Cod Fishing on the Wrecks

Cod fishing in Brighton follows a well defined annual pattern with Cod showing themselves all year. As a rule of thumb this means fishing the deep water wrecks from January through to October after which the Cod migrate closer to shore in shallower water for the winter.

If you are looking for a Cod fishing trip come and join us aboard Grey Viking. We’ve earned a reputation for finding the Cod with countless personal bests for our anglers. The fish are typically in the 6lb to 12llb range with fish of 20lb or even 30lb plus becoming more common again. The British boat record for Cod is 58lb 6oz caught by Noel Cook in 1992 and the biggest to date on Grey Viking is 34lbs caught in December 2010, with winter being the best time to target the big ones!

It doesn’t matter if you are a novice, Cod fishing is not complicated and we’ll show you how it’s done using our tackle or your own. For beginners and experienced anglers alike, if you are interested in the methods we use out of Brighton at different times of the year, please carry on reading!

Latin Name: Gadus Morhua

30lb 4oz Cod
30lb 4oz Cod for Warren Slatter caught Wreck Fishing with a Sidewinder Lure


Wreck Fishing for Cod

January until October sees the best of the wreck fishing for Cod, when they reside in large numbers on the numerous offshore wrecks in the English Channel. Depending on the tide and how the particular wreck lies (across or with the tide) the Cod will be found close in to the wreck or just downtide of it, using the wreck as shelter when the tide is running. Cod are lazy buggers you see, using the minimal effort to feed! When the tide slackens the Cod will venture further out to feed amongst the debris or scour on the seabed.

In the spring to late summer drifting the wrecks for Cod works best in much the same way as the methods used for pollack fishing. Essentially the fishing will be with artificial lures but the trick is to get the lure down below the Pollack shoals to the Cod who will be feeding on the bottom. In this respect, if Cod are the target, heavier weighted Sidewinders, Shads and Leadheads fished on a short Hopper Rig is the way to go, with most fish caught within 5 turns of the bottom.

24lb Cod
A superb summer Cod of 24lbs for Stacey Manwill caught whilst wreck fishing at anchor on a whole Mackerel flapper bait

From late summer, in our experience, Cod are best fished for anchored uptide of a wreck using cuttle fish for bait using tackle in the 20-30lb class to handle enough lead. The tactics for bait fishing are the same as for winter Codding on the ground, described below.

Winter Fishing for Cod

In winter, from about October through to January, the Cod move closer inshore and in Brighton we fish for them at anchor with bait. This is a good time of year for the bigger fish with specimens of 20lb plus on the cards. There have even been a few Cod in the 30lb class in the last few years! In terms of bait the options are – cuttle fish or squid !! A bit of black lug to make a cocktail of bait is worth a try, but by no means essential.

34lb Cod
34lb Cod for 14 year old Tyler Hallet caught inshore in winter

A simple running ledger or fixed paternoster rig is all that is needed with a pennel two hook rig using size 6/0 to 8/0 hooks to suit the bait. When it comes to bait big is good – remember that a 15lb Cod is quite capable of swallowing a 3lb Pouting whole! Our local winter Cod grounds have an average depth of 20m which means uptide and downtide fishing are both effective. A 12-20lb downtide or 4-8oz uptiding rod are more than enough for some sporting action. For more information have a look at our blog post on Winter Cod Fishing.