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Ling, Molva molva

Irish Record Fish: 55 lbs 24.95 kgs
Caught: off Cork Harbour 2003
Boat Specimen: 25 lbs  11.34 kgs
Shore Specimen: 10 lbs  4.54 kgs
Photo Credit:

Brian Smith, in Clew Bay  July 2004.

Introduction: The Ling is typically caught in deeper waters and often over rough ground or at wrecks and reefs. It can grow to 100 lbs although anything over 25 lbs is a specimen fish. Halfway between a Cod and a Conger, it is a strong fighter and prized for its flesh. Do not use a small bait fishing for these guys as they are voracious and powerful predators.  It has been caught from shore on a few special marks, all in Cork and Kerry.

Boat tactics: You can treat Ling the same as Conger Eels.  The rig has to be tough and a 30 lbs rod and reel set-up is standard issue for ling.  A wire trace and forged 6/0 to 10/0 hook is essential, with the standard bait being a fresh mackerel half, cone or flapper.  Clearly smaller fish will need smaller hooks, and small Ling are often caught alongside Codling.  The flapper works best in reefs where the currents will move it around, and a long trace to allow it this movement is essential.  Whole mackerel baits and muppets are now being used by the  boats operating out of Cork.  Courtmacsherry regularly produces fine Ling catches.

Shore tactics: Ling provide great sport but they are rarely caughts from shore, except on a few marks with deep water and strong tidal races.  These tend to be in the south western coasts, but that might be down to anglers not trying similar marks elswhere in Ireland.  Most shore caught Ling are < 10 lbs (4.5 kgs) in weight.