(Molva molva)  

Ling is the largest member of the Cod family and is found all around the coasts of the UK. Being a member of the cod family they are excellent eating fish.

This species is confined to the colder waters of the northern hemisphere but is widely distributed in the Atlantic, the North Sea, around Iceland, in the Bay of Biscay and in the western portion of the English Channel. Ling are inhabitants of deep water and are found in water upto 400 metres.

The largest specimens are found on wrecks lying on the western end of the English Channel especially in the winter when the female is full of roe. All record fish where caught in this area until 1989 when The British Rod Caught Record fish weighed in at 59lbs 8ozs and was caught off Bridlington in Yorkshire by J Webster.

Ling are not known for their fighting qualities. They make no dives and a constant retrieve will bring them to the surface.

Ling are voracious feeders and will strike virtually any bait offered including any artificial bait, such as un baited pirks.

Big Ling are found on or near deepwater wrecks, but apparently do live inside the wreck.
They are predator fish with sharp teeth and grow to over 50 lbs. On wrecks they usually average somewhere between 20 and 30 lbs.  Exceptionally large Ling are found during the late winter months as the females are full of roe. In fact the record rod caught fish was captured during this time.
As a specie they are not difficult to catch and will accept most baits that are presented. Favourite baits are mackerel and whole pouting. 
They are usually found on wrecks in large numbers and as such can cause a problem when your trying to target other species such as Conger Eels. It is not uncommon to catch them two or three at a time on wrecks using a suitable heavy monofilament trace.
Tackle used needs to be of the 30 lb class type. Therefore the main line should be 30 lb or greater for wrecks and traces only need to be short, about 2 to 3 feet but should be of a minimum 200 lb nylon. 300 lb traces are ideal. Always check your traces after a fish capture as the fishes teeth can cause trace failure with large nicks. Hook sizes should be 8/0 to 10/0

Reef or open ground ling are generally much smaller than those found on wrecks and range from a few pounds to 20 lbs. Sometimes in the winter monster ling are found on the reefs as well.



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