out. Amazingly only 150 adults missed out on a lucky door prize thanks to our many great sponsors. All major lucky door prizes were then drawn followed by giving away another three boating packages. To close out the evening many “encouraging hecklers” stayed around to witness the final round of the Australian Invitation Pro Casting Championships. Young casting gun Kaleb Oxley claimed his first title and is sure to give it a fair shake for many years to come.
Sunday morning saw slightly less excitement amongst anglers who had done it hard the previous day. Many changed tact fishing different sections of the lake or river to what they had fished the previous day to try something different. Not allot of headway was made at the top of the leaders board but numerous other great fish that were presented making things interesting for the minor placings.
Presentations for all fishing categories got under way Sunday with another large crowd in attendance. The juniors got onto some nice fish with Brock Pierce's beauty measuring 108cms taking the chocolates. Tom Webster claimed the coveted title of Swagman Lures Overall Junior Champion for the second time. His two impressive cod that measured 80 & 84cms respectively would be the envy of most anglers. Tom had an amazingly successful weekend winning the Swagman Lures Overall Junior Champion title, finishing in third place with junior longest cod, second place in the junior casting section and to top it off, won the open section "Charlie Carp" boat for anybody who managed to catch a carp. Unbelievable!
In the adults section, Michael Maher's 113cm beast never looked like being passed and allowed him to take home the Mulwala Football Netball Club "Champion Angler" title. Two great specimens measuring 94 and 91cms filled the second and third placings. All in all, 204 legal size Murray cod, 151 Golden Perch and 1700 carp were presented for measuring.
Thanks to BLA, the Old Town Canoes & Kayaks “Australian Canoe & Kayak Cod Fishing Championships” entered its third year with 50+ "Yakkers" taking to the water via paddle or pedal. Darren Fletcher was the lucky man to hook a 76cm cod and the title of 2013 Australian Canoe & Kayak Cod Fishing Champion.
To round out the weekend, the 9th “Cod Classic Golf Championships” took place. Rules such as 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. "Flash" Burgess finished with the best score but official rules state "you can’t win in your first year of participation". This left a very proud Darren Ryan the victor and deserves his name on the trophy with other previous legendary winners!
Announcements were made in regards to the 2014 "15th Anniversary" Cod Classic. For the first time, the Cod Classic prize pool will include a vehicle, the winner's choice of either a Ford XR6 Ute or Ford Ranger Ute. Amazing!