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2021 Lake Mulwala Cod Nationals


The 2021 Lake Mulwala Cod Nationals will go down in history as the closest run Cod Nats of all time!

The winners, Team Black Widow (Thomas and Steve Pinter), went back to back in an epic effort submitting one final legal sized Murray cod with 1 minute to go on the final day that was only 1mm over the 55cm minimum size! That 1mm pushed Thomas to Champion Angler for the comp and pushed Black Widow from second to first in the overall team's race!

To Thomas and Steve, a massive congratulations becoming only the second team in the history of the comp to go back to back - an historically difficult thing to do.

The Cod Nats

This competition is all about anglers being versatile and skilled in many facets of lure fishing for Murray cod. It rewards well rounded skill sets and anglers who can use a variety of lure types, make good decisions and fish to the final moments each day.

This year, over the five sessions, we had:

Day 1: Spinnerbait Day sponsored by Bassman Spinnerbaits

Day 2: Hardbody Day sponsored by Pimped Up Lures and Gidgee Lures

Day 3 Morning: Swimbait Dash for Cash Session 1 sponsored by Zerek and Bone lures

Day 3 Afternoon: Any Sponsor Lure Dash for Cash Session 2 sponsored by all sponsors

Day 4: Any Lure Day sponsored by Zerek and Kingfisher Lures

The importance of the sponsor of the day is clear with bonus points awarded to legal fish caught on the sponsor of the day's lures - an important addition to a team's score, especially when it was so close up the top.

To complicate matters, on the briefing night teams must choose a bonus multiplier day. This bonus multiplier means any team points scored on that day are multiplied by 1.5. If you get this right, you're pushed right into contention. If you get it wrong, you very well may have thrown the tournament away!

Our Teams

We are extremely fortunate at the Cod Nats that we have several teams willing to fish under our umbrella.

This year we had four teams representing the company and they included Team Wilson (Ian and Matt Rogers), Team Wilson Silva Storm (Dave Silva and Vanessa Bennett), Team Venom (Anthony Pavlou and Michael Haley) and Fat Betty (Shane Banks and Stephen Booth).

Within that crew are four past winners, two past individual champions and plenty of big fish of the day winners.

We also have a number of gun anglers using our Venom rods including the "Mystery Man" Kyle Dalrymple, Troy Falzon and Sunny Martins - all highly skilled and talented Mulwala anglers.

Day 1 Spinnerbait Day (131 cod landed, 50 legal)

The traditional first day of the comp, spinnerbait day is eagerly anticipated as anglers love throwing these lures for Murray cod.

It was a fantastic day for Team Venom, who had their bonus multiplier day and landed two legal fish on the sponsor's lures as well as scoring the big fish bonus of 1.75 points. The team finished on top of the leader board with a massive 19.095 points for the day. The standout performance was from Michael Haley who nailed an 84cm cod on a spinnerbait fished off his trusty Venom Crankbait PE 2-4.

Team Wilson also had a fantastic day landing four legal cod on sponsor lures, used their bonus multiplier and nailed down fourth spot for the day with a valuable 11.94 points.

Fat Betty had a good day too, finishing up in sixth place for the day catching three legal fish on sponsor lures fished off the Bone Voyage BVC684XH rod.

Day 2 Hardbody Day (170 cod landed, 51 legal)

Everyone was enjoying the prospect of throwing hardbody lures at the flats cod and hardbody day didn't disappoint! A record 170 cod were landed by the field over the course of the day and it was a very happy Mulwala Football/Netball Clubhouse that evening.

Team Venom again dominated the field finishing on top of the heap in terms of fish caught with 5 legal cod taken on sponsor lures. Unfortunately for them, they had already used their bonus multiplier day and KD Blow team hadn't. After the bonuses were added on, KD Blow finished with more team points for the day than any other team.

Team Wilson and Fat Betty landed a couple of legal cod each, but they weren't big enough to push the teams into the big points at the top end of the daily scoring.

All said and done, at the end of Day 2 Team Venom maintained their lead at the top of the heap. Team Wilson filled out fifth and Fat Betty dropped back to tenth place overall.

Day 3 Session 1 Swimbait Dash for Cash (37 cod landed, 12 legal)

The Dash for Cash is a hectic shot gun start where anglers are charged with catching fish as quickly as possible and returning to the start venue with their photos to score bonus points for fish caught earlier in the session.

This session belonged to Fat Betty and more specifically to Shane Banks.

While most of the field roared off to chase their fish on the flats, Fat Betty motored 200m from the start line to fish in front of the houses near the start line at Mulwala Fish Camp & Ski. First cast and Boothy landed a sub-legal, two casts later Shane landed a slightly smaller fish and a further five casts later, Shane locked into a good fish.

This fish smacked a Bone Focus 130 lure and after a few tense moments at the boat, was measured, photographed and back in the drink within 20 minutes of the start of the session. That fish went 93.9cm and secured Fat Betty the 10 daily points on offer for the morning session.

