Our Pilgrim ancestors named my home turf Cape Cod for good reason. Catching Atlantic cod didn't require a whole lot of effort and cod fishing season was year-round. We love fishing for cod because their white, flaky meat is delicious tablefare. Here are 5 ways to put more cod in the boat.
1. Cod Fishing Hot Spots
Got to hotspots like New England, Alaska, and the Pacific Northwest. Atlantic cod are caught in New England while Pacific cod are caught on the West Coast.
2. Go Deep
As a fish species, cod like deep water which ranges between 100-250 feet in depth. They're ground fish, so in order to catch 'em you'll need a stout jigging rod with a conventional reel. A 5-8 foot fast-action rod for 50 pound line is perfect. The stiffer the better. With so much line out it's best to use braided dacron or synthetic monofilament lines that don't stretch. They'll move your jig or bait more responsively, and that means less work for the angler.
3. Cod Jigging and Bait
Vertical jigging with Diamond jigs or Hopkins lures is one way to catch cod. Keep your finger on your spool and let out line until the spool stops. Lock the lever, take a few cranks of line to get your jig off the bottom, and slowly pump your rod up and down.
4. How to fish for cod with bait
The most common cod fishing rigs involves bait. Heavy sinkers in the 3-ounce plus size put your bait on the bottom. The best baits for cod fishing are sea clams, squid, and mussels. Use a 100 pound swivel, a 50-60 pound mono leader and a 4/0-7/0 hook.
5. Time of year
Recreational cod fishing season is open all year. Cod like the upwelling found in shelves where the water goes from deeper to shallower. Currents are strong too, and that extra weight saves time. Pick your weather, because fishing in a 12-foot ground swell isn't a whole lot of fun. If you are planning to go fishing this season, make sure you have your fishing license on hand.
There are so many great recipes to use on your cod, but know this; the only way you can make a bad meal out of such a tasty fish is by overcooking. Enjoy!
Tom Keer is an award-winning writer who lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. He is a columnist for the Upland Almanac, a Contributing Writer for Covey Rise magazine, a Contributing Editor for both Fly Rod and Reel and Fly Fish America, and a blogger for the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s Take Me Fishing program. Keer writes regularly for over a dozen outdoor magazines on topics related to fishing, hunting, boating, and other outdoor pursuits. When they are not fishing, Keer and his family hunt upland birds over their three English setters. His first book, a Fly Fishers Guide to the New England Coast was released in January 2011. Visit him at www.tomkeer.com or at www.thekeergroup.com.