Seward, Alaska Ling Cod will never win a beauty contest. They are perhaps the ugliest fish you will ever lay eyes on but undoubtedly one of the tastiest that you’ll ever dine on.
Seward, Alaska Lingcod are very aggressive and there are documented cases of them attacking seals, sea lions and even scuba divers. They have an enormous gape with a mouth that is filled with nearly 20 long sharp teeth. Because of their kamikaze type aggressiveness regulating agencies throughout their range have set restrictions on fishing during their spawning and nest guarding periods. Charter season opens July 1st. This late opening allows the fish to finish guarding their large clusters of eggs. If removed from their nest, even for a short time all of the eggs will fall to other predators.
Charter fishing for Seward, Alaska Ling Cod is most effective using a 16 or 24 oz. jig with a colorful slide on rubber scampi tail. On board there is a wide range of different colors and we’ll start off using 2 or 3 different colors to find which is most effective that particular day. As we then drift over suitable terrain, a submerged pinnacle, you work your magic. This type of fish is almost addicting as you work for a strike with a fanatical mindset. Most often we usually limit out in just a few passes over prime grounds. You can also fish for them with a halibut set up with herring as bait. A nice fish will weigh 50 lbs or more. The majority of keepers are in the 40 – 45 pound range.
Ling Cod are caught incidentally caught while fishing for Seward salmon, Seward, Alaska Halibut and Seward, Alaska's Black Rockfish as they can be found at almost any depth. Another oddity is that they will attack what you have already hooked as you are reeling it to the surface; suddenly your 7 pound rock fish or 20 pound halibut has a 45 pound ling pulling it back into the depths. Most of the time this will result in a double for you as they seldom release their catch.
Although they are a fast growing fish as adults they tend to stay in a very small home range and they can easily be over harvested in areas. Resurrection Bay is set aside as a year round sanctuary where no taking of Ling Cod is allowed. Outside of Resurrection Bay the limit is one per day and two per day if you fish east of Cape Puget.
There is a minimum size limit of 35 inches for fish that are retained and most are keepers. The ones that don’t measure up are released unharmed where they have estimated that nearly 100% survive release. Although they have a very high rate of survival upon release the fact that guarding the nest is so important to the future of the stock that we don’t target this fish in a catch and release effort before the season opening.
A lot of people, your captain included, prefer the taste of ling cod over halibut. The meat is moist, mild and flaky. These attributes gives you a lot of options and make it almost fool proof when you go to prepare this excellent fish at home. Occasionally their flesh will have a slight blue green tint which disappears when cooked. These fish are sweeter in taste than fish with pure white flesh and are considered the best of the best ling cod.
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