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Cod Opening Classic 2007 - Report by Neil Slater

THIS year's Yamaha Cod Classic was an absolute cracker with the weather and the fish turning it on. The last few years old 'mother nasty' made it hard, but this year we were greeted with mid thirties and relatively calm conditions.
Basically, the competition is totally catch and release for native fish and all carp caught are donated to Charlie Carp to be recycled as fertilizer and berley -as long as the freezer doesn't break down. Fish of legal length are measured at specified measure stations and must swim away to qualify for entry. There were some cracking fish measured in including a 59cm GP, a 1m cod and a few 93cm and 88cm fish.
I know a bloke 'measured in' a carp in the last 10 minutes of the competition and won a boat with it - so you don't really have to catch the biggest or best to be in with a chance.
This year I fished with a few (And I use the term loosely) 'gents' from Ballarat, Hoppa, Whitey (sounds like a rugby player). Smithy and Toddy came up from Geelong and 'cod lure virgin', Daniel Kent from Apollo Bay.
Since Kenty hadn't done a great deal of fishing with lures for natives, I was set up for a big fall. Sure enough, he absolutely smashed me with 12 or 15 fish to my 6 or so.
I put it down to beginner's luck, he had a bigger hangover than me and the fact the fish were all over red and black this year which I only had a few of.
The competition would be any organiser's nightmare with $100,000 in prizes including 6 boat, motor, trailer, sounder packages up for grabs and 2400+ competitors plus their families cramming into Yarrawonga and Mulwala for the weekend. Tony and Vanessa Bennett ran about the place organising the hoards of volunteers and in conjunction with the Mulwala Football Netball Club and the awesome sponsorships, put on a hell of a show!
Friday night spit roast was a massive hit with an estimated 8000 people packing the tent on Mulwala football ground and watch a few boats get drawn out of the hat.
The morning following the first night anywhere is always the toughest and it's funny how some anglers were a bit seasick in Saturday's calm conditions. We fished up at Bundalong first up and Kenty managed a 53cm cod directly opposite the boat ramp. I just figure, everyone was heading off to greener pastures so why not?
The Ballarat lads called up and said they were into a few golden perch downstream from the weir so since we were having a lean time, we decided to head down there and grab a few sports drinks to re-hydrate.
Well, by the time we got down there, the lads had 'measured in' about 7 or 8 GPs including one of about 47cm plus a cod.
Kenty got the ball rolling with a few cod and a 44cm GP, but his next fish was the best for the trip at 67cm taken on good old 'Sheeds' (black and red) again.
I managed a few small fish here and there and, of course, a legal length one 6 minutes after competition close time that everyone got plenty of miles out of.
Saturday night saw a similar number enjoy the night's entertainment provided by 'Flathead Fred' for the kids show and the casting competitions were a big hit.
Sunday fishing closed at 10:30 am so ramps were packed early and the fish were a bit gun shy to say the least.
Sunday's presentation and bbq was enjoyed amongst the heat and flies and everyone had a ball knowing the next number to be called out could mean a new sounder or fishing gear.
The Cod Classic is a great weekend and can thoroughly recommend it, but book accommodation early!
See you all in 2008!

Stats and Facts:

Competitors 2098 Adult - 345 Junior
Total - 2442 (-217 on 2006)

Boat Winners
Early Entry - Mark Kirton, Wagga
Cod C & R - Andrew Fromholtz, Lara
Carp Boat- Brian Meloury, Shepparton
Raffle - Kevin DeWitte, Mt Evelyn
Lucky Door - Robert Burgess, Echuca
Combined Lucky Door - Daniel Reimitz, Canberra

Fish Numbers
314 Murray Cod (- 61 on '06)
370 Golden Perch (+220)
470 European Carp (-414) - Total 1154 (-265)

Longest Cod
Adult - Ken Grant 100cms
Junior - Kyle Hodges 80cms

Longest Golden Perch
Adult - John Brady 59cms
Junior - Madison French - 55cms

Longest Carp (Open Section) 83cms

Junior Champion Angler - Harrison Sloane 1.11mtrs of Murray Cod

Lady Champion Angler - Gemma Free 93cms

Murray Cod Stats (All Murray Cod - as indicated on complete catch cards)
314 Caught & Released Adults 293 Junior 21

Most Productive Methods
Bait 127 (-125) Lures 144 (+52) No Response 43

Breakdown - Bait - Bardi's 97, Yabby's 8, Shrimp 8, Worms 7, Cheese 7.
Hard Body Lures 85 - Stumpjumper 27, Oar-Gee 21, Swagman 5, Predatek 5, AC's 5, Codger 4, Custom Crafted 3, Halco 1, Others 14 (non sponsors)
Spinnerbaits 59 - Bassman 13, Mud Guts 2, Outlaw 1, (43 with no company noted on card)

Size Breakdown
204 @ 55-59cm, 59 @ 60-64cm, 24 @ 65-69cm, 15 @ 70-79cm, 7 @ 80-89cm, 4 @ 90cm+, 1 @ 1mtr+

Golden Perch Stats(All Golden Perch - as indicated on complete catch cards)
370 Caught & Released Adults 315 Junior 55

Most Productive Methods
Bait 90, Lures 188, No Response 92
Breakdown - Bait - Worms 60, Yabby's 14, Shrimp 8, Bardi's 6, Cheese 2.
Hard Body Lures 153 - Stumpjumper 56, Oar Gee 37, Codger 6, AC 5, Custom Crafted 4, Halco 3, Swagman 2, Predator 2, Predatek 2, Schooner 1, Others 35 (non sponsors)

Spinnerbaits 35 - Bassman 5, SMAK 1, (29 with no company noted on card)

European Carp - Approximately 470 Carp were removed from the lake with the plans for them to and taken to be taken to "Charlie Carp" for processing. Unfortunately the hired cool room blew up Saturday afternoon and left them with about a ton of rotten carp.

Prizes - Upon registration, all juniors received a Stumpjumper Lure, Bassman Spinnerbait, Hooksafe and a chance of another lucky dip prize.
Throw in 11 specially autographed lures and many fishing section prizes, the kids went away with some great rewards.
For the adults there were an amazing 1400 minor lucky door prizes, 50 major lucky door prizes and many awesome fishing section prizes.

Kenty with his cod taken directly opposite the boat ramp
Kenty with his cod taken directly opposite the boat ramp
Measure stations were set up all over the lake and
Measure stations were set up all over the lake and
The place was packed Saturday night
The place was packed Saturday night
Tony, event director, was kept busy all weekend
Tony, event director, was kept busy all weekend
happiness is a new boat - and a slab of VB
happiness is a new boat - and a slab of VB

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