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Summer Cod Fishing With Arran Stead

Living on the North East we’re extremely spoiled when it comes to Cod fishing, however most anglers put their Cod fishing gear aside when February time comes, for me this isn’t the case. As much as I like standing on sand and rocks in the depths of winter lobbing baits into rocky, kelp filled gullys with the chance of some big bags and fish, over the years I’ve had my fair share of Cod but around 8 or 9 years ago I got a taste for catching these favoured species in the summer and have not looked back since.

Whilst everyone is awaiting the winter cod season during the summer months I’m usually stood in my t shirt and breathable waders on a rocky surface catching beautifully coloured red/orange cod, wrasse and pollack in the sun dreading the winter months.

There is lots of venues and areas in the country where you can target Cod in the spring/summer months but I’m basing this article from my own experience on the NE coastline, North Yorkshire and the Southeastern coast of Bonny Scotland.

Summer/Spring Cod usually start to show on the big tides in May given that we have had a nice warm spring and crab are plentiful, May and June are the months where you find a mix of coloured Cod held up in kelp and boulder filled gully’s I also find your standard coloured Cod these are what I refer to as tidal fish, fish that you find in a more deeper opened environment usually swimming past in the tide run picking up small fish and crustaceans. The marks I tend to find these tidal fish often require long distance casting, for me a decent 50lb braid with a 80-90lb braided leader for added abrasion resistance and to absorb the power of long distance casting. As we get into July we are at prime time to catch these beautiful fish and you will find by then the Cod have settled into the kelp beds given them their golden orange/red colour from the iodine in the kelp you will find these fish may stay coloured into September/October.

Now targeting summer Cod is completely opposite to winter fishing, you want the sea to be as calm and as clear as possible. Now tides all fall down to the venue your fishing for example if your fishing into shallow gully’s a big ebbing tide means their isn’t going to be a lot of water, this however doesn’t always mean no fish but for me personally when lobbing in close into these gully’s or holes I prefer a medium sized tide. As mentioned before regarding what I call tidal fish a big tide is certainly beneficial.

So let’s get onto tackle, I’m a true believer that simplicity is important both financially and also for landing that fish you have just hooked into. Summer cod tend to habitat amongst kelp, rock and ledges so rotten bottoms are a must! A good strong line, rig body and hook length is needed I’ve already stated the main line I use and that is paired with fixed spool reels but each to their own. Rig wise a simple rig or clipped down rig using a lead with a bait clip or a canny link to keep your Rig as simple as possible any additional unnecessary components may cost you a fish or your leader/mainline, for my rough ground rigs I tend to use a 100lb rig body paired with a 50 or 60lb hook length. Some people may use a pennel hook but me personally I prefer to fish with a single hook this again stops any further snags/lost fish IMO, I use a paper clip/piece of wire wrapped around the shank of my hook this holds the baiting in place. A simple beach caster with a bit of back bone is ample to ease your fish over the ledges, boulders and through the thick dense kelp, hook wise I like a hook with a wide gape my hook of choice being the Ultra XT from Limitless, choose your hook by gauging the size of your baiting I use anything from a 3/0 to a 6/0. Bait… top quality bait is a must a fresh crab or half a fresh crab bound in with fresh mussel is my favourite, can’t get your hands on fresh bait then don’t worry top quality frozen bait can be just as effective.

By reading this article I hope that some of my knowledge may be useful to anyone reading, now go and find a nice patch of kelp and rugged terrain and reap the rewards by watching that beautifully looking coloured cod come through the crystal clear water whilst the sun beams down on you.

Arran Stead