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Here is an article written about cod fishing around the UK coast.
Cod is the only fish, but perhaps with the exception of Bass, that really evokes primitive hunting instincts in most of us fishermen. We can’t wait for winter to set in with the frost and dark nights turning every fishing trip into a fishing Utopia. Most of us would probably sell our souls to the devil for a captured ‘personal best’ Code!
As the water temperature starts to drop in autumn, and we anxiously await those early frosts and the Northerly winds to wake up the seabed, most of us are children waiting for Father Xmas to deliver our ‘prezzies’!
Most people will have stocked up on bait over the summer because THIS Cod season is going to be OUR season…oh yes!
That bait will consist of various frozen crab baits such as Peeler crab, size crab, bogies and possibly spider crab.
We will have frozen mackerel for use on the early White Sea and to remove our worm baits along with mussels and razor fish, Squid, Frozen Black Lug to name a few, maybe a rag worm ‘tanked’ ready to use.
We know that if all goes to plan we should be able to fish as often as we want over the next 5 – 6 months and catch a decent amount of fish for the table with the cod as the main accommodation.
With a few exceptions the cod appear around our coast in most places. The North East, East Anglia, Kent, North Wales, Cumbria and most of Scotland produce large numbers of cod during the winter months. Unfortunately, the largest cod in the late 60’s and 70’s have almost disappeared and are not caught regularly. The cod caught today tend to be on the smaller size, a 5lb cod is generally considered good enough, but, in the 60’s, 70’s and even the 80’s, cod 5lb is really not run of the mill. ‘
A lot of the cod that is caught, especially in the North and East is caught on rough ground and in the most inaccessible places you can imagine. If you climb down 300 foot cliffs, carrying your gear and using a rope to ensure you don’t fall to your death bids, this is the place to go. You will need a strong cod rod to use at these spots to get the cod out of the rough ground and kelp. A rod with a soft action would not be good either.
You can catch double figure cod in these places but unless you have a guide, someone who knows these areas like the back of their hands, stay away!
Many beaches continue to fish well for cod and Norfolk and Suffolk are no exception.
One very good place is Aldeburgh on the Suffolk coast, one beach with steep shingles and very deep water in places but the whole area produces very good cod during the winter months. Cod into double figures is not uncommon here. You have to be prepared to walk over deep, slippery shingles for about an hour to get to the best and deepest spots though. Of course the trip back when you are tired, worn out and possibly carrying a double digit cod can just put you in an early grave. As some locals say, ‘Heart Attack Alley’ and for a very good reason!
On a personal note, I have a good friend who went cod fishing up what they call ‘The Wall’ a few years ago alone and he actually had a heart attack. He laid on the beach for 45 minutes alone and then managed to get himself to the hospital, but not before making sure his gear was packed away first! Well you have to get your priorities right, as the late great Bill Shankly said about football “the sport is not about life or death – it is much more important than that!”
The south coast areas such as Deal, Dover and Folkstone fish well over the winter months and can produce great sport in the summer which includes the likes of double figure Smoothhounds, Bass to single figures big double and over at times, with lots of dog fish and more. other species. This month (November) has already brought Cod to 8lb off Deal pier. More of the same can be expected if the conditions are right. Deal Pier is popular for fishing but is only open overnight on Fridays and Saturdays and fishing is open until 9.45pm on all other days. It’s very snaggy, expect to loose a lot of gear. It should be a little better now that it has been scraped down along the pier but as I was told, he only managed to loosen some of the snags and not all of them , so expect to still release gear.
Speaking of which, Aldeburgh in Suffolk is so, very, very snaggy, the last time I fished it I lost 2 sets full of gear, which many people think isn’t too bad at all! And I know many places in Norfolk are suffering the same. There must be some lead weight if only one person could reach it!!!
The cod fishing in Bristol Channel produces well but if you are not familiar with the area it is not recommended that you venture too far, the tidal range is terrible and the speed of the flood is a concern for many people catch out.
South Wales does not seem to fish very well for cod in the winter. I have a friend who doesn’t do too badly for cod in the winter around the Cardigan Bay area but he fishes on board his own boat using ‘jigs’ to catch his favorite species. North Wales, Cumbria and around the coast of Scotland occasionally produce cracked cod.
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