Summer cod fishing
Upto about 3 years ago I, like so many other cod fishermen, put my rods away once spring arrived as my perception of codfishing was cold dark nights and big coloured seas.
Three years ago I remember having a conversation with Iain Sellers who was adamant that the summer cod fishing on our coast can be as good as the winter and after 2 summers tasting summer fishing, I totally agree.
I must spend hours in the winter months browsing at weather sites/charts looking for likely opportunities when the conditions bring the cod close to sure, these conditions normally involve being out when it’s very cold and often in darkness.
Summer fishing however is very different, still looking at the same sites/charts but now we’re looking for offshore winds, clear seas and fishing in daylight.
Summer rock fishing generally starts around early May on the Yorkshire coast coinciding with the initial crab moult. As the crabs are peeling they are at their most vulnerable to predators and are very high up on the cods food chain.
Once the crab moult is in full swing and given long periods of good weather the cod get settled in and fishing can be very good. There are 2 distinct ways to catch cod from the shore, 1 is tide fishing the other is kelp fishing.
Tide fishing involves fishing in areas where you are able to put a bait into the tide, often deeper water, the cod move in the tide looking for offerings that have been dislodged by the tide rip, often fishing is better on the bigger tides.
There are plenty of tide spots on our coast the more popular ones being Marine Drive Scarborough, Filey Brigg, Bempton and Flamborough, these spots can give excellent catches given favourable conditions.
Peeler crab is essential as bait throughout the summer months, either fresh or quality frozen. The bites can sometimes be awesome as very often the cod will suck in the crab as it swims in the tide.
Once the crab moult is in full swing the cod will not only be abundant in the tide they will also forage in shallower/kelpier ground. Once in amongst the kelp these fish gradually start to change colour often becoming red as they blend in with their surroundings.
Catching these fish needs plenty of patience as I have found out on more than one occasion, finding holes in amongst the kelp or just beyond the kelp is ideal as these fish will be hunting on sight as well as scent.
There is plenty of good holding ground up and down our coast, a good tip may well be to visit an area you would like to fish on a big low tide making mental notes on areas where there are gaps in the weed.
Although redfish can be caught at any stage of the tide the ‘flood tide’ is often the best as the fish move back into the ground as it fills up. Again crab is essential as bait, either peeler, softies or cart, all these are excellent baits. From my limited experience of kelp-fishing i’ve found that baits are often much bigger as very often you are not looking to cast beyond the horizon.
Tackle, rigs etc
Tackle losses are inevitable in both types of fishing so it’s essential to keep it simple and strong. I use the ‘Ramrod special’ pin and foam rig, the only alterations I make are with hook sizes preferring to use a smaller 3/0 when scaling down bait.
So guys, don’t wrap up and put the gear away when the winter ends as summer cod fishing can be awesome, give it a try………………………………..