Rod Mackenzie is regarded as one of Australia’s foremost authorities on catching Giant Murray Cod but it hasn’t always been that way.
Rod grew up in the western district of Victoria where as a boy he cut his teeth fishing the small creeks and rivers for anything that would put a bend in his rod or grab hold of a piece of meat on a bit of string. You name it, Rod caught it – eels, Redfin, Tench, Trout, Minnows, Yabbies, Crabs and Freshwater Spiny Crayfish to name a few. Nearby coastal waters like Portland, Narrowong and Yambuk provided an educational playground for collecting bait and fishing from beach, boat and estuary. These early lessons laid the foundations for a love of fishing that has no bounds.
A variety of jobs that included 14 years as a shearer, saw Rod travel much of inland Australia, shearing on many large stations located within the Murray Darling basin, home to an Australian icon, the mighty Murray cod. After a hard day on the boards, Rods shearing comb was swapped for a rod and reel and it was off to the local creek where he could be found casting lures along the bank until dark. Many a giant cod was hooked and landed, each a prize captured in the memory before release. This is where his passion became an obsession that continues to this very day.
Rod developed an interest in photography for no other reason than to share the beauty of these giant fish with other anglers. He exchanged the handpiece for pen and paper and swapped the shearing life for that of a would be photojournalist. His passion for catch and release is and has been expressed through his writings and accepted by a growing audience of like-minded fisho’s. Rod has accrued a great wealth of knowledge on his sport and is willing to share this information in his writings and to those that ask.
Rod now writes for numerous magazines including AFN Fresh and Saltwater Fishing, Alex Julius’s N.A.F.A., North East and South West Angler magazines, N.S.W. and VIC Monthly, Annual glossy publications and three newspaper columns for regional based papers in Mildura, Swan Hill and Kerang. He also has his own column in Freshwater Fishing and does a weekly radio report on Steve Coopers fishing program- Casting Off on Sport 927.
To help promote his cause, Rod has recently completed, in conjunction with several fellow fishers, a DVD capturing the essence of fishing for large Murray Cod and the elation of the release. Cod Almighty is to be followed up by another DVD this season containing more of these mighty fish as well as more techincal information.
Rod has made guest appearances on several fishing programs that include Rex Hunt’s Fishing Adventures and Rob Paxevanous’ Fishing Australia. He is a member of the Penn Pro Fishing Team, does product testing for several lure companies and delivers catch and release talks at tackle stores as well as the Yamaha Cod Classic.
Rod is well respected amongst his journalist peers for his knowledge of the big Murray Cod and where to find them. This is driven home when fellow fishing journalist Steve ‘Scoop’ Cooper is asked ‘Where is the best place to catch big Murray Cod?’ his standard answer is ‘The front seat of Rod MacKenzie’s boat’, and he isn’t joking.
Rod lives in northern Victoria about forty minutes drive from the Murray with his loving family. With their support Rod is hoping to forge a living from Australia’s small but highly competitive fishing industry. He has more than twenty cover shots to his credit - something very few self-taught photographers can lay claim.
While this is but a fleeting insight into one of Australia’s guardians of the mighty Murray Cod, if you have ever had the chance to spend a night beside a campfire partaking in a couple of sherbets, you will realise the wealth of knowledge Rod posesses and his willingness to share.