December marks the return of Murray cod fishing after a three-month closed season in our rivers and the majority of our impoundments. The Murray cod is the Australian icon of the freshwater - our largest growing freshwater fish and a major target for many anglers throughout the country.
The best thing about December is not only the fact we can target these amazing creatures again, but it's also the most productive time to do so. It has been a long three months for a lot of anglers, myself included, and luckily spring is the most fruitful time to target golden perch and bass, which keeps us freshwater anglers somewhat entertained while we count down the days until 1 December.
The closed season started at the end of winter (31 August), a time when conditions can be tough, for both the weather and fishing. The open season in December offers a completely different scenario. The mercury and water temperature are on the rise, the days are getting longer and aquatic life responds right through the food chain from new weed growth to the dominant predator's mouth.
The cod have spent the last three months going through their natural spawning procedure (if conditions allowed) and they will be eager to feed back up after this process. Cod can get very aggressive over this breeding period and they can carry this aggression post-spawn.
Add in the fact these fish haven't had any angling pressure over the past three months and it's a recipe for some hot fishing action. For me, the opening weekend in December produces the most fish hands down and the aggression they show early in the season is incredible. It's not uncommon to land plenty of fish.
RIVER OR DAM
The fishing should be hot across all freshwater bodies and sometimes it's hard to decide between rivers and impoundments. Although impoundments can provide some great fishing throughout summer, early season is all about the river fishing. There is generally less water between you and the fish and the fish are more willing to unload on anything that comes within range. The low light surface bite in rivers throughout summer is one of the most addictive experiences across the board.
A great way to explore your local river system is by doing an overnight hike and the December weather provides the perfect conditions to do so. By starting at a certain location and walking as far down or upstream from this spot and then setting up a makeshift campsite for the night is the perfect way to explore a system.
This technique also allows the opportunity to be fishing the best holes at the prime times. Often I'll use this method and set up camp at a location that seems productive. This allows the spot to be fished in the late afternoon, at night and early in the morning - all prime times for Murray cod.