Cod is the fish that made Massachusetts famous. It is also the main target of the Black Rose. I like it for a million reasons, but mostly because it is fun to catch, it’s delicious (and $8/pound at the store), relatively easy for newcomers to catch, and relatively abundant. We catch them in many, many different areas. I have fished in many hundreds of spots for them and done well in most of them. We catch them from the shore in wintertime, and have fished 35 miles out. We’ve caught them all places in between. Typically, we run 20-30 miles offshore to find good congregations of them. We find them often times alongside haddock, which have returned in great numbers. In 2005, we caught more haddock than cod, actually. Cod get big—the record is 92 pounds. Every year, we land several in the 40 pound range and many greater than 30 pounds. These are some great fish! Our biggest fish was in the 60 pound range! It was huge.
With cod fishing, we try to find an area with a decent drift so that we can cover some good terrain and hopefully keep the dogfish from honing in on us. They've become a problem in the last few years, especially when we're using bait. If dogfish are thick, we often switch to using jigs. Jigs historically catch larger cod than with bait, but you often catch more haddock with bait. We don't fish too often with jigs, as many of my customers are new to fishing and aren't yet that comfortable working a jig all day.
There are a few methods to use the jig, such as the "quick lift, pause, and slow drop" or the "short lift, stop, fast drop, and quick lift (the double pump)". Being able to cast a jig underhand greatly improves the catch ratio, as cod hit a vertically jigged jig more readily than one with some scope in the line. What I do, for people uncomfortable with casting, is cast for them and rotate them around the boat as their lines move away from the boat.