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Would you like to learn how to catch cod? Cod is a highly sought-after fish as it is very nutritional. It is a bottom feeder and can be challenging to catch because it can be hard to find. However, with the right fishing method, bait, and equipment, you can catch this popular and heart-healthy fish. In this article, we share information, techniques, and tips to improve your chances of catching more cod.
Table of Contents
- 1 How To Catch Cod
- 2 Cod Tackle Setup
- 3 How To Catch Cod From A Boat
- 4 How To Catch Cod From The Shore
- 5 Best Bait For Cod
- 6 Best Lures For Cod
- 7 Boat Fishing Rigs For Cod
- 8 Cod Fishing Tips
- 9 The Bottom Line
How To Catch Cod
Drift fishing can be used to catch cod. You can cover a variety of habitats searching for cod. Drift fishing is one of the popular fishing techniques to catch fish. When drift fishing, cast your line upstream and let it drift with the current. Slowly reel in the line as it drifts downward.
Trolling is a fishing method in which the boat is moving slowly and the bait or lure is placed on the hook and the line is attached to the boat as it moves slowly.
Jigging is another fishing method you can implement when fishing for cod. When jigging, you cast your line and let it reach the bottom. After you feel the spoon hit the floor, pop the rod tip up quickly for a short distance and then let the bait drop back down to the bottom.
You can do vertical jigging which is jigging up and down or you can implement side-to-side or up and down and sideways. Additionally, you want to reel down a little to keep the line tight just in case you get a bite.
4. Still Fishing
Still fishing is a simple and effective fishing method in which you put your bait into the water and wait for a fish to bite. It can be implemented on a boat, from the shore, a pier, a dock, or a bridge. Still fishing is an excellent way for beginners to get into fishing and get results.
5. Bottom Bouncing
Bottom bouncing is used to locate and attract fish. It is usually implemented from a drifting or trolling boat. When bottom bouncing, use a bucktail jig or natural bait and drag it along the bottom.
Drag the bait or lure so that it bounces stirring up mud or sand. When you get strikes, you then want to drop your anchor and implement still fishing, jigging, or casting to catch fish.
Cod Tackle Setup
A heavy-duty, fast-action fishing rod rated for 50 pounds with a length of 6 to 8 feet will work for catching cod. Use a 30 to 50-lb braided line. Use hooks from 1 and 6/0 although it depends on the bait and whether you are fishing inshore or offshore.
Use a hook from 3/0 to 5/0 hook when fishing in deep waters and use a smaller hook from 2/0 to 3/0 hook when fishing close to the shore.
How To Catch Cod From A Boat
1. Still Fishing
When fishing for cod from a boat, you can implement still fishing. With this method, you drop your bait into the water and wait for a strike. Still fishing is simple but effective of catching fish.
It can be implemented not only from a boat, but also from the shore, a pier, a dock, or a bridge. it is an excellent way for beginners to start their fishing careers.
Trolling is a fishing method that is widely used when fishing from a boat. You attach the bait or lure to the line and slowly move the boat about 3 to 7 knots.
Jigging can be used to catch cod when you fish from a boat. When jigging, you drop your line in the water and let it sink to the bottom. When you feel it touch the bottom, quickly pop the fishing rod, and then it drops back down to the bottom.
You can do vertical jigging which is up-and-down jigging or you can implement side-to-side jigging. Either way, the movement will attract the attention of the cod and it might bite at the bait taking it to be live prey.
4. Bottom Bouncing
Bottom bouncing allows you to locate and attract fish. When implementing bottom bouncing technique, use a natural bait or bucktail jig and drag it on the bottom of the seafloor. Drag it so that it stirs up mud or sand to get the attention of fish for them to strike. When you get bites, then anchor the boat and implement other fishing methods like drifting, still fishing, or jigging to catch fish.
Drifting can be done on a boat by casting your line upstream and letting it be carried with the current. Then slowly reel it in as the line drifts downward. if you don’t get a bite, you repeat the process until you are successful.
How To Catch Cod From The Shore
When fishing for cod from the shore look for areas with structures like wrecks, drops, points, cut-offs, rocky areas, jetties, deep holes, pockets, and troughs where cods may be hiding to ambush baitfish. Additionally, look for rip currents that separate the sandbars. The rip currents take along food for cod from the surf zone into the open sea.
You will often find cod coming closer to the shoreline at night as they feel more secure during the night. Hence, fishing for cod during the night can yield better results. Additionally, when fishing for cod from the shore, always make fast and regular line retrievals to keep the bait fresh and smelly.
Drifting can be used to fish for cod. It allows you to search a variety of habitats for cod. When drift fishing, you cast your line upstream and let it drift downward with the current. Then slowly reel in the line as it moves downward. If you don’t get a strike, repeat the process until you get strikes.
2. Still Fishing
You can fish for cod from the shore using still fishing. Find a pier, dock, wreck, or other structure that cod like to hide in and drop your bait into the water and wait for a bite. When you get a bite, try to hook it and reel in the line. Still fishing is a simple and effective way of fish that is ideal for beginners.
You can fish for cod from the shore by casting. Hook the bait or lure on and cast it into the waters near the shore. When you feel a bite on your line, quickly reel in the line. Casting is one of the popular methods of catching fish.
When fishing from the shore, study the water to observe the current, and identify structures that fish may be hiding in to ambush their prey like troughs, wrecks, deep holes, jetties, and pockets. Catching cod from the shore requires good casting skills and you will have to continuously work on improving your casting skills.
Best Bait For Cod
Herring can be used as a good bait for cod. Most anglers cut herrings into chunks to use effectively as bait for cod.
