(Gadus Morrhua)

Perhaps the UK’s favourite target fish because of its great popularity as a fish for the table. Cod a generally know to be prepared to eat almost anything and everything that comes its way and they are generally not rated for their battling qualities. Cod may vary considerably in colour but are usually green-brown or olive grey. They will often have a light marbling pattern or spots on the flanks and back. Cod undergo very distinct colour changes that are dependant both on water temperature and their surroundings, from a light yellow/brown over sand to reddish brown over rocky areas. They have three dorsal fins; two anal fins and a feeler that protrudes blow their mouths to detect food in the sea bed. The average weight of a UK cod is around 10-25 lbs but the UK record is over 50lb.

Where To Find Them

Cod are generally widespread around the coast of Britain, but they are particularly prevalent off the coast of Scotland to where they migrate from their Icelandic breeding grounds in search of food. In Northern UK waters cod are present all year round and during late autumn and winter months in they move further south usually in good numbers with runs down the East Coast, West Coast and through The English Channel. Even venues as far south as the North Devon coast can be very productive prolonged during hard winters.

Cod and particularly larger cod are primarily bottom feeders, favouring deep water marks and from a boat they can be located over wrecks. Closer inshore cod will generally search out their food over rough ground around rocks and also on shingle beaches at high tide.

When To Find Them

As a rule of thumb it is January to December in the North and October to February in the South. However it will vary with severity of the weather and timing of the seasons.

Shore anglers in the north can catch cod all year round, but in the South, smaller cod, or codling, are considered a winter species. The Kent and Sussex coasts are some of the most productive venues for the shore angler during hard winter months.

Natural Food and Best Baits

Cod feed on molluscs, crabs, worms, squid, starfish, and other small fish. As scavengers they tend to feed on anything that comes in their direction. Lugworm, prawns, peeler crab and squid are generally the most productive baits. Big cod are also often caught on artificial eels, pirks or other types of artificial lure.

Tips and Tactics

When Boat fishing your chances will be significantly improved if you use a braided line like Ultima Power Braid. It’s lower stretch gives much better indication at distance so bites are more easily detected. It is also thinner than mono and therefore also creates less drag in fast tides. This means that bowing in the line is also reduced and bite detection is improved further.

UK Records

Shore: 44lb 8oz

Boat: 58lb 6oz