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Cod
(Gadus morhua)

DISTRIBUTION
A cold water species, they are bottom feeders that roam in large shoals in the colder seas on both sides of the North Atlantic. During the winter they migrate southwards either to spawn or in search of food, and from October to April are often found in large shoals in the North Sea, the English Channel, along the Norwegian
and north coasts of Europe and around the Baltic.

They are usually found in water depths between 10 to 300 fathoms, but under favourable conditions mostly during the winter months they will move close inshore to feed in shallow water right along the beaches of our coastline.
Unfortunately the Cod fishery has been devastated by over fishing during the breeding season. This wrong has been recently put right by the EEC who have banned fishing for Cod during the breeding season. Hopefully the species will no make a return in numbers in the coming years.

SIZE
On this side of the Atlantic a good average weight is between 10 to 25lbs, but fish of around 30lb are not uncommon especially when wreck fishing. Fish under 5lb are usually referred to as Codling. The current British Rod caught record is 58lbs 6ozs captured off Whitby in North Yorkshire by N. Cook in 1992.

On the other side of the Atlantic Cod seem to grow much larger. During the early part of this century before sport fishing became popular several fish between 100 and 200lb were recorded. The largest commercially caught fish was taken off Massachusetts Coast in May 1895 and weighed in at an incredible weight of 211lbs!


FIGHTING QUALITIES
These are classified as poor, particularly when caught in depths exceeding 20 fathoms, because their swim bladders rupture when they are brought up quickly, killing the fish before it has much chance of putting up any resistance.

BAITS
Squid, mackerel strip, lugworm. Lures: pirks, jigs and large feathers.

WRECK
Most wreck caught Cod are usually captured around slack water. However this is not always the case.
Cod caught can be captured in several ways, either on baited hooks with mackerel or squid. Long flowing tracing are favoured by some with two to three hooks below the weight. size 2/0 or 4/0 long shanked hooks being a favourite size.
However most wrecks anglers favourite weapon is to use a jig or shiny pirk jangled on the sea bed by the wreck, or jigged just about the wreck, which can be exhausting. The latter is a favoured method used on the east coast of England by boat anglers. They also use red coloured Muppets which Cod seem to love.

REEF FISHING
It is difficult to target Cod when reef fishing. Most are caught by accident when either fishing for Ling or Conger.

Cod is greatly favoured as a table delicacy. All over the world people believe we British have a staple diet of Fish & Chips and nothing else! Cod being the fish.

When fishing in the summer, it is desirable to pack the fish into ice as quickly as possible, or even to fillet the fish on the boat before packing in ice. Cod tends to deteriorate rapidly in warm weather.

 

 


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