Fishing For Cod: All Rules, Regulations, And Tips You Need To Know


The humble cod is regarded to be offered one of the best fishing adventures any angler could have. Aside from their size, they also make for a great table fare whether they’re baked, grilled, or fried. As one of the most popular fish species in the country, it is also one of the most overfished. This prompted the government to instate rules and regulations to protect the population of this fish species and ensure their survival. Below we’ll go over some of these rules and regulations, and we’ll even throw in some tips on how to catch cod whether from the beach or a boat to help you become a responsible and successful cod angler.

Cod Fishing Rules and Regulations by State

One thing you need to remember about fishing for cod is that the rules and regulations about the catching of this fish species will vary from one state to another. However, there are some states where the same rules and regulations apply.

For instance, in the state of Connecticut, the minimum length of cod allowable is 22 inches, and each angler is allowed ten fish per day. They also have no closed season, meaning cod fishing is allowed any time of the year. The same rules and regulations apply to Rhode Island as well.

Sometimes the difference is only with regards to the length of the fish. In the states mentioned above, the minimum length is 22 inches. On the other hand, in the state of New Jersey the minimum size allowed is 21 inches. However, the same regulations regarding the number of fish allowed to be caught by an angler and the year-round open fishing season are the same.

In the Bay of Cape Cod, the regulations will also vary depending on where you are. Fishing for cod in the northern part is never allowed, while the southern part is open all year round for fishing. Here, anglers are allowed 10 cods per day.

Despite having similarities and minor differences, it is still better to check the specific rules and regulations governing the particular state you are planning to visit since it is not uncommon to make changes to these rules and regulations every once in a while, especially when certain circumstances demand such changes to be made.

Inshore Cod Fishing Tips

Cod fishing from the shore can be rather enjoyable though challenging especially if you’re a novice angler. This is because you’ll need to be able to cast your line far into the water if you ever plan on catching cod. The length and size of the fishing rod to be used can also pose some difficulty for someone who isn’t used to fishing with very long casting fishing rods. But even if your casting isn’t that great, don’t worry because you can still fish for cod. You simply need to fish from rock marks or piers since the water in these areas is often deeper. You’ll have better chances of catching cod in these areas than when you stick to the shallow waters.

Another thing that makes cod fishing from the shore challenging is because most of the larger fish don’t stay near the shore. Once they reach a certain size or weight (3 lbs.), they tend to move further out into the deeper and colder waters. You can still catch cod from the shore, but you shouldn’t get your hopes too high.

The good thing is that codes are one of those fish that stay within the reach of most anglers during the winter months. While all other fish have left seeking warmer waters, you can bet that there are still a significant number of cods hanging around just waiting to be caught. So don’t put your saltwater fishing rod away just yet; get them ready along with your fishing jacket and fishing gloves because the fishing season isn’t over yet.

Some anglers also say that nighttime provides the best action for cod fishing. This is because cod feel much safer coming near the shore when it is dark. They also do this when an offshore wind is blowing and the water is murky. Spring tides also offer great cod fishing opportunities as the flood and ebb tides often bring along with them a good supply of food that attracts cods.

As for your tackle, you’re going to need a really long fishing rod when fishing for cod from the shore. You can’t use those short bass fishing rods that you have. For cod fishing from the shore, you’re going to need a strong casting rod measuring between 12- to 15- feet. You’ll also need a strong shock leader (up to 60 lbs.), weights to help you cast farther, and hook sizes between 1 and 6/0.

For baits, you can never go wrong with peeler crabs, ragworms, lugworms, and squid. It can be difficult to get a hold of live baits during the winter months, so you’ll want to keep a supply of frozen alternatives at hand. You can also make your own cocktail of baits by combining squid with lugworms and others. You may have better success this way if the cod isn’t biting your single bait presentation.

Offshore Cod Fishing Tips


When you fish for cods offshore, you’ll want to visit places that offer some form of structure that provides shelter for the fish. Out in the open water, cods tend to hold near rocky areas, wrecks, and other places on the ocean floor that offers some good hiding places.

Cods are generally not very aggressive. Instead of hunting for prey, they often prefer to wait for their prey to come to them. This is one reason why they prefer areas with good hiding places since the current often draws small fish into such places.

As for bait, you’ll want to use the biggest bait available to you. Cods are generally attracted to clams, mussels, shrimps, and octopus. Other baits like squid, baitfish, and sea worms also work well. If you want to make use of artificial lures instead, you can go for spinners, bucktails, and spoons. Also, cods are generally attracted to noise, so go for jigs with a rattle or jingle on it.

When it comes to your fishing tackle, you’ll need a strong rod to be able to pull the fish out of the water. Go for a rod that is 8-feet long with fast action. You can choose among spinning rods, baitcasting rods, jigging rods, or whatever suits your fishing style. A braided fishing line is also recommended since the lack of stretch helps anglers know when the cod has taken the bait.

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Fishing rules and regulations often vary from one place to another. Sometimes, changes are made abruptly when situations like overfishing that lead to the quick reduction of fish species occur. That said, if you are planning a cod fishing adventure any time soon, it would be in your best interest to do some research before you head out. Check the local authorities for updates on the current size and bag limits, closed and open seasons, and even permits and licenses that may be required from anglers. Aside from knowing how to catch cod, it is also important (and may even be considered their responsibility) for anglers to know the fishing rules and regulations covering the places where they intend to fish.

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My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!