Anglers also use sprat as bait for cod. It can easily be found in stores but there are many other bait anglers use for catching cod. Some anglers state that sprat delivers mixed results when used to catch cod.
Capelin is also another good bait that anglers use to catch cod. Others are squid, crab, and sand eels.
4. Sand eels
The sand eel is one of the popular bait anglers use for catching cod and other fish.
5. Irish Moss
Cod also feed on Irish moss and some anglers use it successfully as bait to catch cod.
Squid is one of the popular bait that anglers use to catch cod and other fish. Most anglers cut the squid into chunks or strips to use as bait.
Crabs are also used to catch many fish including cod. Most anglers will cut the crab into parts that are used as bait.
Mussels are also used as bait to catch cod and other fish even though they may not be the easiest bait to find and are in good supply. You can find mussels on the beach or by digging in the sand and turning over rocks on the beach that are close to the water.
Clams, like mussels, are also used as bait for cod and other fish. They can be found on the beach in the sand or under rocks and other structures. It may be an issue of your time searching for them rather than spending money to buy bait.
Octopus is also used as bait to catch fish like cod. Most anglers will cut the octopus into parts to be used as bait. It is not the most common or popular bait for cod.
Nightcrawlers are also used to catch many fish including cod. It is a matter of your time searching and collecting nightcrawlers rather than buying bait. Nightcrawlers can be used successfully as bait for cod and other fish.
12. White Ragworms
White ragworms is a good bait for winter cod. Most anglers will use white ragworms as bait to catch cod and other fish during the winter months.
Best Lures For Cod
Spinners work well as lures for cod as they do a good job in shallow and deep water. You can also find them in different sizes and shapes.
Bucktail jigs are used by anglers to jig for cod and other fish.
Spoons are used by anglers, usually with stick baits, to catch many fish like cod.
4. Chrome Diamond Jigs
Chrome diamond jigs have been a favorite lure of anglers for many years. They are used for jigging in deep water and are effective in catching fish like cod, bluefish, and striped bass.
5. Tube Jigs
Tube jigs are also used to catch cod like other lures like spinners, squid, bucktails, diamond jigs, and eels.
Boat Fishing Rigs For Cod
1. Diamond Jig Rig
2. Pennell Pulley Rig
3. Two-Hook Loop Rig
4. One-Hook Clipped Paternoster Rig
5. Rotten Bottom Rig
Cod Fishing Tips
1. The cod can be found in depths of 200 to 1300 feet.
2. Live bait is the best bait to catch cod.
3. Cod is also caught using deep trolling, jigging, still fishing, drifting, and bottom bouncing.
4. Fish for cod in cooler waters.
5. Cod is a bottom-dwelling fish. You will have to fish for them in deep waters.
6. Cod mostly feeds on prey that lives on the ocean floor.
7. Increase your chances of attracting cod by adding brightly-colored grubs to your hook.
8. When the bait or jig hits the sea floor, jerk it slightly up and down to create movement. The movement will make the bait or jig appear like a living animal which will attract cod.
9. Once there is a tug on the line, pull up your rod to keep the line tight. Reel in the line if the cod seems to be swimming toward you and stop reeling if it swims away from you.
10. Don’t overload the hook with bait.
11. Use a red line as the red color disappears in the water and improves your catch rate.
12. Cod comes closer to the shore at night as it feels more secure and that can increase your chances of catching cod.
13. You can catch more cod when there are spring tides as they use the tides to find prey.
14. Cod is a fish of habit. If you find a good spot where you catch them, it is most likely their feeding spot and they will often return there to feed.
15. Don’t cover the barb of the hook when you are putting bait on your hook.
16. When the sea is calm, look for cod in white water near gullies or rocks.
17. Use two different rods. One short-range and one long-range rod. This allows you to fish two different ways and has chances to catch cod because cod may come close to shore.
18. Make sure your fishing location has muddy or dirty areas of water as cod does not like clear water.
19. If you are doing inshore fishing, the best time to catch cod is in the evening as they are closer to the shore.
20. Your chances of catching cod increase right after a storm because the storm churns up the water and the cod food settles on the seabed.
21. Use a rattle or jingle on a jig as cods are attracted to noise.
22. Fishing for cod at night can be more productive as they feel more secure at night from predators.
23. Trolling, still fishing, drifting, jigging, casting, and bottom bouncing are some of the methods used to fish for cod.
24. When fishing for cod close to the shore, look for rip currents that separate the sandbars.
25. Look for drops, points, and cut-off areas within your casting range and try to target those areas for cod.
26. When fishing for cod from the shore, you will need to cast your line at a distance that exceeds the first breakers of the surf zone.
27. Cod prefer mixed seabeds where there is a mixture of kelp, rock piles, and weed.
28. Visit the shoreline at low tide to identify structures that could be hiding areas for cod and target those areas at high tide.
29. Cod will come into the surf zone when the surf conditions are choppy with a light swell and murky waters.
30. High tide is the best time to catch cod from the shore.
31. Offshore winds will not only result in more bites and catches, but they will also improve your casting distance when you fish from the shoreline.
The Bottom Line
Cod is one of the nutritional fishes that is highly sought after by anglers. They are often found deep inshore but can be found closer to the shore sometimes and mostly at night. To catch cod, you must find the area where they are located, have the right baits and lures, and use the right equipment.
In this article, we share information, knowledge, tips, and fishing methods to help you catch more cod. If you are interested in fishing for other fishes like pollock, kingfish, and red snapper, then read how to catch pollock, how to catch kingfish, and how to catch red snapper.