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Shore Fishing
With a bucket-like mouth and appetite to match, the cod is one of Britain’s favourite species, bringing a smile to the lips of anyone fortunate enough to catch one. As the exodus of summer species changes from a trickle to a flood so the cod moves in for the winter, providing anglers with a hefty target and action to alternate with the flurries of whiting that so often seem to accompany these wonderful fish.
Every season sees a sprinkling of giants and it is these that so seems to whet the appetite of the anglers gunning for their chance.
But it can be an expensive game, especially if you rely upon tackle shops for your bait, for the offering that adorns your hook should be no shrinking violet. ‘Think big, be big, my friend’, as the Americans are so fond of saying. Consequently a nightly excursion can chomp its way through several boxes of squid and more than a hundred lugworm.
However I run ahead of myself. There are other questions to ask such as what tackle should I use? Where can I fish? What rig should I use? How strong should the line be? Good questions all so we’ll go straight to the answers.
Rods and reels will be determined by the mark that you are fishing. As you have probably guessed from reading through the website, I am somewhat of a light tackle fanatic but, regretfully, given the strong tides and the size of the species, I put aside my lighter outfits and go for a powerful rod capable of hurtling a large bait out to sea.
Personally I use a Conoflex Highlander matched to an ABU 7000, especially if I am fishing from a headland over rocks. Strength of line will vary with the mark but, as a general rule, I use between 20 and 30 lbs breaking strain line. If there is a lot of kelp to pull through I up the mainline to 30 but, if the mark offers ground where your tackle is relatively obstruction free when you have pulled the weight from the ground, then I downscale to 20.
I go lighter from the beaches, with breaking strains between 15 and 20 pounds. On some marks there always seems to be a lot of weed and so, reluctantly, I fish heavier than normal to cope with the extra demand. If the beach is running clear, however, then I drop down to 15 pounds on a Conoflex Nemesis, a lighter, but still powerful, rod.

Where to fish will depend where you live but, as an obliging species, cod will visit a wide variety of marks. They can be found on sandy or gravel beaches, around headlands, at the foot of cliffs and even in the midst of rocky marks giving way, seemingly, into kelp-ridden jungles. They do, however, appear to have a liking for fairly strong tides so bear this in mind when you select which venue, and which times, to fish.
As a Southern angler I have to put my hand up and say that the cod fishing up country is far superior to the trickle of fish that we have in Torbay. We do have some but they are few in number when compared to further North. We get lots of whiting, albeit pin whiting with only the occasional flurry of bigger fish to be found, but the run of cod is nowhere near as large as I would like it to be!
Rigs for cod will also depend on the mark that you are fishing but, once again, think big. Three hooks on a paternoster rig may be ideal for whiting but big baits for cod demand an alternative approach requiring patience, rugged tackle and rigs capable of hurling a big bait plus several ounces of lead far out to sea. Just think about it; if a giant is cruising nearby then you will have far more chance of attracting his attention with a massive hook offering than a couple of scrawny little worms more suited for a dab.
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Shore - P.2
Shore - P.3
Shore - P.4
Wreck - P.2