We trolled at little more than a fast walking pace, the electric motor giving off a light humming noise. Behind the boat, a couple of large bibbed lures were swimming deep, about a metre off the bottom, their action pulsing through the fine braid line like a heartbeat. We were trolling in about 6.5 m of water over a rock bar that rose about a metre from the riverbed. On each pass several large cod could be seen on the sounder screen. The cod showed up as oversized boomerangs with blood- red centres fading to blue and green on the edges. These were big fish, but they weren’t cooperating.
Water clarity was okay; put your arm in the water up to your elbow and you could still see your hand. We changed lures, offered different colours and actions, but the cod had shut down, as they often do when the water level or barometer fall. A slight rise in the water can bring the cod on with a hot bite, but this didn’t happen.
What might surprise some readers is that we were fishing within sight of Robinvale, so close to town that waterski boats were coming past regularly. Cod in excess of 40 kg have been caught here. The main feature that attracts the big fish to this stretch of the river is the deep, slow-moving pool and underwater structure including rock bars and fallen timber.
Robinvale has plenty of deep water, and the river near Robinvale Bridge has also produced many big cod. The river runs for about 6 km downstream to Euston Lock and again features plenty of deep, pool water that attracts big fish.
Many anglers fish the major course of the Murray around Nine Mile Island. The island features shallow backwaters and heaps of birdlife, including eagles. It is separated from the Victorian bank by a cut that produces good numbers of smaller cod to about 10 kg and yellowbelly. Although the cut is a part of the Murray River, it is Victorian water.
For boaters who don’t mind launching off the bank, many of the roads behind the Robinvale racecourse lead to the river and there are plenty of low-lying areas. Alternatively, public boat ramps can be found next to the Riverside Caravan Park at Robinvale and just downstream of the bridge on the Victorian side of the river. Another ramp is located at Euston on the NSW side.