|Codfish (Gladus morhua)|
|Federal Fishing Regulations||22" Minimum size, 10 bag limit no closed season|
The Codfish is perhaps the most prolific fish in the sea. Since the seventeenth century large fleets have fished for cod on both sides of the North Atlantic. It wasn’t until after the Second World War that fishing technology advanced to a point where commercial fishermen were able to catch codfish faster than they could reproduce, causing their stocks to collapse in the 1970’s. Over the last three decades severe restrictions on commercial and recreational fishermen have caused a rebound in the cod fishery.
Codfish can reach weights of over one hundred pounds. The most abundant year classes in this rebuilding fishery in 2008 are fish of six and nine pounds. You will never have a lot of big fish until you first have a lot of small fish.
Long Island is located at the southern end of the codfish’s range. For that reason we only catch cod when our waters are at their coldest, from mid December to early April.
Most of the Cod in our area are caught fishing on wrecks and rocky bottom using clams for bait. The standard rig is a clam fished three feet above a twelve ounce sinker. When a codfish first comes across your bait he takes a little nibble, then he sucks it into his mouth, then he swallows it. The key to catching codfish is letting your sinker lie still on the bottom and being patient. The hardest thing to do when you get a bite is nothing! When the cod comes across your clam you will feel a small nibble or pull, do nothing. Next you will feel a series of tugs, usually smaller followed by bigger, this is the cod inhaling, followed by swallowing the clam. This is when you should hook the fish. Cod dive down when hooked, trying to get into the rocks or wreck. For this reason you want to fish with at least forty pound test line and a drag that is not to loose.