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Species Spotlight: Skrei Cod

Species:

Skrei Cod

Scientific Name:

Gadus morhua

Also known as:

Valentine’s Fish

Description:

Skrei Cod looks just like a normal resident Norwegian Cod but these fish migrate over 1000km from the Barents sea to their original spawning grounds off the Norwegian Coastline. This amazing feat sees the Skrei Cod battle through freezing turbulent waters and it’s this epic journey that gives them incredible flesh that unsurpassed in taste and texture.

Driven by instinct, huge shoals turn up, in their prime, looking to lay their eggs along with millions of other Skrei Cod. This very famous occurrence happens towards the end of January and lasts until early April and the local Norwegians have been relying on this amazing phenomenon each year for many years now. The strict Norwegian catching quota means that the stock is respected and sustainably managed.

Skrei Cod is thought to have been one of Norway’s first exports and is a reason why Norwegians were able to live in the northern Territories when other food sources were scarce. It’s this reason why it’s known as “Norwegian Miracle”. Another local name that the Skrei Cod is referred to is “Valentines Fish” because it spends its life preparing for the long journey to the breeding grounds off the coast of Norway. The word ‘Skrei’ actually comes from the old Norse word for wanderer which is apt for such an amazing fish.

Average Size:

The Skrei Cod come in all manner of sizes from 10lb to over 100lb, but the average is a colossal 40lb. There are certain ways to target the larger specimen Skrei Cod which we will touch on below.

Where to catch:

As mentioned above, the Skrei Cod make their way to the coast of Northern Norway and start at the most northerly part first and then make their way down the coast. Places like Havoysund and Soroya tend to get the first run of Skrei Cod then as they move down the coast places like Vesteralen and the Lofoten islands come into their own. Then places like Mefjord and Saltstraumen get a really good run around the beginning of April.

Here is Sportquest’s Top 3 Destinations to catch Skrei Cod:

  1. Sørøya
  2. Nappstraumen
  3. Mefjord

Fishing Methods:

Fishing for Skrei Cod is ever so slightly different to your normal Cod fishing. Big shads such as ‘Big Bobs’ are commonly used. These shads are around 40cm in length and weigh a massive 720g or 1.5lb. The idea of locating the larger Skrei Cod is to drive your boat over the huge Shoals of Skrei Cod looking for little peaks on the fish finder. This peak will be above the main shoal and is normally much larger fish than what’s in the main shoal. It’s then very important to lower your shad to the correct depth which will have been seen on the fish finder. Having depth marked braid for this process is essential. Other tips are to constantly fish your shad mid-water well away from the shoal, yes you won’t catch as many fish but what you tend to hook will be potentially that fish of a lifetime.

Contact us:

If you fancy catching one of these giant Skrei Cod, then you must book a trip as the fishing is unbelievably good, and when we say to people that you will end up un-hooking Skrei Cod of 40-50lb by the side of the boat and not taking pictures, they do not believe. All we say is the only way to find out if we are telling the truth is to get yourself out there and experience it for yourself.

There are two options available for the Skrei season. The first is to book a self-drive option which will involve you and your group being in charge of your own boat and where you fish and the other option is to join one of our fully hosted Skrei Cod trips where you will get the advantages of one of our hosts on the trip who have been fishing these waters for many years.

So once you are ready to book, call one of our sea fishing team and we can advise what would be the best options for you and your group.

Tight lines,

Paul Stevens

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