Team Venom didn't miss out either, landing a couple of fish on Bone Focus lures also and giving them a second place for the session and a valuable 9 points.

In more good news Team Wilson came in third for the session and Team Wilson Silva Storm came in fifth - it was a Wilson domination!

Day 3 Session 2 Any Sponsor Lure Dash for Cash (99 cod landed, 22 legal)

The Afternoon Session of the Dash for Cash restricts the anglers to only using sponsor lures. It doesn't matter the type or style, just so long as the lures used are from the sponsor's stable.

This opens up the fishing with spinnerbaits, hardbodies, swimbaits, surface lures, soft plastics and everything in between being used by the field and this leads to far more fish being caught.

Unfortunately, all of our teams decided the afternoon session was the best time to have a bit of a snooze in terms of fishing, with none of our teams, apart from Fat Betty, registering any points for the session. This left the field right open and several of the top teams took advantage including Black Widow who took out the session, gaining valuable ground on Team Venom at the top.

After both sessions, the Venom Rods Dash for Cash Champion Team is awarded two beautiful Venom rods and get to hold up the perpetual trophy and in another very tight race, KD Blow (Derek and Kade Blow) edged out Fat Betty by one fish to take out the title!

After the Venom Rods Dash for Cash day our team placings saw Team Venom clinging onto first place overall, Team Wilson sitting in fourth and Fat Betty sitting in fifth place overall. Wilson Silva Storm came charging up the order into sixteenth place on the back of a great session 1.

Day 4 Any Lure (136 cod landed, 46 legal)

Day 4 appeared to be a race between three teams. At the top of the field was Team Venom and nipping right at their heels was Black Widow and KD Blow. The teams from fourth down to eighth were also in a race for final positioning, but all the interest was squarely placed on the top three teams.

Any lure day means anglers can use whatever they want, but in a tight contest like this was turning out to be, using sponsor's lures was going to be the edge needed to get over the line.

Sponsors of the day were Zerek and Kingfisher Lures and over the course of the day heaps of different Zerek Lures were thrown at Mulwala's cod.

This was the day that Fat Betty had their bonus multiplier day, so a good performance was going to be essential to their final standing and Team Venom just needed to get a couple of legal fish and finish in the points to secure the win.

Coming from back in the field, local guns Rick Doyle and Kyle Dalrymple smashed the fish on the final day, had their bonus multiplier day and used sponsor lures to amass an amazing 18.96 points for the day. Zerek Infinity blades were the choice lure for the crew but the gap to the top three was just too big and they climbed up the ladder to finish in fourth. Team Wilson and Fat Betty each scored points on the final day, but not enough to keep their noses in front of Kyle and Rick. Team Wilson ended up finishing fifth overall and Fat Betty held onto sixth place overall.

KD Blow didn't have their best day on the water, but still put 5.32 points in the bin and then it was down to Team Venom and Black Widow.

As no one knew the result, the entire crowd was hushed as MC Tony Bennett talked through the final minutes of the day. Black Widow landed and photographed a 55.1cm Murray cod and had the photos in to the weigh master at 3:59pm - 1 minute before stop fishing! This just legal cod tipped the scales wildly putting Black Widow in front of Team Venom by a mere 2.5 points, or 1 legal fish.

As heartbreaking as it was for Team Venom, it was an amazing effort by Black Widow to go back to back in this incredible tournament.

Other results

Across the tournament there are other awards handed out that anglers love to receive and the Big Fish of the Day award is one of those, Michael Haley from Team Venom won this on Day 1 and Shane Banks from Fat Betty won this on Day 3. Shane's fish also held onto to be the Tonic Eyewear Big Fish of the Comp as well.

Interestingly only three of the top 10 teams added points to their totals every day with Fat betty being one of those teams. It's unusual for the top teams to have a donut point day as this usually spells disaster, but with the exceptional bonus multiplier day scoring, it didn't hinder the top two team's performance in the end.

Our Aussie-built Venom rods performed extremely well, as did the Bone Voyage range throughout the tournament. The number of fish caught on Zerek and Bone lures was also quite staggering with the standouts being the Zerek Infinity Blade spinnerbait, Bone Focus 130 and the Zerek Giant Ruby all producing good numbers of fish for the competitors. Swapping out trebles has become the norm these days for the competitors and the Mustad 36329 3x strong ultrapoint and the TG76 1x strong KVD Elite treble were very popular additions to angler's hardbody lures. In fact the Pimped UP lures come with these two trebles already on them to give anglers the best chance of landing their fish.

All in all, it was a wildly successful tournament with an incredible 573 Murray cod landed by the 36 teams (72 anglers) across the five fishing sessions. Of these cod 181 were of legal size or better with the two biggest fish being Shane's 93.9 on Day 3 and Mike's 84cm on Day 1.

Thank you to all the organises, helpers, cooks, competitors and families. The 2021 Lake Mulwala Cod Nationals will go down in the books as the closest event ever with amazing numbers of fish.


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