2016 Cod Classic - Cod On Our Side!
If you were going to order some weather conditions, be it for a wedding, funeral or fishing competition, you would order the absolute perfect conditions served up to the masses for the 2016 Yamaha Cod Classic. Near on 2500 fisho’s descended on Lake Mulwala and the Murray River to enjoy what was labelled as "the perfect event". Everything went to plan without a hitch and the fish came to play also.
With the main marquee being set up two days earlier than usual, the pressure was off to have everything ready by 2pm Friday when the gates opened. The usual steady crowd flocked in to enjoy the fishing and outdoors expo for the afternoon. Numbers swelled into the evening with huge crowds present for the evening’s activities. There had been bigger event numbers in the past but never before had so many chose to attend the night's festivities due to the great weather. After an informative event briefing, the drawing of the first boating package took place. Brent Sheather of Young was the lucky winner and celebrated accordingly with his travelling fishing party!
At the close of registrations Saturday morning, 2492 eager anglers (2204 Adults, 288 Juniors) had nominated. With new rules in place in regards to fish measuring and verification, it was going to be a case of wait and see what was caught for the day. Rules stipulated that anglers had to photograph and release their fish upon capture and then return their photo’s for verification at day’s end.
Saturday evening saw masses converged on the verification tables, cameras / phones in hand, all wanting to show and recount their day’s capturers. There was no better set of photo’s than those produced by Lance Veivers from Qld. Lance had landed himself a beautiful 103.5cm Cod that saw him the one to catch going into Sunday. The word had spread that a 135cm monster had been caught but unfortunately that was a small mistake from the measuring master who had read the tape measure wrong (who is a school teacher, not a tradesman!) Thanks to Lance’s honesty, this small mistake was pointed out and the event continued as usual.
Saturday night’s crowd was a block buster with conditions being perfect once again. Boats beer and banter made for a super evening at Lonsdale Reserve, event HQ.
Sunday morning saw anglers greeted with perfect conditions once again. Headaches and hangovers put pay to allot of well laid plans but the door was still open for someone to pip the leaders. Unfortunately this was not to be and Saturdays leaders remained at the top of each section. Lance Veivers took the chocolates for his 103.5cm beast whist Josh Hughes came out on top in the juniors with a healthy 88cm Murray Cod. The winners in the "Yella" sections were 58 & 54cm respectively whilst a monster Carp of 85cm took out the longest Carp prize.
Interestingly, Cod numbers were the second highest in the history of the event only finishing behind last year's total. 522 legal size cod were verified whilst 426 Yella's were captured and 275 returned to collection points. Again 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 sixth year with 70 "Yakkers" taking to the water via paddle or pedal. Tony Moriatis had a good day on the water landing a 75cm Cod, long enough to help him claim the title of 2016 Australian Canoe & Kayak Cod Fishing Champion.
The lucky winner of the major boat raffle was Rod Hume of Griffith.
One of the most pleasing aspects of the event was a phone call received by NSW Fisheries who complimented all anglers on their compliance with all fishing rules. They also noted they did not see 1 dead fish and decided to leave and head to the Murrumbidgee river in search of those trying to flout the law. It's actually the first year we haven't heard any propaganda BS post event from other outside jealous parties so we must be doing something right grin
To round out the weekend, the 12th “Cod Classic Golf Championships” took place at the magnificent Black Bull course. 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 day. Under the "Handicap Equalisation System" Dave Silva was the eventual winner with a 91-43-48! This left Dean Turner wondering how he could manage to have a super 73 off the stick (handicap 4) and still manage to be 21 shots off the pace!
On a sad note, great friend of many Cod Classic competitors and long time participant, George Jovanovic passed away on the Saturday evening of the event after his battle with a nasty illness. George's family have mentioned he may have passed earlier but were sure he was holding on to see another Cod Classic. George Jovanovic, competitor 1352, RIP.
Cheers, Tony Bennett, 2016 Cod Classic Event Director, Mulwala Football Netball Club.