Tying Flies for GooDoo

Guest Blogger: Mike Cline, Bozeman, Montana

In preparation for several days of angling for GooDoo, the indigenous name of the Murray Cod, I’ve been filling a large fly box with a variety of patterns that I trust will connect with a respectable sized cod. In March 2020 I’ll be fishing in Eastern Victoria, Australia with local guide Cam McGregor of River Escapes on some of the tributaries of the Murray River. Compared to trout flies, researching GooDoo flies has been a challenge. There are few if any specifically tied for cod with well-known names, but among them there are some common features that appear routinely.

Number one is hook size/strength. GooDoo are large, strong, voracious apex predators that have a feeding style that can be merciless on hooks. They are ambush feeders that employ an “implosion” method of feeding. Apparently, they rush their prey mouth wide open sucking the prey into their mouth with a rush of water flowing through their flailed gills. As the prey is being sucked into their mouth, they rapidly turn using their paddle like tail and return to their ambush sight. From what I have gathered, their style of attack plays havoc with fly hooks. A light wire hook doesn’t have a chance. Although they don’t have choppers like pike, strong bite tippets—30-60 pounds are common to deal with the brutal way they attack flies. Cam McGregor’s number one advice to me was to tie on strong, heavy wire hooks in sizes ranging from 3/0 to 8/0. I’ve tied the majority of my GooDoo flies on Umpqua Beast Hooks in 4/0 and 5/0.

Number two is general fly size. Three to six inch flies are routine. GooDoo are opportunistic feeders and from what I’ve read will eat just about anything that moves and can be caught in their massive mouths. Although baitfish make up the majority of their diet, small birds, mammals, crustaceans, amphibians, etc. are not passed up. Flies with bulk, movement and large profiles are the norm.

Number three is that most GooDoo flies display lots of lively action. Rubber legs, long flashy materials, marabou, fur, etc. make up most GooDoo flies. Articulated flies with stinger hooks are not uncommon among GooDoo fly anglers.

Fly color doesn’t seem to play as big a role as you might think as I’ve seen GooDoo flies tied in bright white all the way to black blacks. Since GooDoo can be found in small crystal clear tributaries as well as murky big river and lake waters, effective fly color is probably more dependent on the water conditions than the emotions of the ravenous GooDoo.

Fly style pretty much follows the standard predator style flies—large profile baitfish, deceivers, and clousers. Topwater flies—gurgers, sliders and poppers are also productive. Since GooDoo, especially in smaller tributaries hold tight to structure—most commonly downed trees, many GooDoo flies have weed guards of some type.

In reality, flies tied for Musky, Pike, Bass would probably do well in GooDoo land as long as they are tied on stout hooks, but it’s fun to put together flies for a completely new target species. Here’s a selection of GooDoo flies I’ve tied for the March 2020 adventure in Australia. All these flies are tied using either 200 GSP or UTC 210/280 threads.

GooDoo Gurgler

Gurglers are a pretty simple pattern. Because of the hook size, these were tied with 4mm closed cell foam and body of medium polar chenille or bait fish emulator flash. The tail is a combination of flash, foam legs and Finn Raccoon.

GooDoo Mouse Slider

This is one of the easier patterns to tie as it has but three primary materials—two of which I am using for the first time. The legs are made from knotted Chicone’s Fettuccine Foam. The body is made from layered Finn Raccoon fur and a Double Barrel Foam popper body tied slider style with 2mm foam ears.

Articulated GooDoo Deceiver Flatwing

Deceivers are a classic baitfish pattern that are hard to argue against. The deceiver style is so versatile and easy to tie. Flared hackles and flash for the tail, fillout a body with hair, chenille and flash and add some form of head and eyes, the deceiver style provides for a lot of variation. An adaptation of Dan Blanton’s Flashtail Whistler pattern is the addition of long thin grizzly hackles along both sides of the fly. I tied the GooDoo Deceiver Flatwing with Grizzly saddle hackles and medium or long polar chenille bodies. Heads and eyes were crafted from Fish Skull Fish Mask and Living Eyes.

Articulated Goo Doo Slider

Very similar to the Flatwing above, this 6 inch long beast was tied on a 5/0 Beast Hook with 25mm Articulated Fish Spine and #4 811 Firehole Stick. I used a combination of EP Gamechange fibers, Just Add H2O Polar Fibre and Baitfish Emulator Flash for the tail and body. The foam head is an Large Black Foam Diver Head.

Goo Doo Jig

 Tied on a 4/0 Beast Hook with dumbbell eyes and weed guard, this is a flashy bunny leech variation. A zonked rabbit tail is underlaid with rubber legs. The body is zonked rabbit palmer with large polar chenille.

I’ll be slinging these dudes around with a fast 8-weight saltwater rod lined with either an SA SONAR 30 Warm 300 grain sink tip or SA’s new SONAR Titan Tropical Clear Tip. In some waters many GooDoo anglers recommend 9 and 10 weight outfits as these fish can be of monstrous size. I am going to take my chances with the 8-weight and 30-40 pound tippets. Will see if the flies hold up and who wins—GooDoo or me Regardless the flies have been fun to tie.

3 thoughts on “Tying Flies for GooDoo

  1. Noslimeslinger

    That must be one heck of a thrill to catch one of those on a fly! How big do they get? Are they as good to eat as any other cod? Do they go to sea or stay in fresh water? Do they freeze and store as well as other tasty cod we buy in the grocery? Have a safe and productive trip.

    Reply
    1. Mike Cline

      Completely unrelated to the Atlantic Cod we know well. The Murray Cod is the largest of 4 species in the genus and is entirely a freshwater species. It is indigenous the Murray-Darling River system that flows off the western slopes of the Great Dividing Ranges in NSW, Victoria and South Australia and found nowhere else. Because it occupies the clear lower portions of headwater tributaries as well as big lowland main streams, size varies, but 2’-3.5’ specimens are not uncommon. The record is 5’9” at 249 lbs. Indeed they are supposed to be good eating, thus one of the reasons they have been pressured throughout their range by commercial fishing (now Banned).

      Although I don’t actually have a bucket list, this is one species that clearly is a bucket list fish.

      Reply
      1. Michael Vorhis

        By observation, the name “cod” (just like “bass” and “perch” and many other names) seems to be used for a wide array of largely unrelated species.

        Long ago on my own travels down under I came upon an ocean pier under which locals had occasionally caught multi-hundred-pound “cod,” and they had newspaper clippings to prove it. I myself hooked into something there one night that broke 50-pound line like it was an emu feather. I never saw it. But I suspect that was a true cod, or maybe a grouper. Never knew, never will.

        Best of luck with the GooDoo.

        – Mike

        Reply

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