Brett Evans with his first ever meter plus cod. This fish nailed the lure as it swam off the edge of a mid river rock bar.

A Hobby That Went Wrong 

When I first asked Eddie Studman how the Koolabung lure range come to be he said and I quote “It started as a hobby that went wrong”. This is typical of the Aussie bush larrikin that makes light of his own talents at the expense of providing others a laugh. Either that or kin to many lure makers, he has spent far too much time around paint- thinners and lacquer. In all seriousness though, Studman’s eye for lure dynamics is equalled only by his ability to fish at a level that leaves few species hard to pry from the drink.

Luring Big Cod


Mildura angler Jamie Robinson nailed this nice cod on one of the new metallic patterns Studman sent down midsummer.

What a great asset this must be to firstly understand the intimate effects of lure design on the fish they are used to target and ultimately have the ability to fine tune them in the field so they run at optimum efficiency. From the top end Barra guns to those that stalk our Giant Murray cod these lures are quickly finding favour amongst a broad range of anglers and just as importantly “some very big fish”. A few seasons back we did the summer cod run at several locations along the Murray River and the results were impressive to say the least.

Meet Codzilla

More than 40 cod over a meter and double that under, were scored on Studman’s lures; the 120 Codzilla the best bar none. During one particular session we had the good fortune to land an impressive 5 meter plus models trolling the shallower model through several red hot snag piles. I have been fortunate enough to see many anglers catch their first meter plus cod and in truth I almost enjoy it more than landing one myself. The exact euphoria this angling milestone delivers cannot be faked and is true of every time. Special fishing moments are those most cherished and the avid memory of an angler’s first giant cod can turn a new lure into a long lost friend with a single strike. And so it was for Brett Evans on the Murray River near Mildura.

Midwater Fish

We had just marked a large fish on the new hummingbird sounder sitting mid water several meters off the edge of a drop off. Brett had never caught a meter plus cod but that was all about to change as the lure swam off the edge and straight down the fish’s throat. It was a violent strike that laid the rod flat, stripping cord and leaving no doubt this was the one he’d been searching for. Camera in hand, I was snapping a few shots when Brett enquired on whether I might like to “forget the bloody camera and just get the net ready”.

Working larger had-bodied lures subsurface during periods of low light provides the opportunity for explosive takes from giant cod.

    There was good reason for the concern in his voice as the fish was lightly pinned by a single hook with the rest of the lure swinging free. Many years had led to this exact moment and with just one good headshake this giant could easily win its freedom. As luck would have it, the fish was led to the net and hoisted aboard. It was over an hour’s drive from where we were fishing to Bretts home town of Underbool in the Mallee, but believe me the jubilation after the catch reached home well before the phone call did.

Just Keep Casting

Later that day Brett was to land another cod over the metre on the same lure. Few of our summer sessions this season did not produce at least one or more shots on giant cod. We had thought long and hard about where to target the bigger fish during the warmer months and found that deeper water produced the most consistent results. But not just any deep water, as the areas we fished were local to towns and common holes and runs were worked hard by other anglers most days of the week. Resident fish quickly come to know the sound of a rattling bait fish at such locations and opt for lock jaw over a mouth full of hooks. For this reason we searched out mid river runs that were void of visible structure. Places that others might not think to fish and pass over on their way to the more well known spots.
Big fish in small rivers are always on the cards when casting larger lures. This one smashed the 120 Codzilla before going off its nut turning the small water into a virtual washing machine.

Big fish in small rivers are always on the cards when casting larger lures. This one smashed the 120 Codzilla before going off its nut turning the small water into a virtual washing machine.

Brett’s first cod was landed in a section of water that would see dozens of boats roar across its path every week. Not 50 metres from the boat ramp it is common of today’s well equipped cod fishos to power off in search of distant runs when in this case it was right under their noses. The look at me syndrome, while impressive rarely puts a bend in the rod. We have now landed several more good cod from this exact spot. It’s been off the trailer and on location with nothing more than the electric motor. Towards the end of summer, Studman sent down several of the codzilla lures we had been using, only these were painted in a metallic glitter.   4 Aesthetically pleasing to the eye, it remained to be seen what the fish thought of the flashy work of the artisans brush. It did not take long to find out as my lure, a metallic green model was crunched hard by a big fish. First strike on the new colours was a ripping cod well over the meter in length. Several more followed of varying sizes and by day’s end a dozen all up on the metallics with two tipping the meter goal. Always thinking, always changing; a lure maker locked in the mind of a thinking angler, what a perfect combination.

