It’s still dark as we boat our way down the Murray River to catch the early bite. A thick fog hangs like an impenetrable curtain cutting visibility to mere metres as the torch light reflects a wall of white.

Our speed is an idle, but fast enough in the current rich waters as numerous giant snags glide within feet of the gunnel. Out of the darkness another appears not unlike a scene from the blockbuster movie Titanic only played on a much smaller scale. On board are international Singaporean anglers Isaac Tang and Ng Yam Pin, their mission on this trip to land a giant Murray cod.

I had picked a bank the previous evening that hung heavy with old snags and looked for all it’s worth a prime location for big fish.

The plan was to be in position at first light and work the area with large surface lures — a ploy that had been working well the past few weeks. Neither of these anglers had caught a big Murray cod before, and the expectant look of excitement was only overshadowed by the sound of chattering teeth in the morning chill.

Used to the tropics, the icy cold pre-dawn temperatures were somewhat of a shock to the boys who were slightly under dressed in light clothes and crocs.

We arrived at our chosen spot right on cue and with just enough light to make out the snags the large lures were cast into the semi darkness landing with a heavy splash.

The lures paddling sound amplified in the early morning still was broken by the bird song that signals the start of dawn.

Time and time again the lures would return to the boat ‘unscathed,’ only to be re-cast into the next likely looking hole.

Midway back to the boat Pin’s lure was engulfed in an explosion of water that ripped a hole in the morning calm. The waters churned as the unseen giant rolled beneath the surface and the rod loaded tight.

This is high octane fishing when an explosive take instantly takes your mind from other distractions like the numbing effects of the morning chill to the task at hand.

Heart in your mouth the fight is on, and you know it’s a big fish simply by the take and the water the fish moved.

Pin handled the large fish with the great skill of a seasoned angler and within a few short minutes he was holding his first giant Murray cod.

A field tester for Mustad hooks, Pin has travelled the world catching all manner of big fish and loves the thrill of the unexpected.

It is imperative that the Mustad Company understand and therefore are able to create the best hooks suited to different species and a lot was learnt from this catch, he said.

Later that day, as the sun slipped below the horizon, Tang too hooked and landed a monster cod from the surface.

Both happy anglers have promised to return as they are now hooked on our most iconic native fish and would like to catch even bigger ones.

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