Just because the cold days and rough sea’s of winter are now a distant memory doesn’t mean that we have to put our Cod fishing gear to the back of the shed and wait until the next winter for some cod action.

Summer Cod Fishing


Summer Cod fishing can be very rewarding, yet many anglers will decide to put away their cod fishing tackle during the summer, and in my opinion could be missing out on some very good cod fishing..


Living here on the north east coast of England we are blessed with some very good rough ground fishing marks that stretch from Flamborough in the south up through Northumberland and right up the north east side of Scotland. In my opinion we have some of the best cod fishing in the UK and its right on our door step..

From about May when the weather starts to improve and the temperature starts to rise, the crab will start to moult, shedding their old shell in order to grow bigger and this is when they are at there most vulnerable and become a tasty meal for our friend the COD..

During May and through out the summer, Cod will move into the shallow kelp strewn spots looking for a tasty meal, often taking up residence. Some of the cod which have been living in the weed for some time will take on a deep red/brown colouration, we generally call these “Kelp Cod” “Kelpies”. They are not a different species, they just look different through their colour.. Summer cod fishing doesn’t require any change in tackle from your winter cod gear, but maybe a slightly different approach to venues/conditions/tides/baits etc.




Most Summer Cod fishing along the north eastern coast of England and up along the eastern coast of Scotland is done in some of the roughest tackle hungry ground, so indeed you will need some strong tackle to drag fish through dense kelp forests and over boulders.

Most strong modern beach casters will cope with this sort of fishing match that with a decent size multiplier “7000/Penn 535” size multiplier should cope and hold enough strong line for most spots. Line is important and because you are fishing in such heavy ground I don’t think to much about diameter or thinness to lb ratio. I think about abrasion above all else, so use lines of 35lb or above.

Of course there are times when a lighter main line with a leader can pay off. On venues were you may need distance to reach the fish, you maybe casting over the rough ground onto cleaner ground in search of tide “Fresh run fish” this is a choice you have to make..

As for end tackle goes,  for me I have one rule, I will always try to keep things as simple as possible, the less bits n bobs you have on the less you have to get snagged and loose. With all rough ground fishing you will lose end tackle from time to time but you can minimize it with a bit of thought, after all I dont believe cod come along and examine your end tackle, they are after one thing and one thing only “Food”

My main rig body will be made from 80lb line with a 40lb-50lb snood with a 25lb rotton bottom and 6oz lead, with a hook size  from 3/0 – 6/0 depending on bait size. which brings me onto my next point.



Some tide marks can produce fresh run cod during the summer months.


And Wrasse are also likely to take your crab baits.


Fishing its not an exact science, there is no right or  wrong ways, we all do things different, but one thing I think is definitely right is choice of bait for summer cod fishing. I always try to give the fish the bait they are looking for, and in my opinion there is no better bait for summer cod fishing in rough ground than peeler crab, fresh if possible or a mix of fresh and or frozen..


A prepared Cod bait of frozen and fresh Crab which is bound to the hook with elasticated cotton, note the hook point is not masked by the bait which is important.


Again we are blessed with some great cod marks on this coast from Flamborough all the way up through north Northumberland and up along the eastern coast of Scotland there is miles upon miles of coastline littered with great summer cod marks, don’t be afraid to go chuck a nice crab bait into a likely looking spot, chances are there will be a cod lurking not to far away. And a lot of the time during the summer if there is not a match taking place, you will have the spot to yourself, its a great feeling just relaxing in the sunshine, rod jammed in between some rocks waiting for a bite and seeing our beautiful coastline at its best, just taking in all the sights and sounds, even if you go home fishless,  you have still had a pleasant day out in the fresh air…


A likely looking spot to find a cod mooching around looking for crabs..


A decent cod caught on peeler crab at close range..

I have found I prefer calm/clear and settled conditions for summer cod fishing, I also prefer a decent tide I believe the push of a decent tide can fire the fish into feeding..

So those who think Cod only come in shore during winter storms to feed on bait thats been washed out, just don’t put your gear in the shed just yet, spend spring time collecting some crabs and give summer cod fishing a go, you might just get a surprise in the shape of a nice plump red cod…



If you have any question or would like to comment on this article then please feel free to do so.

Tightlines – Garry

You can read more about summer cod fishing at the following links :

Summer Cod Fishing At Arbroath

Summer Cod Fishing At Scarborough

Summer Cod Fishing At Johnshaven

East Scotland Cod Fishing

Arbroath Shore Fishing In June