Lingcod Fishing the West Coast



By William Wirt

There is nothing I enjoy more than fishing for Ling Cod from my kayak. Just myself, a Wilderness Systems Tarpon 130X, and a Lingcod locked into a fight. I catch most of my Lingcod by paddling out to 30 to 90 feet of water using my fish finder to look for structure. Lingcod like rocky bottom structure where there are cliffs with crevices, massive rocks, and boulders. Lingcod will lie next to these structures or hide in caves and ambush their prey. They are predatory fish that will aggressively attack anything around it to eat or defend its territory.

There are a ton of tackle and rigs out there to use for Lingcod. Metal / lead vertical jigging bars, lead head jigs that you attach swimbaits to (to which there are tons to choose from), and even live bait rigs. Every angler has their favorite rig - I have two and they both come from Ling Ling

One is a vertical rattling jig (Vertical Rattlers) and the other is a Jig head with a swimbait attached. For both, I like using 4 to 8 ounces. I pair the jigs with a 6 ½ t7-footot medium action rod with a 30-to-50-pound line rating, a medium saltwater reel spooled with 50-pound braided line for my main line with a 3-foot, 30-pound leader with a shrimp fly attached about 12 inches from the top. I lower my jig to the bottom and jig it up and down about 3 to 4 feet making sure to contact the rocks on the bottom each time while drifting. Don't be afraid to drift a spot a couple of times, especially if you are catching fish. Another technique I use is casting a jig head with a swimbait attached about 40 to 50 feet out and let if free spool to the bottom and either swim it back or hop it from rock to rock back to me.

Lingcod are not the only fish you will catch by using these techniques. You can catch Cabezon, Black and Blue Rock fish, Vermilion, Halibut or Greenling.

- Sarge