While many ling migrate south for the winter, enough remain behind off the coast of NYC, especially in the first months of winter, to provide a quality fishing experience and a tasty wintertime fish. Ling is a member of the cod family and what it lacks in appearance it makes up for in a good fight when you reel it in and its great taste when eaten fresh. Ling can also still give you a sizable catch, particularly later in the season during winter fishing trips.
If you are interested in catching lingcod this winter, here are some thoughts to help you get the most out of your fishing trip.
Considerations When Fishing for Ling in Winter
Ling are one of the fish that is active year round in NYC, although to a lesser extent in the winter. Having the right approach to ling fishing will increase your chance of a good catch:
- Head for Deep Water – Ling are a bottom feeding fish that will be out in deep water. For the biggest ling, you will want to be fishing in a depth of at least 250 feet with your efforts centered over rocky structures, reefs, or wrecks beneath the water.
- Bait Options – Ling grow fast and will get relatively big, often around 2 feet at only 2 years of age, and you will want to use a larger bait to catch the largest fish. Whole fish or invertebrates such as mackerel or squid work well. Match the bait size to the size of the fish in your area for the best results. You can also use artificial lures to attract ling.
- Refine Your Technique – Ling are relatively strong, especially the larger fish that can weigh in at more than 20 or 30 pounds. You will need to carefully maneuver the fish free of reefs and rocks first, and then you should be able to reel it in with a steady pressure. When taking ling off the hook, watch for the teeth as they are extremely sharp and can snag your fingers as you remove the hook.
One of the best reasons to catch lingcod is that you get to bring home a great tasting fish. Ling tastes best when first caught and will deteriorate in taste quickly. If you are planning to take your fish home for eating, you want to cook it within a few days.
While some anglers are able to catch lingcod from shore, your best chance of a good catch this winter is by heading out into deep water where the most impressive fish typically are. Marilyn Jean Fishing runs trips full day fishing trips almost every day of the winter. We target ling and other bottom feeding fish in this area for a great winter fishing experience. See the upcoming trips that we have available here and purchase a ticket to hold your spot on board for lingcod and other winter fishing in NYC.