Go catch a Cod!

Go catch a Cod!

Its official, cod are making a comeback!  A few years ago, if you saw one a year you’d be doing well, but these days it’s unusual to come in without having seen one. Along with their numbers, they are increasing in size as well.  During the last 12 months, there have been several cod in double figures landed and the ancient British Record for heaviest cod is definitely at risk!

Where are they?

Cod are off the coast year round but people mainly see them as a winter fish.    However, with their increase in numbers, more are being seen through the summer months. Cod can turn up just about anywhere on the coastal area.  Areas that they will be more prevalent will have plenty of food for them with muscle beds or crab ledges and this also prevents inshore trawling, again helping their numbers.

How to find one

Cod are the masters of disguise!  They love to be in water over 10 metres and they like to balance on ledges, in caves and holes.  When the tide is in flow they like to hide under kelp or behind the ledges waiting for food. 

They tend to be wary of divers and are very well camouflaged.  They tend to hang around with others and they can often have a shoal of wrasse to hide in.  If they sense that you’ve seen them, they will disappear in their own time, and you’ll need to take a shot, as they won’t be back!

Your best bet is to dive to the appropriate depth, find a likely looking ledge and be patient and wait.  If you see a shoal of wrasse, take a really close look.  One of them will probably be a cod trying to give you the slip.  Sometimes you can catch them in holes, wrecks and caves too, take a closer look at that kelp, it might hide a well camouflaged cod.


Nothing more to add – cod is one of the most popular and easily prepared fish with a most fantastic meaty flavour. It just has to go with fried chunky chips and mushy peas!  Cod steaks can be deceptive with their wide girth.  If you put a cod and bass of equal length side by side, the cod will easily beat the bass in weight.

Weapon of choice

Rob Allen 80cm Carbon – 20mm band – 6.6mm spear.

17 pound cod caught in May 2011 in a wreck off Portland