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Haddock, Melanogrammus aeglefinus

Irish Record Fish: 10.85 lbs 4.92 kgs
Caught: Kinsale  1964.
Boat Specimen: 7 lbs  3.18 kgs
Shore Specimen: 5 lbs   2.27 kgs
Photo Credit: Johnny Jensen

Introduction: The Haddock is prized by all fishermen and chefs alike for its firm white flesh.  Far more common in the colder, deeper waters, it is a fine fish with the potential to reach > 30 lbs in weight.  It is listed as vulnerable on the IUCN lists so please give due consideration to using catch and release. Recently there have been reports of decent Haddock catches on old known Haddock marks around the west coast, pointing to a possible barely perceptible increase in numbers and stabilisation in the fish population.

Boat tactics: Drop down to a 12 lb or possibly a 20 lbs rig for Haddock, given their average size of under 4-5 lbs (2 kilos). Recent boat reports indicate that old marks around rough ground, reefs and strong currents are producing small Haddock once again.  Any mid-sized rig designed to take pollack, coalfish, cod and other fish will suffice for Haddock ,although the are relatively small-mouthed, so hook size needs to be kept below 4/0.

Shore tactics: From shore, the number of marks that regularly produced Haddock in the past could have been counted on your fingers, and the same is still true today - the good news is that Haddock are slowing showing up again at those old marks, most of which feature fearsome tidal races over rough ground and reasonably deep water, e.g. the Erris Race on Achill Island in Co. Mayo.  If you want Haddock, wear woolies!