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A Landmark Day On The Cod

If I could only get 10% of the money back that I’ve spent on fuel chasing Cod in the last 2 years I’d be a very happy boy. The wife would probably be very happy as well with the extra holiday it would pay for! There is no reason why Cod shouldn’t be found off the west coast of the Isle of Man but for years they have done a vanishing act…until last year.

September last year to be precise. I finally came across a location, time of year combination that equaled Cod. Don’t get me wrong, we have fished that spot at least once a month every month since (and for many years beforehand) but whilst the Pollack fishing has been good no Cod have shown up. It’s nice to know that last years work has paid off though and now they are back in force. Just this week we’ve had our best ever Cod fishing trip, a real landmark day and the extra delight of having my dad catch the good Cod he’s been waiting 20 years for.

A 5lb Rock Cod

A touch under 5lb of Rock Cod. That’s not the fishes blood in its mouth, just where it took a lump out of the old fellas finger!

Sunday we took advantage of one of the few nice weather days we’ve had and ran the 2 miles to our mark, or less than 5 minutes as I like to think of it. It doesn’t take long for word to spread around these parts and we knew there would be other boats around so we tried to be first out of the marina when the flap-gate lowered and I ran Kirsty II at closer to 30 knots than the usual 20 knot cruising speed. We’d caught 4 fish before the next boat arrived 🙂

It looked like it was going to be a usual Pollack day, the mark in question had always produced good numbers of Pollack (well when not being fished out by one of the local charter skippers) and no sooner had I started the first drift than the Orange and Yellow Sidewinders (banana splits as the old man likes to call them) were pulling up good Pollack, average size being around 5 pound. We always use light spinning rods for this type of fishing now and it really is brilliant sport. For an hour we hammered them, well over 15 fish and up to 6-7 pound in size. Then things went quiet for 20 minutes.

It was at this point that the old man tried a pure orange Sidewinder. No sooner was it on the bottom then he was winding up a fish, one that was fighting differently to the big lunges of a Pollack. We had our first Cod onboard. I persevered with the Orange and Yellow for a couple more drifts with no luck, the old fella decided to change to one of his favourite el-cheapo Black and Green worms. These are not Berkley posh jobs, think more 8 for a pound cheap and chearful thinner worms. 90% of the time the better fish fall to a Sidewinder but we’ve noticed that on the occasions when the fishing goes dead that these worms can draw a bite, any bite!

A whole five minutes later we had our second Cod on board (about 3 pound) thanks to the Black & Green worm. I decided to try one of my all black Berkley power worms, I’d caught Cod here on them last year and figured they were bound to work…. but nothing. Meanwhile him on the other side of the boat had pulled in another Cod. At this point I conceded defeat and went for the old el cheapo! The next drift I had my Cod, our best of the day so far at just over 4 pound.

For the next 50 minutes we brought up a steady stream of Pollack and Cod on our cheap Black & Green worms. The final tally for the day was 12 Cod and 23 Pollack in just over 2 hours fishing. The biggest Pollack went to a touch over 10 pound whilst the biggest Cod was a little shy of 5. Not a huge Cod by anybody’s standards but they are fine fighting fish in this shallow water, not to mention very pretty to look at in their Orange/Pink Rock Cod hue. When I think of all the hundreds of miles I’ve covered in the depths of winter chasing these little buggers it sort of makes you sick when you can go 2 miles and enjoy great Cod sport…but it’s only one spot and it’s only one time of year. The biggest truth in fishing is you can only catch the fish that are there!

Having enjoyed the fruits of our labour with chips and mushy peas we can’t wait to get out for another go now before the Cod move out again. Who knows when that will be but by the looks of the weather for the next 7 days they’d better be hanging on a little while longer.

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