Wind the clock back 12 months and there was a multitude of media warnings scaring many away with dire weather predictions, what we didn't see this year were the same pessimists promoting how great the weather was looking for this year's event, it was magnificent. Where the phone rang off the hook last year with cancellations, it was the total opposite with many wanting to register right up to the very last minute.
2 pm Friday saw the gates open with a perfectly still day greeting those in attendance. A strong crowd flocked in to enjoy the exhibitors who had set up for the fishing and outdoors expo. A large display put together between Yamaha, Quintrex and Solar City Marine gave anglers plenty to drool over whilst the tackle sales tent and numerous outdoor exhibitors gave participants many options when it came to parting with a few dollars.
When briefings got underway 8 pm on Friday evening, around 3000 people were enjoying a balmy spring evening under perfect conditions. After an informative event briefing, the drawing of the first boating package took place. Mick Millington of Melton was the lucky winner, his weekend was off to a great start.
Come Saturday morning a perfectly flat Lake Mulwala allowed all anglers an easy launch and a wonderful start to what was to be an extraordinary days fishing. Questions were being asked how well the lake would fish directly after a drawdown and the simple answer was "brilliant". Saturday evening saw large numbers converged on the verification tables to have their captures recorded and entered into the many prize draws that were on offer. Sitting at the top of the leader board after day 1 was Brodie Harrison with a monster that stretched the tape out to 115cms. A nervous night's sleep was ahead for him waiting for the challengers to come. For the juniors, young Mitchell Munro was in pole position with a healthy 96cm specimen.
Sunday morning conditions could be described as "tricky" as the wind blew and rain came down fairly heavily in patches. Only the brave (or silly!) took to the lake but as usual, they were rewarded. This was an understatement when it came to Cohuna angler Rhonda Mace. Taking cover from wind and rain she took up under a willow tree. Whilst there her tasty offering of a Bardi grub was gobbled up by a 102cm specimen. Not big enough to have her on the leader board but a great fish in its own right. Once conditions settled she and partner Tony decided to troll. After only 100 meters or so her lure was smashed and this time she proceeded to land a 117cm monster. An unbelievable return for an hour's fishing! This Cod launched Rhonda to the top of the leader's board and helped her claim the longest fish title for the 2018 Yamaha Cod Classic. Mitchell Munro held on to the win for the juniors with his 96cm while 60.3cm and 55cms were the winning lengths for the adult and junior Golden Perch sections. A monster Carp of 83cm took out the longest Carp prize. In total there were 677 legal sized Cod, 88 Golden Perch measuring in excess of 45cm and 430 Carp recorded.
Thanks to Capacity Sports, the Capacity Sports “Australian Canoe & Kayak Cod Fishing Championships” entered its eighth year with 50+ "Yakkers" taking to the water via paddle or pedal. Ian Rogers had a super day on water landing a 90cm and 83.5cm to claim both 1st & 2nd places along with the title of 2018 Australian Canoe & Kayak Cod Fishing Champion. The lucky winner of the major boat raffle was Floyd Raphael of Ringwood..
To round out the weekend, the 14th “Cod Classic Golf Championships” took place at the magnificent Black Bull course. With some very ordinary golfers, "Ambrose" was the chose format to make it a bit easier on all who had had a hectic weekend and suffering a fair bit of fatigue. Ultimately Captain Darren Ryan carried his team of Dave Silva and Adam Thomson to an easy victory.
Thanks to the support from the many sponsors, donors and volunteers. Your assistance is appreciated and we could not do without it. We look forward to another successful event in 2019 where we will celebrate our 20th anniversary.
On a sad note, the fishing industry lost one of its finest over the event weekend when Gary Marsh passed after a very short battle with illness. Gary was the manufacture of "Challenge Rods", an iconic name amongst genuine fishermen who chose to use some of the best custom made rods possible. His friendly and jovial personality will be missed by many, RIP Marshy.
Cheers, Tony Bennett, 2018 Cod Classic Event Director, Mulwala Football Netball Club.