Name: Atlantic Cod
Also known as: Cod, Tommy Cod, Codling.
Scientific Name: Gladus Morhua
Description: The Cod is an unmistakable fish. The colouration of a Cod is normally green to brown on its back with a distinct mottling leading down to a white belly. The top jaw overextends the lower jaw which comes with the Cods most distinct feature, a. single barbell. The lateral line of a cod is very distinct and runs from behind the gill plate all the way to the base of the tail.
Average Size: Very small Cod from around a few ounces can be caught by anglers using small hooks and baits but the big girls, which are around 40lbs, can be caught using larger baits/shads and hooks. The average size is around the 15lb mark when fishing abroad.
Where to Catch: The Atlantic Cod is very widespread species and is a favourite fish amongst sea anglers all over the world. These fish can be found around the UK shores at various times of the year with the English channel being particularly good. The cold seas in the North Sea are very good places to find Cod though with the seas off the Shetland Isles being the best place in the UK to find a big fish. For the ultimate Cod fishing though, anglers should travel overseas to countries such as Norway, Iceland and Greenland.
Fishing methods: There are many different methods to use when catching cod. From the shore, the best way to catch Cod is by ledgering using bait. Look for those times just after a storm where the sea bed has been stirred up then head out using big worm/shellfish baits on a Pennell rig and you should find some cod.
Out on the boats, the best way to catch the Cod is by fishing with shads. Head out to areas that are either known cod hotspots or look for plateaus rising up from the sea bed as Cod love to inhabit these areas. Once you find fish using the fish finder set up a drift and lower your shads down, depth marked braid is very good for this as you can fish at a very accurate depth and find the fish. Once at the depth you can work your shads by either lifting your rod slowly up and down or from side to side. This is a very good way to catch Cod as it taps into their predatory instinct and you will catch the bigger specimens by fishing this way.