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Coalfish (Pollachius virens)
- Size 7–8 lb
- Food Value Excellent
- Game Qualities Good
- Habitats Nearshore, Offshore
This Cod-like species is closely related to the Pollock, and it exhibits the same qualities that these two fish share – it’s good to eat and fun to catch! It’s also found in strong numbers throughout the British Isles and further ashore in Europe, meaning that a Coalfish angling excursion usually yields
The largest Coalfish usually reach a maximum size of 50 inches, and can tip the scales anywhere from 18 to 55 pounds. More common catches are in the 7–8 lb area, though.
Where and When
This fish likes to lurk around rocky underwater structure and wrecks, and tends to feed in schools in the pelagic zone of its chosen fishery. It’s common throughout the North Atlantic, with anglers in the UK and Ireland often targeting it alongside Cod and Pollock for some tasty table fare, whereas huge “trophy” varieties can be found further north around Norway.
Although this species can be found year-round, Coalfish fishing is especially prolific between May–September. This is when the big boys come out to play!
How to Fish
Firstly, it’s important to cast your line in the right location. The Coalfish’s preferred feeding grounds are around estuaries, weed-covered rocks, and harbors. Larger varieties feed in deeper waters, usually above offshore wrecks, but they return to waters closer to shore when temperatures drop. Small strips of Cod, Mackerel, herring, squid, and Whiting are all effective in luring them to your line, as well as artificial lures.
You’ll be able to use a variety of techniques to hook your fish, with bottom fishing being the most common method. Coalfish are attracted to moving targets, so it’s important to implement a technique that ensures your bait is constantly moving, such as jigging.
Good to Eat?
Yep! It’s mild, making it a great fish to use for that staple of fish and chips.
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