Tips for catching Ling Cod

Fishing for Ling Cod is one of the best fishing trips you will ever be on. Ling Cod are a true predator. They basically will eat pretty much anything that will fit in their gaping mouths or that they can rip a chuck out of with their razor sharp teeth.

These fish are at the top of the food chain with the exception of sharks. And they are not really all that picky, if they get hold of another ling cod, it’s just another meal.

To catch these you pretty much just have to be where they are, and that’s on the bottom.

You can hook these in midwater or even at the top at times as they will follow other fish up and feed on them at any depth, but mostly they like the bottom.

Here are a few tips in catching ling cod from the depths.

1) Bait: Ling Cod will bite almost anything but if you have small bait you tend to attract other less agressive fish, so bigger baits work better. 8″ Gulp bait squid are good. Big lead jigs with 6-8″ scampi tails on them are also good. You can even use herring and the like (those these will also be more fair game for anything)

2) The Bite: Ling Cod attack with fury, they tend to hit hard and fast with the intent to swallow whatever it is they are hitting and or be able to rip chunks off. So you have to be ready. If a ling hits and you don’t set the hook on the first try, it’s likely the game is over before you know what happened.

3) Gear: Fishing with heavy gear is really good when you are fighting a big ling, but is much harder to get a feel for the bottom and the strike when it happens. I like to use a light Uglystick Tuna rod with #30 braided line that is about the size of normal #8 line. This gives you a very sensitive combo and yet has the setting power and pole to fight even a big ling.

ling-cod-hitchhiker4) Be Prepared: I don’t know how many times I have gotten or seen lings come up as hitchhikers. They are either following up another hooked fish, or firmly attached to another fish. Either way you need to be ready. DON’T and I repeat DON’T let the fishes head break the waters surface. 99 times out of 100 the moment the lings head comes out of the water he’ll let go and bolt. But keep the head under the water and he’ll hold on. These fish need to be netted. Usually they are so engrossed in their meal plans they don’t even notice the net until it’s too late.

5) The Bottom: Naturally Ling Cod like the bottom the best. That is their territory. So if you can keep your bait their you are more likely to get these big lings. I often fish with heavier jigs so that I can stay on the bottom and drift less. On the upside this is where they hang out and it’s where Ling Cod bite most often. On the downside it’s a good place to loose gear. If it’s your own gear that is fine. If it is a charter boats gear it’s best to just fish normal. I have been on trips where I have landed as many as 6 lings and never lost a bait, and other times I have gotten less and lost a lot more. To me it’s worth it, I love catching Lings, they are awesome.

Those are the tips that will consistently help you land more Ling Cod. If you have some of your own, feel free to comment here. Below I will put some images of ling cod lures and baits I have used.


Tags: , , , , , ,

7 Responses to “Tips for catching Ling Cod”

  1. Errol Hornlein says:

    thanks for the last cool post. That was mega revealing.

  2. Bill Silvanus says:

    I was fishing for Ling’s with dock side charters out of Depo Bay Or. Deep water three to five hundred ft.(rock pile). I caught a twenty pound Ling the smallest of the bunch.The one thing I did wrong was use the boat reel with heavy dacron line.The current would pull the line of the drift. Use a thin line Spiderwire Power Pro etc. You are fishing with two pound weights to get to the bottom.Like the artical says you have to feel the bottom and the bite.

  3. matt preciado says:

    my favorite jig is one i made myself its a chain jig i use about 10 oz of heavy link chain with an 8/0 siwash works great the rattle and piling sound of the chain really entices the lings i also zip tie a small sponge or paint roller to the top link to hold scent

  4. tONY says:

    I don’t know about Oregon which is where I live now and fish either Depoe Bay or Newport, I grew up in Pacific Grove, Ca (Monterey Bay) and fished Sam’s Fishing Fleet. I used a “Killer Jig” which is octagon shaped, chrome with a treble hook. 12ozer. It was the best jig I’ve ever used and when fishing Point Sur caught a 35 pounder that came up as a hitchhiker that let loose of a Red Snapper. It was awesome. I ended up losing the jig up here and couldn’t find another one here. Lings are a great fish to catch and eat!

  5. We use a scampy weight and hook fitted with a glow power bait tail or a simple banana weight and herring and it works great. Largest Lings caught when hooking a small rock fish while jigging the trick is to reel the rock fish up very slowly and if there’s a big one down there good chance you will get it. Next trick gaff or net the Ling that’s hanging onto your rock fish before they break the surface because 9 times out of 10 they will let go the second they break the surface.

  6. Paul Barton says:

    I have fished for Ling Cod in Yakutat, Alaska. Their is a strict size limit because of overfishing. A heavy Lead jig maybe with a hunk of salmon on the treble hook is
    our method. Find the bottom and drop the jig to that point. We retrieve the lead head very slowly up. First a coho grabbed the jig. Next (slowly) a 6 or 7 pound ling grabbed onto him and still slowly (no hook set) a 25 pound ling jumped on him. When we got the three fish up the captain kept the under water and punched the big boy with a 4 foot steel gaff. “Reach out and touch someone Sparky said”
    The salmon was pretty much scaled and ready for cooking!

  7. wayne says:


    What sort of bait do you use with your chain and paint roller lure?

Leave a Reply