As is tradition, Thursday morning saw the football ground come alive to the sounds of construction as the mega 90meter x 15meter marquee was erected. 20 odd volunteers plus the crew from Bourke Hire do an amazing job to have this monster put up within five hours along with numerous other tents that are required for the weekend.
Friday morning saw a comprehensive list 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. Robert Hastie of Clifton Springs was the lucky winner and thought this was just reward for many years of participation.
At the close of registrations Saturday morning, 2572 keen anglers (2252 Adults, 320 Juniors) had nominated. Interestingly the field contained three international visiting anglers coming from the USA, Nepal and Japan. Our Japanese competitor, Mr. Daisuke Migiawa is a household name in Japan who has many movie credits to his name and was here to film the event as part of a travel / comedy show he now hosts. With a traveling party of seven including three cameramen and a stunt double, his crew was an interesting sight to behold.
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 "Henry", a specially tagged cod who carried an added bonus of a Ford Ute if anybody managed to catch him. With the new legal size limit for Murray Cod being reduced to 55cm, Cod were being returned to scale at an alarming rate.............. until the rain came! 1 pm saw the majority head for cover as the sky's opened drenching all who weren't luck enough to escape it. Luckily enough we dodged the worst of the conditions that saw other local towns cop a hiding by both rain and hail storms.
To tie in with the new Cod fishing regulations, all Murray Cod measuring in excess of 75cms had to be photographed immediately and then returned to the water. Anglers then had to submit their capture photos at day's end. 35 or so lucky anglers were in this bracket but none luckier that Rick Hughes who captured a dream Cod that measured in at 104cms.
Due to the constant rain, Saturday night saw a reduced field of around 2000 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. All major lucky door prizes were then drawn followed by giving away another three boating packages.
Sunday morning saw anglers greeted with a dead calm lake and those with enough energy made the most of it. Unfortunately the previous days storm seemed to have shut the fish down with only minimal numbers returned for the morning.
Presentations for all fishing categories got under way Sunday with a strong crowd in attendance. The juniors got onto some nice fish with Tyson Robinson's beauty measuring 80cms taking the chocolates. Jaxon Wheeler claimed the coveted title of Swagman Lures Overall Junior Champion for his three impressive cod that measured 59, 61 & 67cms respectively.
In the adults section, Rick Hughes 104cm beast never looked like being passed and allowed him to take home the Mulwala Football Netball Club "Champion Angler" title. Two great specimens measuring 97 and 94cms filled the second and third placings. All in all, 479 legal size Murray cod, 260 Golden Perch and 2500 carp were presented for measuring.
Thanks to Capacity Sports, the Native Watercraft “Australian Canoe & Kayak Cod Fishing Championships” entered its fourth year with 57 "Yakkers" taking to the water via paddle or pedal. Al Parish was the lucky man to hook a 73.5 cod and the title of 2014 Australian Canoe & Kayak Cod Fishing Champion.
To round out the weekend, the 10th “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. Glen "Boo" Becker finished with the best score but official rules state "you can’t win in your first year of participation". This left a very proud Col Hyland the victor and deserves his name on the trophy with other previous legendary winners!
Finally, I would like to thank all involved who supported our event. With your continued input the Mulwala Football Netball Club's Cod Classic will remain as Australia's premier inland fishing event. Your generosity is very humbling and I hope it can continue for the future.
The committee of the Cod Classic wishes you a very merry X-Mass and all the best for the New Year.