September 16 2022

Inshore Cod Fishing?…Yes, It’s Possible!

by Charlie Lewis

When it comes to cod, the first thing that comes to most people’s minds is offshore deepwater fishing.

While most successful cod fishing takes place in cold, deepwater grounds, there are oases closer to shore that provide pretty reliable fishing if you know what to look for.

When conditions are right (and when the small cod season window is open to recreational anglers) it’s worth giving this historic Cape Cod fishery a shot! 

As of 9/1/22 the cod fishing season north of the Cape is only open from April 1-14 and again from September 1 - October 7. The size limit is 22 inches with a 1 fish/angler daily bag limit.

How It All Got Started

I was not on a quest to find inshore cod - I found the fishery through incidental catches and sheer luck! I first discovered the potential of fishing for cod close to shore only by mistake - when jigging for mackerel.

On the first occasion it was a calm morning on Cape Cod Bay in the middle of July. Mackenzie (my better half) hooked into something big on her sabiki rig.

I thought to myself... 

“That is no mackerel! What could it be? Striper? Bluefish? Tautog?” 

To my astonishment, it was a cod that was close to 25 lbs!

The author's girlfriend Mackenzie caught her personal best codfish while jigging a sabiki rig for mackerel in Cape Cod Bay.

Prior to this experience I had no idea cod came within one mile of shore!

I only have a 16 foot long boat, so being able to catch such a rare species so close to shore was a true accomplishment in my book. 

The Best Type of Bottom to Fish

When the season is open and I am intentionally targeting codfish, I look for steady drop offs and sloping bottoms. Through my experiences when fishing within 2 miles of shore for cod, I have found that 70- 120 feet of water is where they like to hang.

I’ve also noticed that fishing near lobster traps seems to be more productive than areas with no lobster traps. I feel the reason is because the bait from the traps attracts a lot of life, and therefore creates it's own mini food chain event.

Fishing near the traps has its benefits, but it's also quite the hassle when you accidentally get snagged on a lobster line. 

About the author 

Charlie Lewis

Charlie grew up on the water and along the beach. He does it all whether it be lobstering, striper fishing or freshwater fishing, and he enjoys sharing the experience with others. Charlie has been a member of My Fishing Cape Cod since 2018.

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