With the lure of a potential $1Million on offer for some lucky angler if they could catch "Phil", the specially tagged Murray cod, anglers descended on Lake Mulwala from all parts of the country in droves.
Friday morning saw a large array of exhibitors set up in readiness for the fishing and outdoors expo that is now a popular feature of the Cod Classic. Gates opened at 2pm with an endless 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 an informative event briefing, the drawing of the first boating package took place. Lachlan Spencer of Bendigo was the lucky winner and celebrated accordingly! Lachlan was only talked into entering a couple of days before!
To round out Friday evening, a full briefing / information session was held in regards to the catching of Phil and what was required to claim the $1 Million dollars. Hundreds of anglers crammed around the television that showed the full tagging and releasing procedure of Phil. Was showing the general release location going to be a mistake?
At the close of registrations Saturday morning, 2825 eager anglers (2420 Adults, 405 Juniors) had nominated. Absolute perfect conditions saw everybody take to the water in search of the mighty Murray Cod. None were more highly prized than "Phil". Judging by the amount of boats fishing a certain section of the lake, many had figured out the approximate release location of "Phil". He was going to do well not to be caught or at least get tangled in somebody's line! Cod were being returned for measuring at a phenomenal rate, the like we had never seen before. With cod measuring in excess of 75cm having to have their pictures verified at days end, it was going to be interesting to see what photos were returned. Steve Hobbs was one man who looked like he needed a wheel barrow just to carry his camera alone as it bore photos that proved the capture of a mighty 115.5cm Mulwala monster. A few other photos of true brutes were brought in for verification that measured 111cm, 106cms and 102cms respectively.
With a magnificent evening weather wise, close to 4000 competitors and onlookers sprawled out to enjoy what was on offer for the night. “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. Without a doubt, the major draw card was the million dollar fish promo but "Phil" managed to elude capture for the day. For the interest of all participants, the whereabouts of the hidden million dollar cheque was revealed.
Sunday morning saw anglers greeted with perfect conditions once again. Fisho's had four hours to register fish for the prize draws and try and chase down the leaders.
Presentations for all fishing categories got under way with a huge crowd in attendance. The juniors got onto some nice fish with Flynn Docking's 97cm beauty taking the chocolates. Thomas Cook claimed the coveted title of Swagman / Kuttafurra Lures Overall Junior Champion for his five impressive cod that measured a grand total 304cms.
For the adults, Steve Hobbs's 115.5cm beast never looked like being passed and allowed him to take home the Mulwala Football Netball Club "Champion Angler" title. The next two biggest fish caught on Saturday were not passed also and took out second and third place. Looking at the numbers of Cod that were returned for measuring, never before had we seen the lake fish so well over a Cod Classic weekend. With 869 "legal's" being registered, it goes to prove that Lake Mulwala is the home of the Murray Cod.
Thanks to Capacity Sports, the Native Watercraft “Australian Canoe & Kayak Cod Fishing Championships” entered its fifth year with 55 "Yakkers" taking to the water via paddle or pedal. Matt "Spida" Rogers had an amazing day out landing the two biggest Cod for the day with his mighty 102cm prize easily eclipsing the other yak based anglers to help him claim the title of 2015 Australian Canoe & Kayak Cod Fishing Champion.
To round out the weekend, the 11th “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. Adam Thompson smashed a very tame field to win by 6 strokes and have his name added to the trophy for the second time.
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.
On a sad note, the Mulwala Football Netball Club has just lost its most iconic and legendary club member - Greg "Candles" Hore. On behalf of the MFNC, "Candles" presented the champion angler title and looked a picture of health. Only days later he suffered a severe stroke and did not recover. Our thoughts go out to all his family and friends.
2015 Yamaha “Cod Classic”
Mulwala Football / Netball Club.