Sam with a big smile and the best cod of the trip at 86cm.

Doing it different at Glenlyon Dam

Pitto got the ball rolling with the first cod that crunched the Ecogear ZX40 vibe.
Schools of yellowbelly were marking up on side imaging on the Humminbird sounder.
All the yellowbelly caught were in good condition indicating abundance.

After years of reading the reports of fellow Bush N’ Beach Fishing writer Brian Dare, we decided on a trip to Glenlyon Dam. This was a big gamble for me as I’m a tidal saltwater guide and have only tried fishing for the iconic inland species of yellowbelly and mighty Murray cod a few times – in rivers, not a dam.

To help with my preparation I decided to call Brian and his wife Debbie for advice on what lures to take – because I had butterflies and did not want to let my paying clients down. To my surprise, Deb suggested we bring our light rods and the Ecogear ZX40 lures I love to use on my normal trips in our local rivers. Glenlyon Dam different

Apparently yellowbelly go mad for a ZX40 and when you get advice from the legends of the dam, you take it. When we arrived at Glenlyon, we were greeted by the Dares at the kiosk and were given an indepth rundown on the areas we should focus our efforts. Then Brian asked if we would like to see something awesome.

Or course we quickly got back in my truck and followed Brian up towards the dam wall, where we saw something very special – a monster male cod guarding its nest of fingerlings. With the thought of watching the huge cod embedded in our minds, we decided to throw the boat in the water and have a quick flick for a couple of hours before dark. To get the lay of the land, we decided to troll a couple of big deep diving minnows around the points with no success, and then I spotted fish on the sounder. Glenlyon Dam different

We swapped rods and flicked out a few ZXs at the spot fish were marking, with the result of three nice yellowbelly hooked as the sun started to set. After a few beers around the campfire and a great sleep in our clean comfortable cabins, we were back on the water early the next morning. The plan was to mix casting and trolling big lures for cod but once again we had no success, so we decided to replicate the previous afternoon’s method and cast the ZXs and small soft vibes, which once again was a straight up success on a few fat yellowbelly.

After moving around and exploring other areas, the clear image of a big cod marked up on the side imaging, so the boys threw several repetitive casts with the heavy gear at the snag the cod was holding on… but again, no luck. It was frustrating! For giggles, Pitto swapped rods and cast a ZX on 6lb line into the lair and whack! Glenlyon Dam different

The cod grabbed it and all hell broke loose on the boat. After a long hard-fought battle on ridiculously light gear, the fish came to the surface and a big fat 76cm cod was in the net. A few high fives and hearty cheering later, we decided we should go up a class to 12lb braid and 12lb leaders, and stick to casting small vibes for the rest of the day, as well as tomorrow – our last day on the dam.

This worked well, though we had to fish with very light drag settings so the small assist hooks on the lures didn’t straighten during the fight. We finished our trip with four cod between us, with the biggest being 86cm and an abundant number of quality yellowbelly. I will definitely be going back to Glenlyon Dam, and would recommend a trip there to all anglers. Glenlyon Dam different

My wholehearted thanks go to Brian and Debbie Dare – for their greeting, care, knowledge and solid advice on the dam and the fish that thrive in it. I would also like to thank Phil Lawlor from a neighbouring cabin, who found and returned a rod and reel that had bounced out of the boat and landed on a track from the boat ramp. Phil also makes great lures and leaders called Big Damn Cod Creations, so check out his high quality products.

Back to the home front and a couple of tips for this month on the Tweed River. Water is warming up, so casting surface lures around shallow flats should produce nice whiting, with the odd flathead on patrol, ready to rise and crash a surface lure. Early morning and late afternoon tide changes will be worth trying with lures and live bait for mangrove jack. And big eye and giant trevally will be moving up and down the river in search of bait schools. Glenlyon Dam different

Thanks again everyone… I look forward to talking to you next month.

Click here to learn how to catch other fish on blades.

About Brad 'Smithy' Smith

Smithy has been working as a full-time professional fishing guide for over 20 years, which makes him southeast Queensland’s and northern NSW’s longest-serving guide. Above all the commitments Smithy has in the charter industry, his overriding passion has always been to pass on his specialist experience to anglers and teach people of all ages and angling abilities the correct techniques required to catch all the Gold Coast’s estuary species on a variety of different lures. Smithy’s unique charter operations guarantees you will catch fish on lures or you don’t pay.

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