Celebrating the 23rd Yamaha Cod Classic, things were looking great for what promised to be a BIG return post Covid but then the floods hit! With them an estimated 800-1000 competitors couldn’t / didn’t come for various reasons but at the close of registrations, 1761 excited anglers were locked in and ready to go. One plus for the weekend was the outstanding weather forecast and it didn’t fail to deliver.
Gates opened 4pm Friday afternoon with numerous trade stalls, various food vendors, the first round of the Australian Pro Casting Championships along with “Cod Talk” featuring Thomas “The Captain” Pinter and Stephen Booth. This kept participants entertained and gave them something to look at Friday night. After an event briefing, the first of the lucky door prize boats was drawn. The lucky winner ended up being Matt Dempsey of Shepparton. Winners had to be present and it was found out later that the first young fella who had his name drawn out happened to be down the Ski Club playing the pokies!!
Saturday’s fishing conditions proved amazing with light winds and plenty of sun for the duration of the day. Not knowing how the lake was going to fish after a recent drawdown followed by plenty of water passing through the lake making it fairly dirty was always going to be interesting. But never fear, the “Home of the Murray Cod – Lake Mulwala” produced a plethora of Cod never seen before in numbers of Cod caught per angler. At the end of the day anglers lined up in droves to have their days catch recorded. Todd Downie from Koondrook was one lucky angler. He had his offering of a piece of chicken engulfed by a massive 118cm Cod. He was comfortably in the lead for the “Champion Angler” title Saturday night with four hours of fishing to go on Sunday morning.
Saturday night saw all competitors converge on the Mulwala Football Ground to see the evenings proceedings unfold. More than 120 major prizes were given away through junior and adult lucky door prizes and the “Mega Raffle”. The first major boating package winner on Saturday night was Nicholas Ruwoldt taking out the mega raffle. A great reward for Nicholas who had travelled from South Australia. Jamie Carns of Bonnie Doon enjoyed the serenity at Mulwala for the weekend and was lucky enough to win the Saturday night lucky door Yamaha / Quintrex / Humminbird boating package.
Sunday’s fishing conditions were perfect once again giving anglers one final chance to catch a legal sized Cod, 45cm+ Golden Perch or Carp to get themselves into the prize draws. Plenty more Cod photos were returned for verification but the only movement in the leader board came from the juniors with 6yo Ivy Stoeckel (Paringa SA) bringing in proof of capture of her magnificent 82cm Cod. This propelled her to the top of the juniors whilst Todd Downie’s 118cm remained unbeaten. Matt Rogers took out his second Hobie “Australian Canoe & Kayak Cod Fishing Champion” title landing a 65cm Cod from his yak. All up, fish numbers were outstanding with 703 Cod measuring in excess of 55cms, 70 Golden Perch measuring 45cm+ and 110 carp were caught. 63% of Cod were caught on bait whilst the remaining 37% were taken on lures.
All fishing sections winners were presented with their goods followed by many “Catch & Release” prizes for those who had caught good fish. Stephen Kirby of Toolamba was the lucky winner of the Open Carp prize draw boat. He didn’t get too excited with his speech but was stoked to be going home with a new boat! Dean Herberte of Deniliquin won the adults “Catch & Release” draw boat. He was one happy angler but could not convince his wife what he had won. She was a non-believer and thought he was telling her porkies!
A massive thank you goes out to our many sponsors and volunteers who support the Cod Classic. Your assistance is appreciated and we could not do without you.
The biggest thanks of all must go to all our loyal competitors who have supported the Cod Classic over the past 23 years. You have been the ones who have made this into Australia’s largest and most popular freshwater fishing event.
We look forward to another successful event in 2023 minus Covid and floods!
Cheers, Tony Bennett, 2022 Cod Classic Event Director, Mulwala Football Netball Club.