The 120 Codzilla

Mildura angler Gareth Lynch fished with us several times during the summer, his knowledge on green fish up there with the best and a string of captures to back it up. Gareth too loves the 120 Codzilla but he prefers the original timber models to the new timber composite ones. There’s something about timber he says and while I do agree, the catch rate between old and new is of a similar mark. Gareth caught his share of summer cod as we all did and in truth I believe it’s more about putting it in the right spot than anything else. In saying that, timber has a certain feel and perhaps it’s in knowing the hands on process of working with wood that makes us appreciate the lure more.

Another solid sized fish caught late in the day.


Going Deeper

As a sub surface lure we worked the shallows during periods of low light, often with great success. They cast like a bullet and are a favourite to probe the willow clad sections that offer open pockets and gaps. At day’s end and first light Murray cod sit just under the canopy and are drawn to the plopping sound as the lure finds water and the pulsing action is kicked into gear. Most strikes occur within the lure diving just under the water and the strike itself is second only to the sheer bulk of some of the honkers landed using this method. Fallen timber too offers the same promise during low light periods where pin point casts can be worked along the length of the sunken snags.

Big Fish in Shallow Water

Possibly my most memorable capture and one that is etched in fishing’s finer moments was a Murray cod that was itself of codzilla like proportions. Tucked in less than 3 meters of water, it smashed a well weighted cast that landed near the buttress of an old river gum in one of the smaller rivers we fish. The rhythmic cast and wind routine altered in an instant as the rod was torn down toward the water by a violent strike that stopped the lure dead in its tracks.

Calm Then All Hell Breaks Loose

A micro second of calm where angler and fish take stock preceded an explosion of fins and fury as the unseen giant went about carving the river to the beat of a paddle sized tail. The ensuing fight was nothing short of spectacular with giant boils of water rolling amongst the twisted limbs in a touch and go battle that lasted several nail biting minutes.

A large bony bream regurgitated by a Murray cod as it was bought to the boat depicts the standard size meal these fish inhale. A selection of Codzillas battle scarred from the summer onslaught that produced upwards of 40 metre plus cod.


John Menhennett holds a smaller cod boat side before release. While larger 120mm styled lures are designed to attract larger fish the aggressive nature is instilled in cod from the moment they are born.

To marvel at such a fish as it is led alongside the boat is to understand what it is to experience some of fishing’s finer moments. Big lures begat big fish and its for this reason alone we have done so well on Studman’s lures. Sure smaller lures catch more fish but they generally catch bugger all big ones, and this is fact measured on the amount caught this season alone by anglers fishing the same waters we fished. If you are observant, you can pick the lure sized used by most anglers from up to a 200m away when they are on the move. Rods upright in the holders travelling at full tilt with the lure wound to the tip.  

Fishing Bigger Lures

Try doing this with a large lure as you will quickly find your favourite one piece graphite a two piece set of garden stakes. You can learn a lot on the water about other anglers and the way they approach fish simply by looking. Sometimes though it’s not always practical to use larger lures and this is where the smaller 90mm models enter their own. In the current rich waters where depths rarely exceed 3m and are more consistent with 2m or less holding points for big fish are fewer and a thinking angler can generally pick them at a glance. You are not trying to draw fish from distance in such waters so even a smaller lure becomes big. 9 This model has been a ripper in many sections of the Murray River and a great option for the standing timber and shallow weed beds of Lake Mulwala. From the moment of its conception, you just knew it was going to be another fish taker. And so it was our first time out and not two hours into a casting session the 90mm shallow runner was engulfed by a giant cod that lay in wait under a branch in the heavy current.

Trolling wide was the key to most of our summer catches last season. This nice cod was trolled off a mid river rock bar. This same rock bar continued to produce multiple meter fish on consecutive visits all up by season’s end no less than a dozen over the mark.


A Huge Take 

In less than two meters of water, the take was a ripper as the water bulged like the effect of an underwater explosion. It was a great tussle as the cod used the current to its advantage but it was well hooked and within a few minutes was led to the boat before being photographed and released. Just as envisaged, the lure was created to fit a purpose and its maiden voyage was proof in itself that good lures are made right here for the very waters we fish.
While small fish will regularly strike big lures it’s been my experience that big fish are less likely to strike small lures.

While small fish will regularly strike big lures it’s been my experience that big fish are less likely to strike small lures.

Aussie Lures For Aussie Icons

I have been privy to a lifetime of such encounters and these are just a few that have been brought to bear through the use of the Koolabung lure range. Once again a great Australian product aimed at Aussie anglers and the fish they catch. If you are addicted to cod then welcome to Codzilla country where that next giant green back primed to smash your lure is but a short cast away. If the definition of a hobby that went wrong is a range of Aussie made lures right up there with the best, then I guess Eddie’s sense of humour has been honed by 25 years making and designing some of the best native fish lures there are.  
Rod MacKenzie

About Rod MacKenzie

One of the most passionate anglers you will meet, Rod simply loves his fishing and is eager to share the wealth of knowledge and experience he has picked up over the years.


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