Fishing Copenhagen

Fishing trips in Copenhagen

Cod fishing in Copenhagen harbour


In this article you can learn two effective rigs to catch cod in the harbour, how to choose the color of your shad, what technique you should use to catch fish and what seasons are the best for catching Copenhagen cod. If you follow these tips you will surely get successful with the Copenhagen cod fishing fast.

Rigs for Copenhagen cod

Jig head fishing with 15-30 gram weights and colored shads

It doesn´t get simpler than this. Use a jighead on 15-30 grams armed with a colored shad. That’s it and it works great.

jig heads and shads
A selection of 12-20 gram jigheads and shads that I use in the harbour.

Texas rig with bullet weights and colored shads

The texas rig has gained popularity in Copenhagen harbour since 2016. The rig gives a straight and seducing movement to the jig and it also ensures that the rig tangles into a minimum of irritating seaweed. (Not that seaweed is that big a problem in most of the harbour.)

  • Use a 40-50 cm piece of nylon 0,35-0,40 leader line. Tie the leader line to your main line using a simple swivel.
  • Put a 15-25 gram bullet weight on to the leader line.
  • Now put a small pearl on the leader line. If possible use a color for the pearl that goes well with the color of your shad.
  • Tie a single hook with a spring lock to the line. The size of the hook can vary a bit depending on what shad you are using but a 3/0 size hook will work well for most shads.
  • Attach the head of the shad carefully to your spring lock. After you attach it, you carefully pull the end of the hook through the shad. Now you have a great rig that will give you fish if you fish it with the right technique.

What form and color should your shads have?

Form: Most Copenhagen cod will be happy to inhale both smaller and bigger shads as long as it looks like food so it is not the size and the appetite of the cod which is my concern. As for me, I prefer smaller shads because they are easier to cast since they are more compact and can penetrate the air better.

Color: As you probably know then color is lost, the deeper a lure or bait goes, but most places Copenhagen harbour is not so deep that the colors on the shad are lost even if you fish on the bottom. What you should be aware of though, is that the cod are primarily bottom feeders that hunt crab, gobies and sticklebacks directly on the bottom, coming up from the shadows to surprise their prey. If you fish your jig correctly, so it dances up and down just over the bottom, then the cod lurking close to the bottom will sometimes look up to see your shad and sometimes look down to see your shads. If it looks up then the light from above will mean that the shad will be in shadow and thus look dark, no matter what color it has. In that case it doesn´t matter much what color the shad has. As for the cod that look down on the shad or see it from the side, they will be able to see color, which can then have a bit of importance.

Fishing technique and fight

Technique: Now you are ready to fish with your jighead or texas rig and shad. After you´ve chosen your spot/spots you go there and start fishing. Try to analyze the spot a bit before you start. If you can find out the water depth and variations of water depth on the spot, it is a great help. Cod are often placed where there are slopes in the water or if there are deep plateaus. Try to fish all over the spot but use extra energy on these slopes and plateaus.

In most cases the cod will lurk on the bottom. So start your cast by letting your rig sink down there. Now you jig in your rig slowly just over the bottom. Techniques can vary a bit but as for myself, I always make two small nods while reeling in line before making a short pause. Then two more nods and so it goes on until the jig is just under me and I start reeling it up from the bottom. Along the way I make sure that I can feel the rig hit the bottom. This way I am sure that I am fishing effectively.

When the cod bites, you will often experience that it munches a bit in the rig before it really nails it. It is first when you feel a real bite with some power, that you raise your rod and hook the fish. 3 out of 4 times this will work perfectly but sometimes the fish will be lost. That’s just the name of the game.

The fight: Now the fight begins. Cod always like to seek towards the bottom in the fight so you should not put your drag too light, so you are able to pull it up from the bottom. When you first have the cod up from the bottom, it is usually pretty straight forward to reel it in. The biggest obstacle then becomes to net the fish. The spots you will be fishing will have 0.5-2 meters down to the water, so you will need a net with a long shaft to land the fish. There is nothing more painful than losing a 3 kg cod because you don’t have a net.

The best seasons for fishing cod in the harbour

Spring: When the water temperature reach 4-5 degrees in the harbour in the spring, the fish starts coming in to the lower water depths in the harbour where they can find lots of food. You can catch them there most of the spring on the bottom and the middle of the harbour until the water starts heating up and you reach temperatures on 10 degrees Celsius. You can still catch them here when the water is 13-14 degrees Celsius but many of them go out to sea and it gets more difficult. When the water temperature is 6-10 degrees it is perfect in my opinion.

Summer: Summer is a difficult and tricky period to fish in the harbour. Cod doesn´t like too hot water and as soon as we reach water temperatures on 13-14 Celsius, the fishing gets difficult. If you want to go harbour fishing when the water temperature is 13 Celsius or more, then I recommend that you aim for another type of fish. In the harbour you can both catch mackerel, garfish and flounders in this period, and this can be more rewarding. If you insist on going for cod still, then you should go for places with deep water close to shore like Langelinjekajen or Oceankaj.

Autumn: Autumn is my favorite period for cod in Copenhagen. After the warm summer then water temperatures are declining again and you can catch cod in the harbour all day. When the water temperature drops to 10 Celsius the catches become great and this continues until we reach 4-5 Celsius.

Autumn is also full of wind and small storms and these winds can really fire up the fishing and give great catches. It is quite often that grey weather with a lot of wind brings great catches.

Winter: Opposite to what some anglers here believe it is definitely possible to catch decent cod in Copenhagen in the winter period. If you go for spots with deep water then the cod will be there. Cod is a fish that likes cold water, and it is still looking for food in the harbour when the water temperature is between 4 and 2 Celsius. Again you should go for spots with deep water close to shore to have the most success. Patience, good clothing and coffee is needed though.

Urban fishing cod - Copenhagen
An evening cod from a cold December day.

Book a guide to learn about the best spots and tricks to catch cod quick

Having success with the cod fishing in Copenhagen doesn´t have to be difficult or expensive. If you want to go to the fast lane learning about fishing, you can book an experienced fishing guide that knows the best spots and how to fish them. Learn more about these trips here.

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