We’re trying out a new concept for our site where we interview anglers who we spot on social media, who have been lucky enough to catch a fish of a lifetime. If you have landed something special or see someone who has, make sure you email us via the contact page.
LureAddicts.com caught up with Sam Hancox after seeing his recent capture of a monster Murray Cod doing the rounds on Facebook. We set him up for an interview to see exactly how this went down, and what it takes to catch a trophy fish like this!
What is you’re name, your age and where are you from?
My name is Sam Hancox and I am 23. I am originally from Dubbo in the Central West of NSW but have now been living in Canberra for roughly 5 years.
How long have you been fishing?
I have fished for as long as I can remember! My fishing experience began on both the Macquarie and Talbragar rivers around Dubbo as a very young kid. These days were mostly filled with worms and big carp. Growing up, any spare time was always spent on a waterway somewhere trying to fool any sort of freshwater fish that would keep my interest.
How often do you go fishing?
I go fishing as often as I can! I would say that I fish on average 2 or 3 times a week. I often spend a full day during the week floating around a dam somewhere and try to sneak in a few hours on the river of an afternoon or morning a couple of times a week. I throw in quite a few trips to further afar dams that generally last anywhere from 1 night to a week or 2 also. If i could get out more there is no doubt I would.
What is your favourite species and why?
My favourite species is by far the Murray Cod. This fish has been my main target for at least 10 years now. The places you end up chasing these fish in are often amazing. The people you spend time with chasing them are always even better! I enjoy the challenge of outsmarting the big old fish that have seen all the lures in the world, twice. The power that they can show is just outstanding and the experiences you have when you encounter a big fish always leaves you wanting more! Landing any cod feels like an achievement and chasing these fish in places such as Googong, where they are extremely tough to fool, gives me such a buzz. One of the other main reasons I love these fish is the way in which they feed. Seeing a big fish explode on the surface is what you fish for! Knowing that they will happily knock off a duck, a lizard or basically anything that swims past them makes them such an awesome predator.
How big was this fish?
This fish went 128cm. At an estimate it would have pushed very close to that 100lb mark. However, without measuring I will never know, but that does not worry me. The most surprising attribute on the fish was the absolute giant size of its head! A mouth that would fit a bowling ball and the width of its head was amazing! I would love to know some of the meals this fish has enjoyed within its life!
Where was it caught?
It was caught in Googong Dam. A small electric power only dam located not far from Canberra. It was caught on a shallow bank in no more than 3 meters of water. Nothing spectacular about the location of the fish as most of the banks around Googong are very similar with sticky, shrubby trees covering much of the casting zone.
What tackle were you using?
This fish was taken using a Nitro 4-6kg 6’6” Undertaker baitcast rod, and a Shimano chronarch CI4 loaded with 40lb PowerPro braid to a 40lb flurocarbon leader. Both the rod and reel performed extremely well during the fight in which the fish gave an extremely good account of itself. I find the Nitro the perfect rod for throwing the bigger, heavier lures I use for chasing these bigger fish. A super big Gafman net also gave me a huge advantage landing this big fish on my own.
What lure did you catch it on?
A Fat Yella Spinnerbait!! In this case it was a 1 ounce black spinnerbait with a big single gold blade. It was bulked up with a large black paddle tail plastic and a stinger hook with the aim of enticing a big fish. These big spinnerbaits are perfect for dam fishing, particularly Googong. The heavier head gets the lure down in the face of the fish and due to the clear water I have found darker coloured lures to generally work better, there are always exceptions! Larger blades put out a bigger thump in the water that you can always feel through the rod tip, hopefully catching their attention.
What was the technique?
Casting the banks has always been the most productive technique for me in dams. I had worked my way along a bank casting as close to the bank as possible and slowly working my spinnerbait back to the boat. Landing casts in between and very close to the trees where they are looking to ambush from drew the strike. Slowly ticking that big blade over and working it low and slow.
What was the weather doing?
This particular day was pretty horrible weather wise. A low pressure system had a low barometer and terrible weather forecast, but when you have got the trip planned, you don’t pull out! I began fishing about 7.30am in heavy rain without a hit until around 10am. With the rain still driving down I finally connected to a fish to only drop a nice sized golden perch at the boat. Still contemplating what had happened, I connected again within another 5 casts, but this time I knew it was something serious. It goes to show that the perfect conditions don’t always work out, sometimes the worst conditions can pay off.
What are you tips for anyone looking to chase this species?
The biggest tip for anyone chasing Murray Cod is definitely to be persistent. It is important to work out what lures, times, areas and all of the variables to consistently catch fish. Persisting is the best way to work these fish out for yourself. Cod are often said to be the fish of a thousand casts. I know a whole lot more than that went into this fish and persistence and putting in some hard yards were definitely key to this capture.