Catching Cod: Fishing Methods
From piers and beaches one can usually expect a good knock from a taking fish. Try to arrange it so that your bait is well on the bottom. Apart from the baits that have been mentioned already, soft or peeler crab is an excellent bait to use from the shore. If your crab is a really large one, it will be all the better.
As with bass fishing, much of the bestfishing is at night. It may seem superfluous to point this out, but make sure that you are very warmly clad. If you are warm and comfortable you will fish better. Even if you don’t feel hungry when you set out, carry some food and a hot drink in a Thermos. Some people are addicted to all-night fishing sessions. I enjoy one from time to time, in good company and with a fire going, but I have rarely found the actual fishing results to be worth the effort. For serious night fishing I prefer to select three or four hours when the best part of the tide coincides either with the first few hours of darkness or the pre-dawn hours. It’s better to have a couple of hours concentrated fishing than spend the night fooling about with barbecues on the beach.
In boat fishing, a great deal depends on picking up the right marks. If you are visiting a strange fishing station you will have to rely on your judgement of the boatmen, and it is always worth trying to find out which of them is best regarded locally before you make a firm booking.
If tides are slack,will bring the cod to you, and, as in so many other forms of boat fishing, it is enormously worth while. I’ve noticed that in boat fishing the bite is not always as positive as one might expect, even where quite large fish are involved. Strike at every little ‘pick’. It may be that you will merely hook a pouting — but it may be one of 18 kg (40 lb)!
In England, undoubtedly, the best part of the coastline for cod is that of Norfolk and Suffolk. Northwards of there, along the east coast, there seem to be plenty of fish, but they run smaller on the average. On the East Anglian coast, the area around Lowestoft is productive of good fish every year, and beaches like Shingle Street are also worth visiting. The estuaries of the Deben and the Orwell provide useful boat fishing when the weather is too rough to get outside.
The Kent coast offers good cod fishing too. Dungeness Beach, is a desolate shingle ridge which no one would visit for any other reason than cod fishing. Deal is noted for its cod fishing, both from the shore and from boats a little off shore.
do not seem to be so prominent in the western end of the English Channel, nor may they be expected in any quantity on the Atlantic coasts of Cornwall and Pembrokeshire, although in the Bristol Channel, east of Swansea, there is some good cod fishing. The North Wales and Lancashire coasts are notoriously bad for all kinds of sea fishing, but some codling are taken. What the Scottish picture is remains obscure, but, from the geographical position of the country, there should be good cod fishing, especially in the north east.
In Ireland, the easterly pattern is repeated. The Irish Sea coast, particularly in the neighbourhood of Dublin Bay, provides good cod fishing in the winter. Individual rock cod of good weight turn up off the south coast in the summer.