COD FAMILY: Cod, Codling, Atlantic Cod

Scientific name: Gadus morhua


The Atlantic Cod is a benthopelagic fish of the family Gadidae, widely consumed by humans. Commercially known as Atlantic cod – or codling, for the smaller of the species.

Like other members of the same family of round-fish. The cod have three dorsal fins, two anal fins, and a very long caudal fin. The lateral line on the sides of the cod, is a creamy white in colour and is bowed over the pectoral fins.

Cod have a long barbell on their chin, which is normally shorter than the diameter of their eye.

Atlantic cod colours can differ depending on its habitat. Cod located in open, deep-water areas are usually a mottled, light yellow brown in colour. While cod located in kelp close to shore can be a very vibrant orange yellow to a dark orange pink in colour.

Atlantic cod can grow more than 45lbs in colder waters toward Iceland and Norway, the land of the giants! In British waters, the average catch size is 2-8lbs from the shore. During the winter months, larger cod can be caught, ranging from 5lbs-12lbs.

Anglers fishing the north-east of England, venture in freezing conditions in hope to land a double-figure cod from some of the best locations in the country. The north-east of England and Scotland can be classed as the Cod capital of the UK during the winter months.


Cod Fishing Grounds


Cod populate all grounds around the UK. Typically, beaches, rocks and muddy estuaries. Various UK locations and marks you fish will affect the size, colour and amount of Cod in your chosen area to hunt for these bearded warriors of the fishing world.

  • Sandy or shale beaches can offer great sport for Cod fishing. When fishing a beach, look for vantage points such as sand bars, gullies and runs, which can offer great spots for the feeding Cod.
  • Big kelp gullies are prime ground for Cod or gullies that never empty. This sort of fishing can be heavy on tackle loss. Main baits for this type of fishing mark are Crab, Mussel and Cart.
  • Rock and kelp can provide some of the best places to target Cod as they hunt for Crab.
  • Rivers and estuaries – This type of fishing mark doesn’t give much away in respect to vantage points. Often, they just go up and down on the tide marker and never really show much of the bottom. So, targeting Cod in these places can be difficult.

Cod habitat range from the shoreline down to the continental shelf.


Cod Fishing Tips


Always check the conditions when fishing for Cod. The wind direction and tide play a very big part in fishing for these so be sure when on the hunt for your target species. Cod move into the shore after a big blow, so if the winds are pushing into the crashing sea to your area, then it’s also dislodging the natural bait. These are the best times to fish for Cod – especially during Winter, when the bigger Cod will swim close into the shore to feed.


Effective Cod Bait


Cart and cart wings is a much favoured bait when fishing for Cod. Cart, can spread the scent out, but does wash-out fairly quickly.
Cart-Wings, last far longer, utilising the toughness of the bait, especially when salted.

Other favoured Cod baits:

  • Crab, worm and fish baits are all successful and effective Cod baits.
  • Black lug worm paired with razorfish make an excellent cocktail bait from the beaches and piers, while fishing kelp and rock marks, Crab, Mussel and Cart will always perform.
  • Squid, jam packed with black lug, crab, mussel or cart can better for the deeper marks.

When it comes to fishing, do your research for the marks you are targeting your species at and never take risks. No fish is worth your life!

Keep it simple:
Think of the surroundings of your fishing mark to determine what baits will out-fish other baits.


Best Cod Fishing Rigs


We recommend using the Pulley Pennel Rig. The rig itself, acts as a pulley-system. Once the Cod takes the bait, it dislodges the weight from the grounds that you’re fishing. The Cod, takes the brunt of the weight, enabling you to lose less tackle whilst fishing for your target species.

Over very rough and rocky marks, we do suggest that you attach a rotten-bottom system, which will cause the weight to snap off, but you have a much higher chance to retain your catch.

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