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2018 Lake Mulwala Cod Nationals

The 2018 Lake Mulwala Cod Nationals were held from March 15-18 and this event is regarded as the pinnacle of Murray cod lure fishing events in the country.

This year saw a host of guest anglers attend and the team numbers bolstered up to 33. It really was the crème de la crème of Mulwala cod fishers with past winners, big fish magnets and long-time fishers all coming together to compete.

The best part of this tournament for me is it is treated as more of a get together for likeminded anglers. Sure every team is out to do well, but after hours the tournament makes a point of keeping everything in perspective and ensures the social side of fishing is well looked after.

Each night has a different theme with bonfire and pizza night, triathalon night and yabby racing night making the nightly activities a reason to compete in themselves. All meals are provided and this takes the pressure off the teams and allows them to concentrate on the fishing itself.

This year we had three teams representing us. These were Team Zerek (Stephen Booth and Vanessa Bennett), Team Wilson (Ian Rogers and Matt Rogers) and Team Venom (Anthony Pavlou and Michael Haley).

Day 1 - Any Lure Day

The first day was sponsored by Zerek Lures and that meant that any fish caught on a Zerek lure received bonus points. This meant plenty of Live Mullets, Giant Rubies and Flat Shads were being thrown around with plenty of interest shown in the lures.

Team Zerek had a day out with Stephen Booth landing a cracking fish of 102.2cm on a spinnerbait fished off a Bone Black River BVC62XH rod matched to an ATC Combat reel spooled up with 30lb Zerek Hy-Braid and topped off with a 40lb Wilson Fluorocarbon leader. Ordinarily this fish would be a contender for biggest fish of the day, but only 20 minutes later it was nudged from that spot by a 102.9cm cod taken by Luke Quarrell. This big fish helped Team Zerek finish in 5th place for the day.

Team Wilson had a great first day, finishing in second place for the day with some sensational fishing. Ian Rogers landed 7 fish himself to give the team a great start. Their tactic was to fish spinnerbaits in the weed - a tough place to fish, but a rewarding way to fish.

Team Venom started slow with only one fish landed by Anthony Pavlou. The team finished outside the Top 10 and scored no Team Points for the day.

Day 2 - Spinnerbait Day

Day two was co-sponsored by Bassman Spinnerbaits and Edge Lures and the entire field had to fish spinnerbaits for their fish to count.

Team Wilson stuck to their Day One plan and had another great day finishing with a fantastic 16.38 Team Points to take them to the top of the Team's table. Fishing Bassman Spinnerbaits on Venom Crank Bait PE 2-4 rods the team targeted holes and channels in the weed as well as fishing snags in the weed to amass their fish.

Team Zerek had an up and down day with three fish landed in the first two hours and then disaster struck with the electric motor breaking meaning the remainder of the day was spent drifting with the wind across the flats and making the best of a bad situation.

Team Venom managed to get on the points board with a sponsor's lure fish worth 0.48 points. Not what the team wanted but certainly better than no points at all.

The big fish of the day went to Team Humminbird's Bryn Matthews, a cracking fish of 103.1cm that propelled the team into second place.

Day 3 - Hard Bodied Lure Day

Day three saw teams restricted to using hard bodied lures with the sponsor of the day being Gidgee Lures.

Team Wilson chose to use Gidgee Fatty Juniors for most of the day and again patterned the fish in the weedy shallows. Their method was solid again with the team adding another 11.41 points to their tally, giving them an unassailable lead with a total score of 36.79 points - over 15 points ahead of the nearest team.

Team Zerek had a tough day with the replacement electric motor giving them grief as well and a swag of lost fish and missed fish adding insult to injury.

The boys in Team Venom added another sponsor lure fish to their tally, but also found the going tough.

The big fish for Day Three was taken by Mick Beal at 104.4cm, bringing the total number of metre-plus fish caught in the comp to four.

Day 4 - Any Lure Dash 4 Cash Day

With a forecast 40 knots of wind, the Dash 4 Cash Day was moved to Bundalong and competitors were restricted to the river areas to avoid the lake and the problems the wind was creating.

This day belonged to Team Venom with Anthony and Michael bringing in two legal fish to the weighmaster at the ramp and securing the win for the day. This earned them 10 points and shot them into 9th place overall at the end of the competition.

