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What Bait to Use for Cod Fishing

Hook the big one by testing out the six best baits for cod! As part of the Gadidae family in the Gadus genus, the two common species of codfish include the Atlantic cod, known as Gadus morhua, and the Pacific cod or Gadus macrocephalus

2 cod fish swimming

Aside from sport, cod remains a popular choice of seafood for its mild flavor and nutritional value.

The fish swim in the waters off Massachusetts and along the coasts of North America and Greenland. Experienced fishers catch cod at night because darkness lures these fish towards the shores.

Are you looking for the best bait for cod? Catch your prized fish with the enticing scent of their favorite foods. 

Sea Clam 

Clams serve as an excellent choice for luring cod in winter. These shellfish grow up to 150 millimeters.

fresh surf clam for bait

You can find them burrowed about 50 centimeters below the shoreline on beaches. Many anglers dig for their supply of sea clams, but locating them proves daunting. You can purchase the bait at most tackle shops. 

Most cod fishers prefer live clams over dead or frozen bait because they stay on the hook better. You can remove the clam from its shell with a sharp enough knife and rig the bait. Adding a worm creates a more effective bait.

Squid

If you want the best bait for cod, consider a whole squid. This versatile bait works well in fresh and frozen forms.

squid for bait

You can purchase them from local supermarkets in one or five-pound blocks. Bait suppliers sell them in blocks up to 20 pounds or more. 

Experts recommend naturally thawing frozen squid bait. Doing this avoids a loss of scent.

Rather than baiting your hook with squid strips, a whole squid demonstrates better results in luring cod. Hook the bait through its body and use elastic to secure it on the hook. 

Cut Bait

Catch your cod on a budget. One of the most cost-effective, convenient techniques for catching cod by using cut bait.

saltwater catfish on a fishing line

Cut any small fish or shellfish into manageable pieces so that they remain on the hook properly. Our favorite choice is usually a saltwater catfish This bait type works best with sharp Aberdeen hooks.

Of course, you can usually buy it from bait shops, too. High-quality, store-bought cut bait includes:

  • Vacuum packaging
  • Zero freezer burns
  • Natural scent and firmness

Expert anglers preserve their stash on ice in well-drained coolers.

Ragworm

This type of bait comprises three worm species including:

  • King rag 
  • Harbor rag
  • White rag

Rag worms grow up to 18 inches and measure as wide as your thumb. Find them burrowed in sandy, muddy beaches between high and low tide.

Anglers tip ragworms with other bait like squid or clams. These worms prove effective at catching cod because they continue wriggling in the water long after you hook them.

Lugworm

Our list of the best bait for cod fishing would remain incomplete without mentioning lugworms. They come in three varieties, including:

  • Black lug 
  • Common or blow lug
  • Yellow tails

Anglers procure pumped black lugs from shops or dig out the bait from worm beds on low tide beaches.

For winter cod fishing, we prefer live black lugs. These worms grow up to 11 inches. Based on our experience, we suggest hooking them with squid to lure cod.

Peeler Crab

One of our favorite saltwater fishing bait consists of peeler crabs. Any crab undergoing the natural peeling process serves as excellent bait for large cod.

blue crab for bait

You can use a whole crab or its legs and claws with worms and cut bait. The lure leaves a scent trail, attracting predatory fish towards the trap.

Anglers gather their bait supply by searching around rocky shores for peeler crabs. Tackle shops selling fresh and frozen peeler crabs charge high prices, especially during the off-season.  

Final Thoughts

Once game fishers find cod, they tend to catch their targets with ease. If you’re a beginner at cod fishing, equip yourself with the best bait for cod so that you can invite one home for dinner.

At Fishmasters, we yield great catches by diversifying our bait supply. You never know what the cod might prefer on a given day.

Is this not the fish you were thinking of? That’s okay! Many people often confuse cod for haddock.

Rocco Smith

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