The cod is probably the most recognized fish that is found around the coast of the UK and the fish the Bristol channel is most famous for and is without doubt the most fished for species throughout the winter months from all the ports along the South Wales coast. The season starts from late September which is when they start arriving on the Cod grounds with marks ranging from the area’s around the Severn bridge through to Aberthaw and even across the channel around Cleavdon and can be targeted throughout January and in recent seasons well into February .The vast majority are between 2-10lb in weight but fish over 10lb are regularly landed every year with several 20lb+ fish thrown in.
Since the Bristol Channel is basically an estuary and has heavily coloured water ,especially with the usual winter weather visibility can be measured in cm’s the only tactics to use in this area is to fish on the bottom using bait as the cod will be feeding by scent alone. Peeler crab can be a deadly bait for early season cod , with big worm or squid baits either on there own or in a cocktail accounting for most of the fish once the season is established. If there is a lot of sprat about mackerel also a good bait to use in a cocktail as the cod will be actively searching them out and will be used to eating fish. But whatever bait you use make sure it’s a big bait-half a dozen worms and a whole squid or double squid will pose no problem to even a small cod and will produce that all important scent trail for them to home in on as they forage for food along the seabed.
Tackle should consist of a 6-10oz up tide rod or a 20lb class boat rod, a 7000 or 7500 size reel with 20-25lb line. A simple running ledger or helicopter rig is all that’s needed with a lighter hook length of made from supple 30lb or 40lb mono to give the bait better movement in the water, finishing off with a pair of 6/0 Aberdeen style hooks tied in a pennel. Cod have quite soft mouths so if using braid make sure of a lower drag setting to avoid pulling the hooks free from the fish if it makes any sudden lunges as they can put up quite a good fight in a fast tide flow.

The season lasts from September to March

November to February being the best months


(Gadus morhua)

Minimum Size


Average Caught Weight


Specimen Weight


Best baits

Black Lugworm


Peeler Crab


Rag worm

Boat Record

20.638kg. 1997