Sea fishing charter skippers say that this winter has been one of the best they can ever remember following a spate of 30lb-plus cod hitting the decks of several boats.
The Bristol Channel and the Isle of Wight have thrown up the biggest fish, the highlight of which was a 36lb specimen taken by Andrew Turrell from the Bristol Channel. It set a new record for Rob Rennie’s boat, Lady Jue out of Penarth, and fell to a fresh black lugworm and squid bait from an area near Minehead. Rob said he had wouldn’t be surprised to see a new channel record soon.
“This season has been the best ever for really big cod and this fish wasn’t weighed until five hours after it was caught so you could probably add another pound onto it,” he told Angling Times. “To put it into perspective, a double figure cod is a good catch here. There are thousands of little cod about too which is a great sign for the next few years. They seem to come and go in cycles, last year there were lots of 9-12lb fish about, the year before they were 6lb, the year before that 3-4lb and so on.”
Another 33lb fish was also recorded from the Channel by James Theyer aboard Anchorman Charters. Elsewhere, on the Isle of Wight, a 35lb 2oz cod was caught by Eric Elliot from his own boat Wight Rebel from the famous Needles area, which also threw up a 34lb cod for Lee Price. Eric is also surprised at the impressive sizes the cod have reached this winter.
“Last year we had a lot of 20lb-plus fish from around the island and this year we’ve had a lot more over 30lb. I also heard a rumour of a 37-pounder a few weeks ago. Even in summer the fish were getting caught up to 25lb from the wrecks. This was my own biggest ever cod from the boat and I caught it using four small squid as bait,” he said.
Sport hasn’t just been confined to the South, however. The North East cod hotspot of Whitby has also produced some great sport since October with one trip in particular by Sea Otter 2 resulting in fish up to 20lb, including 20 in the 10lb – 15lb range.