Cod advice with Mike Dennehy

IFD: An Irish specimen cod is 20lb. A target that is not easily achieved, and that is reflected by the low number of anglers who have claimed a specimen cod. Indeed some years they won’t even make an appearance in the specimen fish report. The Irish record cod was 42lb and that fish was caught out of Ballycotton in 1921.

So for advice on the subject we turned to our good friend and mentor Mike Dennehy of

Mike has had several cod over the magcal thirty pound barrier and even had the second biggest documented cod in Ireland a fish of 37.5

So over to Mike for his advice

What times of year would you consider for catching big cod?

The best time for big cod is normally June to October. The largest fish I have taken was 37.5lb which was caught in July.


Mike Dennehy with the second largest documented cod in the country, 37.5lb

When wreck fishing how near or far off shore will you be looking?

We have had our best success on wrecks that are anything from 20 to 40 miles offshore.

Can reefs produce good fish?

Yes Paddy we regularly take double figure fish from the reefs less than a mile from shore.

When off shore wrecking what kind of tides will you be looking for?

Believe it or not, I don’t think the tides are so critical as I have seen large numbers of cod on both neap and spring tides, however my favourite tide is normally a bigger tide eg. a 3.9mt


Irish ling record holder Albie O’Sullivan, seen here with a slack tide jig caught 30lber

Will you always drift for them or is anchoring up ever a possibility while cod fishing?

We normally like to drift when targeting cod as it allows us to cover more ground, and as the cod may leave the wreck and forage around seeking out food often more than 100 metres away from the wreck so a quality echo sounder is essential.


A surprise 25lb coalfish taken near the bottom while cod fishing

What kinds of lures do you reach for first and what would be your preferable  tackle set up?

Hungry cod are very obliging and will readily take jigs, shads, jellies etc however a soft plastic on a jighead worked on or near the bottom always pays dividends, remember don’t come up too far off the bottom.

When the water is gin clear the fish can have a liking for a specific colour, often orange, dayglo red or pink seems to sort out the bigger fish. When the tide eases up ,metal jigs can prove very effective.

For some great sport use lighter more sporting tackle, a 20lb class rod a medium sized multiplier and thin braided 30lb line terminating with a flying collar rig.

Roger Bayzand hopper-rig-500x500

Have you any tips on retrieve speeds when working the lures?

Cod, especially large cod aren’t speed merchants so retrieve slowly and make sure to keep it near the bottom.


Pedro with a 30lber

Any final tips you could give us?

Make sure your tackle is up to the task as large cod in deep water will soon find any weakness in your equipment, a short rubbing leader at the end of the braid adds some abrasion resistance and make sure your reel drag is set correctly.

About paddykeogh20

We are three anglers who enjoy all aspects of fishing. Whether we are blanking or catching were happiest on the bank or shore. If you like your fishing join us by watching our many trips and as we interview some top anglers along the way.....
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1 Response to Cod advice with Mike Dennehy

  1. Great stuff, very helpful as I plan to target cod for the first time this year from my boat that is nearly ready to go…

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