Posted by: socalsalty | March 30, 2011

Top 10: Going Out Of Turn…Ling Cod!

You know how as a child you are socialized to wait your turn?  Well, for this week, we are going out of turn, childhood socialization be damned!  I’ve got a good reason of course, April 1st marks the opening of ling cod season and I for one am very happy about that fact.  If you look at my twitter page, that big brown slug is my favorite fish of 2010, a 17 lb. ling caught on the Spitfire in Santa Monica Bay last November just before the season closed (and shortly before I started this blog).  It was my only legal ling of the year, caught off a sardine on a dropper loop sunk to the bottom.  I’ve mentioned before how last year was a cold water year.  It’s only appropriate that my best fish of the year was a coldwater, deepwater species.  Ling cod are only found on the West Coast…from Alaska to Baja, with the bulk of them living off British Columbia.  They are one of my favorite fish to eat as their meat is a firm, tasty white meat.

Ling cod are a rad fish.   When fishing lings, you sometimes get sand dabs as a bycatch when the boat swings off the rock and gets into some sandy bottom.  Some people throw dabs back.  When I catch a bigger one, I like to save them as they are good eating (just kind of boney).  The smaller ones I will put in the bait well and send down on a hook as ling bait.  Super aggressive feeders…ling cods have never seen a fish too big to eat.  As evidence, last year there were 4 English tourists on the Spitfire for a 3/4 day of fishing in Santa Monica Bay.  I had just hooked into a canary rockfish…a protected California species.  Other people were pulling up canaries as well, and Capt. Jeremy was ready to pull anchor to get off this canary laden rock when one of the English anglers got bit.  He reeled his rent rod in to find yet another canary rockfish.  However, this canary rockfish had a hitchhiker, a jackpot ling with his jaws wrapped around it.  Only the head of the canary was showing.  The ling wasn’t hooked, he just wasn’t going to let go of the canary!   I’ll have to get that picture from Jeremy and show you guys someday, but in the meantime, check out this amazing You Tube video.  After viewing it, you may ask why the ling cod is ONLY #4 on the Top 10 Saltwater Fish In SoCal!



  1. Hope to see a picture of you with a big Ling Cod soon! There is a type of cod or hake (or something) that is caught from piers here in the East during some winters. People call it a ling cod , but it’s not. I’ll have to find out what it really is. I’ve always wanted to catch a cod.

    • Yeah, I’ll get a new one soon 😉

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