top 4 cod rigs

Best 3 Cod Fishing Rigs

It’s a good idea to arrive at a venue with a rig wallet full of ready-tied terminal rigs to suit any conditions. You will not only have options to suit the species and bait, the required casting range and the weather, but also an instant replacement should you lose one. The beach is the place where you fish – it’s not where you practise tying rigs.

The cod may be present for only five minutes over a six-hour fishing trip, so make the most of it. Choose a hook pattern that best suits your fishing, which varies from region to region. For worm and squid baits fished over sandy seabeds, the Kamasan B940 from size 1 to 4/0 takes some beating for sharpness and strength, especially the small sizes (1 or 1/0) when used to fish for whiting and dabs. A size 1 B940 is strong enough to land a decent cod. Larger hooks are required for a big cocktail bait (lug/squid or shellfish/crab). Go for the Sakuma 543 Manta or an O’Shaughnessy, which are both available in size 4/0 to 6/0. For crab baits fished on Pennell rigs over rough ground, go for the Mustad and Kamasan Uptide Viking (size 3/0) because they can bend and spring free from snags.

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This is the most popular and practical terminal rig for fishing large baits for cod, especially over rough or mixed ground. It is also the choice of many anglers fishing at long range on clean ground. The pulley rig is the most simple to construct of all the clipped-down rigs, with the baited hook(s) clipped close to the lead weight until released on impact with the sea or seabed. That means maximum streamlining for casting distance.

Pennell Pulley Rig

Importantly, when a fish is hooked, the lead weight is lifted up in front of the fish and out of the snags by the pulley action; this is the one rig that does help you retrieve big fish through snags.

The advent of the various pulley devices has improved the efficiency of this rig because instead of using a swivel as the fulcrum of the pulley system, the purpose-made pulley bead allows the rig to operate more efficiently. Another bonus is that it does not stress or damage the line, as a swivel does, and, therefore, lighter hooklengths can be used, although a minimum of 40lb is recommended, but go stronger if you are power casting. Your hooklength should be shorter than the rig body. Some anglers use beads or rubber stops on the rig body to prevent the pulley jamming in the lead clip, although this is far less likely to happen when using a pulley bead.


The best of the long-range codling rigs for clean ground, the loop, sometimes called the Portsmouth or Golds rig, is very popular for seeking maximum range. Its two hooks, clipped close behind the lead weight, offers maximum casting range with two large baits, and it should not be dismissed as a mere match rig. Long hooks full of worms can be sent a long way with the loop rig. Its secret is that the lower snood, which hangs below the lead weight, has a Breakaway Cascade swivel tied into its length, and the top hook of the rig clips into this.

Fixing the lengths of the snoods correctly is important, so that the baits can be positioned as close as possible together and tightly behind the lead weight. Using rubber stops or stop knots made from mono line allows better adjustment of hook snoods on all clipped rigs. Tension springs are also recommended on the loop rig to add pressure to the hook snood and keep it under tension during casting and help to avoid premature release.

Two hoop loop rig


This one snood mono paternoster can be used with a single hook or two hooks, Pennell style, making it perfect for large cod or small codling. Again, it can be constructed with a long or short hook snood, depending on what is required. For short range and rough ground, it can be constructed without a bait clip. If you use a Breakaway Impact weight, this will convert any single hook flapper rig into a clipped rig.

one hook clipped paternoster

Similarly, if you do not use Impact leads, the Imp or Genie link clip allows you to convert a flapper to clipped, and to use any type of lead weight.

Clipped down rig

Clipped down rig

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Rig winders have taken over from rig wallets in recent years as a more efficient way to store rigs. Because the rig can be unravelled from the winder spool, tangles are avoided, as was the case with rigs coiled and stored inside a plastic packet or wallet. They can also be returned to a winder more easily, where they can be allowed to dry out, which reduces corrosion. Different coloured winders can be used for the various types of rig – clipped, flapper, one hook, two hooks or three hooks – or you can simple add a sticky label with the rig details to the winder.

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Rig Winders


Rotten-bottoms or weak links can be made up ready for use should you find yourself fishing rough ground. The weak link clips come in various forms, and range from a disc device to a bead. This keeps the device closed so that it can hold the lead weight when casting. As the disc or bead hits the water, it slides up the wire and opens the device, allowing the lead weight to come off the clip. It is then only joined to your rig via a short length of lighter 10lb line.

Preparation includes tying the weak link on each device so that it can then be clipped on the rig and the lead weight tied on.

If you require any more tips or information on cod fishing, why not check out our article, Cod Fishing Basics.

This article was brought to you in association with Sea Angler Magazine.

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