Anglers are reaping the benefits of some of the best cod fishing in decades, Angling Times can reveal.
Evidence of the size of the rewards on offer were highlighted this week by the capture of a 41lb specimen off the coast of Norfolk.
The incredible fish, which was taken on a long-line by local commercial fisherman and charter skipper Paul Dyble, is just one in a string of impressive catches that point towards a remarkable recovery in stocks.
Paul (60) has been taking as many as 180 cod - none weighing less than 6lb ¬ in a day’s long-lining and his charter trips have been just as productive, with two first-time cod angling customers boating over 40 fish in a trip.
“The 41lb fish is the biggest cod I’ve seen in the flesh in my lifetime,” said Paul.
“The fishing is exceptional this year - I’d go as far as saying it’s the best in 40 years,” added the skipper of ŒSea Quest’ which sails out of Gorleston, near Great Yarmouth.
Anglers’ catches along the length of England and Scotland’s North Sea coastline are confirming the findings of ICES (the International Council for the Explorations of the Sea) which announced a significant recovery of North Sea cod stocks earlier this year.
The research body predicted that the numbers of adult cod would increase by
42 per cent this year, with the spawning stock set to exceed 70,000 tonnes, the highest for 10 years and the minimum figure scientists said was needed to ensure the species’ long-term survival.
And anglers look set to reap the benefits of a range of successful conservation measures imposed upon commercial fishermen, including reductions in quotas, better enforcement, changes in net sizes, restrictions on days at sea and further boat decommissioning.
“Normally we hear of maybe one shore-caught double a season. This year we know of 26 already,” said legendary piker and local tackle shop owner Derrick Amies.
“Anglers are making multiple catches including fish from 2lb to 4lb but with some bigger fish to 8lb and 9lb thrown in. To make catches of multiple year classes from a shoal is unheard of, and this bodes really well for next season,” he added.
The local advice to anglers looking to target cod from the shore is that they need to be prepared to move in an effort to find the shoals, which tend to move from beach to beach with changing tides and conditions.