February 16, 2015 Last Updated 6:58 pm

* Cod – Making Short Work Of The WINTER

There is nothing like getting out for some fishing in the winter time - add some lures to the mix and you have a match made in heaven - Jim Clohessy guides!



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Cork Harbour – A winter playground!


Making Short Work Of The WINTER


Yep, we’ve all been there, sitting at a computer looking at  weather forecasts looking for a break in the weather where an opportunity might arise for some fishing. I must say that I am a quality man rather than a quantity man when it come to my fishing trips. I appreciate that it is great to get out on the water or on the shore line when the weather breaks but if experience dictates that the conditions are wrong for fishing then usually your experience can be counted on. In other words – the weather is not the only factor in determining fishing opportunities. Water clarity and location are two things that I give huge consideration to when deciding to head fishing. I always think that fish that are resident in harbours are far more tolerant of poor water clarity. Fish that are used to clear water will not respond well to the turbulent and turgid conditions that winter storms will bring. These fish will still feed but it will be more by nose than by sight. Think of it this way, the best anglers you know will not put much effort into lure fishing unless conditions are perfect.


Richie Ryan - Cork based guide gets to grips with some Cork cod!

Richie Ryan – Cork based guide gets to grips with some Cork cod!

In recent years I get my lure fix from fishing in the sheltered waters of Cork harbour. Each year we expect a run of codling in November and expect these fish to hang around well into the New year until the water begins warming. This can mean into April. Anglers have targeted these cod for years. Usually it was a two day event – getting bait on day one and fishing on day 2 – the preferred bait is crab. In more recent years I make my sport using a variety of soft plastic lures.
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Lure fishing for cod is an enjoyable pursuit. Cod are an aggressive fish and will just about eat anything the moves on the bottom. This makes them the ideal quarry for some lure fishing. Again the conditions must be right. The fish will need to be able to see the lure. Cork harbour can get quite murky due to the storm run off from the river Lee. The river has the ability of turning the harbour waters into something akin to weak coffee. There is no point in trying to lure fish in these conditions.

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If there are plenty fish around the equipment and techniques are less important. If there are plenty fish around competition will have them attacking lures with gusto. If the fish are scarce you will find that more experienced lure hands will do better than the newbies.


I like to use my standard 7’ lure rods. It will be rare I will fish with anything above 50g so light tackle is all the rage. Really you need to be spooled with braid. I tie a flourocarbon leader a leader or tippet of mono would do fine. The important thing about this technique (apart from locating some fish) is keeping in touch with the positioning of your lure. You will be drifting and fishing vertically. You should select a weight of jig head that allows you keep contact with the bottom but allows the rod plenty of action. In most cases fishing in 50’ of water in the harbour a jig of 25g to 50g will suffice. In fact as the tide makes or recedes you will find you can reduce the weight you are using. It all feeds into the idea of using balanced tackle for the species you are chasing – in this case cod.

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Sometimes it can be matter of locating the fish by drifting over different areas of the outer harbour. You can always keep your eyes peeled for other anglers that may be catching although be wary as there tends to be no shortage of inexperienced anglers who are content to drift around with baited feathers!

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Once you start your drift it is imperative that you keep your lure in contact with the bottom – It’s where the cod are most of the time. If you are fishing sandy areas you will have no worries. If you are fishing some of the more rocky areas you will soon learn that this is not a game for the faint hearted or those who do not like to part with a lure or two! It can be tough going. However the rules are simple- you are fishing for a bottom feeder so you need to be as near as dammed on the bottom. I have explained it this way: if you on the bottom you may loose your lure. If you are not on the bottom you will not catch fish! Most anglers that have fished with me get the hang of it fairly quickly. Many anglers try it out and after leaving tons of tackle on the deck they decide to try bait! Most “get it though”.

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On my last outing; we are getting a few outings this winter, I caught plenty cod. The session was a short one. I took in the last three hours of the ebb tide. The tide was not particularly big so I was happy that I was going to be using 30g heads for most of the time. I was armed with an assortment of soft lures. I am not fussy on the type of lures for cod however I do tend to prefer light colours at his time of year. It is a movable feast really and I have a full box of all colours at hand should I need them. I contacted cod on my first drift. On each drift after that I was in contact with fish. You can imagine I took a lot of drifts and without fail I caught over thirty codling. The fish were anywhere between 1lb and 5lbs. It was splendid fishing for the time of year, hell it is decent fishing whatever the time of year. I kept a few fish for the table. On these sessions you can be limited by the amount of fish you want to fillet.

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Here’s an interesting titbit: On the trip before this one I met a chap I meet regularly on the water. He was bait fishing. He worked hard for the two cod he had caught for the day. I met the same angler on this trip. He had bit the bullet and bought some lure gear. In a short session he had over a dozen fish. He couldn’t believe his success. I could! He read what there was to read so he did not have to make the mistakes. He is now another lure angling convert. I can see him perusing the Illex catalogue and sniffing around the Cinettic rod list!


Matching the Hatch!

Matching the Hatch!

Another important point for anglers that are starting ot on a lure fishing journey: Time spent catch cod now when they are plentiful will allow you to “get your eye in” in lure fishing terms. Practice now and catching a few cod will benefit you no end when it comes time for chasing bass on the vertical. The techniques refined in winter will be used to great effect in summer.


So I am not going to go into too  much detail on the rods, reels and line. I am not even going to go into the lures I am using either. If you have a look through some of the other features on the site you will not want for any information to get you fishing successfully for cod or any predatory fish for that matter.





Try the search box for your species or your technique :

Eg: Boat Lure = http://www.topfisher.eu/?s=boat+lure

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Check out some video from some of my recent cod trips here:






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