Cod fish are bottom fish that are basically lazy. They are not aggressively hunting, they pretty much stay on the bottom, often near structure (underwater wrecks, rock piles, holes, humps and …
Cod fish are bottom fish that are basically lazy. They are not aggressively hunting, they pretty much stay on the bottom, often near structure (underwater wrecks, rock piles, holes, humps and drop offs), waiting for prey to come by. So you have to go to where the cod are to catch them. They are not likely going to come to you.
Angler John Stavrakas, a member of the RI Saltwater Anglers Association, said “To catch cod I would suggest making good use of your electronics. If you aren’t catching move around a bit and see if you can find any life on your sounder.” Stavrakas said, “I like to use a jig like a diamond jig or crippled herring, six ounces or more if needed, with a teaser tied to a loop 12 inches or so above the jig. I like to put some squid on the teaser but often see fish caught on the teaser with no bait.”
Capt. Rick Bellavance, president of the RI Party & Charter Boat Association, said, “If fishing on your own boat for cod plan to move around a bit, keep the bottom machine going and try each hump and bump. Try each spot at different times of the trip, focus on one area and hit the spots in that area hard. Take notes throughout the day and over time you will have the info you need to have success each time you go.“
Recreational angler Rich Hittinger and RISAA 1st vice president said to find cod, it is very useful to have a good fish finder. “Cod have a developed swim bladder and they show up well on a good fish finder. Many trips we have spent 30 minutes driving around the area until we see good piles of fish and when we stop right on them we hit them immediately.”
A hook or two, a bank sinker that holds the bottom and sea clams are often used as bait to catch cod. Jigs of various sizes, color and weight depending on conditions are used too. Cod will generally eat anything that is in front of them, they are not picky, but you have to get their attention and jigs usually do a good job of this. A common rig used is a diamond jig with a colored teaser tied about 12 inches above the jig. Sometimes anglers tip the jig and teaser with fresh bait (a piece of sea clam).
“We fish hi/low rigs but bait the bottom hook with clam but then put plastic bait like a shad or worm on the top hook. One half or our hits come on the top hook with artificial bait. This works particularly well when sand ells are running and it helps keep the dog fish away,” said Capt. Tony Guarino of Booked Off Charters. “But jigs are my favorite way to catch cod. We use a slow pitch jig made by Yo-Zuri that we buy in Japan, fish usually hit the jig on the drop.”
“I like Viking jigs with a teaser above with pink and green colors generally working well for me. Grub style teasers also work. The jig weight will vary depending on tide and current but 8 ounces is what we are often in the water with,” said Capt. Richard Chatowsky of Drifter Charters, Pt. Judith.
Cod fishing experts generally use seven to eight foot rods with a bit of backbone. Shimano, Diawa and Penn are popular names when talking cod fishing rods and reels.
Some party boat captains suggest customers use monofilament line to avoid timely tangles with fellow customers. Yet, most captains suggest braid to create the most direct line of contact with the fish. Capt. Dangelo said, “Braid line is important to create that direct contact with the fish, the less line out the better, there’s no big bow in your line when using braid compared to monofilament.”
Surface blitzes of all three species continue to occur in our Bays and along the coastal shore. You just have to be in the right place at the right time to hook up. Angler Joe Earley caught four striped bass from 28-30 inches in northern Mt. Hope Bay Sunday when fishing with his father. Joe said, “The tide had just started to fall, and there was a scattered blitz of striped bass. We managed to catch four bass between 28-30 inches using SP Minnows.”
John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle Riverside, said, “Most angler are targeting tautog now and are having some good success. A customer caught his 10 board limit at Coddington Cove jetty but caught 60 shorts to catch ten keeper tautog. Anglers in the upper bay are catching keepers at Kettle Point, Riverside and out in front of Newport is still producing keepers for many.” Greg Spier of Portsmouth reports, “Fished both sides of the tide Sunday. Early in the morning in Bay. Not much. Moved outside the Sakonnet River with immediate action 26 ft. Many shorts with sea bass mixed in. Sammy rigs worked better than jigs. Caught eight keeper tog and one keeper cod. Beautiful day in November, water temp 59 degrees.” Ken Ferrara of Ray’s Bait & Tackle, Warwick, said, “All our customers are tautog fishing. Most fishing in the Bay are catching small fish. Keepers and shorts are being caught south of the Newport and Jamestown Bridges with a good bite off Newport.”
“Freshwater fishing for largemouth bass continues but has slowed a bit for anglers,” said John Littlefield of Archie’s Bait & Tackle, Riverside.
Dave Monti holds a captain’s master license and charter fishing license. He serves on a variety of boards and commissions and has a consulting business focusing on clean oceans, habitat preservation, conservation, renewable energy, and fisheries related issues and clients. Forward fishing news and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.noflukefishing.com.
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