Team Wilson and Team Zerek failed to land a legal fish in the short, 4 hour session, adding no Team points to their tally.

The Wash Up

Although it seemed a foregone conclusion by the end of Day Three, we were very excited to finally see Team Wilson crowned as Overall Champion Team. The team landed 11 legal fish over the competition, easily the most by any team with only 82 legal fish landed in total for the entire competition.

This win was made even more special with Ian Rogers taking out Champion Angler with 2,514.2 points and Matt Rogers coming in Runner-Up Champion Angler with 2,278.7 points.

Team Venom won the Dash 4 Cash day and Team Zerek managed to land the monster metery on Day One, so all of the teams did something special over the course of the competition.

For the competition there were 408 Murray cod landed by the 66 competitors. Within this were four metre-plus Murray cod landed, a first for the competition to see four truly big fish caught. This shows just how good the anglers are getting at fishing Lake Mulwala and how many larger fish above the 75cm maximum size are in the lake. It's exciting for the future of Lake Mulwala and the event.

Next year's Lake Mulwala Cod Nationals will be held on March 14-17. 2019 will see team numbers limited to 40 with priority given to existing teams. I'm going to tip that they'll have teams waiting for a drop out, so get in touch with the crew at Lake Mulwala Fish, Camp & Ski in Mulwala to secure your spot for next year.


Gear Used

Venom Crank Bait PE 2-4 RLFVCR4

Venom Crank Bait PE 3-5 RLFVCR5

Venom Crank Bait PE 3-6 RLFVCR6

Venom 4kg Baitcaster RLFVBC5

Venom 6kg 7' Baitcaster RLFVBC7/6

Venom Viber Raider

Live Fibre 6kg Cod Rod RLFTB6112

Bone Black River BRC64XH

ATC Combat 200 014CB200

ATC Vittatus 100


Lures Used

Zerek Live Mullet 5.5"

Zerek Giant Ruby

Zerek 7" Flat Shad

Zerek 95mm Fish Trap


Accessories Used

Mustad Fastach Clip size 3 and 4

Mustad TG77 3x Triple Grip Trebles

Mustad 36329 3x UltraPoint Trebles

Wilson Fluorocarbon

Mustad Wish Braid

Zerek Hy-Braid

Mustad Fish Grip

Wilson Fish Friendly Landing Net


Total Team Points - Top 10

Pos     Competitors                                                  Day 1     Day 2     Day 3     Day 4     Total Pts

1          Ian Rogers/Matt Rogers                               9            16.38     11.41      0              36.79

2          Kris Hickson/Bryn Mathew                           0            19.77      2            0              21.77

3          Derek Blow/Kade Blow                                0             9.44       7             3             19.44

4          Craig Leehane/Luke Quarrell                      11.75     0.48         0             5             17.23

5          Thomas Pinter/Mick Beale                          7.49       0            9.73         0              17.22

6          Chas Bunting/Sunny Martins                       5             0            9.47       0              14.47

7          Corey Goldy/Ben Faro                                0             8.44       3             1              12.44

8          Phil Keetelaar/Richard Cambridge             12           0             0             0              12

9          Anthony Pavlou/Michael Haley                   0             0.48       0.47       10.92         11.87

10        Michael Massier/Matthew Pejkovic            0             5.48       2.205      4               11.685


Individual Points - Top 10

Pos     Name                             Day 1Pts        Day 2 Pts    Day 3 Pts       Day 4 Pts       Total Pts

1          Ian Rogers                    1731                412               326.2               45                     2,514.2

2          Matt Rogers                50.2                 1331             897.5               0                       2,278.7

3          Bryn Mathew             50.2                 1779             46.7                 51                     1,926.9

4          Mick Beale                   675                  0                    1044                0                       1,719

5          Anthony Pavlou         439                  440.5           287.5               293.5               1,460.5

6          Mick Massier              89.9                 759.7           496.8               96.6                 1,443

7          Luke Quarrell              1029                276.5           50.3                 42.9                 1,398.7

8          Derek Blow                  52.1                 376.5           877.3               88.8                 1,394.7

9          Ben Faro                       52.2                 802.2           454                  46.2                 1,354.6

10        Chas Bunting               712.8              0                    478.9               92.9                 1,284.6


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