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Poor Cod, Trisopterus Minutus

Irish Record Fish: not recognised
Caught: not reported
Boat Specimen: not recognised
Shore Specimen: not recognised
Photo Credit:

Thorke Ostergaard

Introduction: Definitely a curiosity and always caught by accident, the Poor Cod is often mistaken as a juvenile of other species such as the Pollack or Coalfish, even as minute Codling, when in fact it is a seperate species.  It can reach at most 30 cms (1 foot) in length but usually it is no bigger than a hand, as above, i.e half that size or less..

Boat tactics: These are tiny fish, and the only requirement is very small hooks baited with small organic baits, typically rag and lug worms although they will accept anything that will fit into their wee mouths. They are usually caught over inshore reefs, in weed, often when seeking Wrasse or similar species. They can make a good bait however they are easily eviserated by crabs or small fish and have little or no scent trail thereafter, so the best option is to pop them back.  Some people do use them as a local conger eel bait to good effect and they even pick up codling and other species in the winter.  For myself, they are a nice almost endearing little fish, food for the bigger fish!

Shore tactics: Quite commonly encountered off the shore, I had my first Poor Cod on the Balscadden rocks in Howth harbour, and have captured several all around Ireland.  Any rocky mark will hold Poor Cod, especially in the autumn and winter when with less competition for food, and less predators about they will grab any worm baits.  It is more likely to be caught fishing worm baits over mud, sand or mixed ground, in the winter.