Seaside Pursuit: Unveiling the Best Times to Catch Cod from the Shore in the UK


For sea anglers in the UK, the pursuit of cod is a captivating challenge that varies with the changing seasons. Understanding the optimal months for cod fishing is essential to maximize your chances of a successful catch. In this article, we’ll explore the best months of the year for cod fishing in UK waters, shedding light on the seasonal patterns that influence the behavior of these iconic fish.

  1. Winter Wonderland: November to March

The winter months, spanning from November to March, emerge as the undisputed prime time for cod fishing in the UK. During this period, cod migrate closer to the shoreline in search of prey, driven by colder temperatures and the promise of abundant food sources.

Shore and boat anglers alike can capitalize on this winter feeding frenzy, targeting cod in various locations such as rocky outcrops, piers, and beaches with access to deeper waters. Utilizing bait like lugworms, squid, and cuttlefish proves effective, as these emit scents that entice cod in search of a substantial meal.

  1. Spring Transition: March to May

As winter gives way to spring, cod behavior undergoes a transition, presenting both challenges and opportunities for anglers. March to May signifies a period where cod move into deeper waters, reducing their presence close to the shoreline.

Shore anglers should focus on locations with varying depths, such as sandbanks and rocky structures. Bait choices evolve to include mackerel and sand eels, which mimic the prey cod encounter in deeper waters during this transitional phase.

  1. Summer Challenges: June to August

The summer months, spanning from June to August, pose a challenge for cod fishing in the UK. Warmer water temperatures prompt cod to venture into deeper waters, leading to a reduction in their proximity to the shore.

During this period, dedicated anglers can explore offshore locations and deeper structures to locate cod. Larger baitfish like mackerel and herring become essential, and anglers equipped with heavy tackle can employ techniques such as deep-sea trolling or jigging to entice cod lurking in the depths.

  1. Autumn Resurgence: September to November

As autumn unfolds, a resurgence in cod activity signals another fruitful season for anglers. From September to November, cod commence their migration back towards shallower waters, preparing for the winter feeding frenzy.

Shore and boat anglers can once again target cod in familiar haunts such as rocky outcrops and beaches with access to deeper waters. The migration period makes cod more active, rendering them receptive to a variety of bait options. Sand eels, lugworms, squid, and artificial baits like soft plastics can all prove effective during this autumnal resurgence.


In conclusion, the best months for cod fishing in the UK vary with the seasons, offering anglers distinct opportunities throughout the year. While winter remains the pinnacle for shore and boat anglers, the transitional periods of spring and autumn, as well as the strategic adaptations required during summer, present viable options for those eager to pursue cod in UK waters. By aligning your fishing expeditions with the seasonal nuances of cod behavior, you can enhance your chances of a memorable and successful angling experience.

In a nutshell, stick to Winter for your best chances. I have had Cod in Summer but its a rare occurance. Whatever bait you use another species will most likely pick it up, its down to just pure numbers 🙂

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