Atlantic Cod

Atlantic Cod are brown to green or gray on their upper sides and flanks, with a paler belly.

They have smooth, small scales and a prominent barbel ("whisker") on their chin.

Atlantic Cod Illustration by Duane Raver, Jr.
Season Open Year-Round
Size Limit No Size Limit in State of Delaware waters (coast to 3 miles offshore)

22 inch minimum (total length) in Federal waters (3 to 200 miles offshore)
Daily Limit / Person No Limit in State of Delaware waters (coast to 3 miles offshore)

9 in Federal waters (3 to 200 miles offshore)
Delaware Range Atlantic Ocean
Abundance in Delaware Waters Uncommon - this species is more common north of Delaware.
General Habitat and Food Preferences Atlantic Cod are typically found near the ocean floor between 30 and 500 feet deep.

They feed on a variety of fishes, crabs, shrimps, clams, and mussels.
Did You Know? Atlantic Cod will occasionally dine upon some very strange items. Ducks, shoes, jewelry, and rope have been found in the stomachs of captured Atlantic Cod.

The chin barbel ("whisker") has taste buds that they use to detect bottom-dwelling food items.
Common Lures and Baits Atlantic Cod are usually caught accidentally by anglers fishing for other species off Delaware’s coast.

They can be taken with 10 to 20 ounce Norwegian type jigs. These jigs are often tipped with whole squid, several mussels or large sea worms.

Atlantic Cod can also be caught on bottom rigs baited with clams or squid.
Typical Sizes Caught In general, Atlantic Cod caught by anglers weigh between 11 and 25 pounds.
Citation Minimum Length and Weight Atlantic Cod are not currently eligible for a Delaware Sport Fishing Tournament or Live Release award, but a large specimen may qualify for an “Unusual Species” award.
Delaware State Record 44 pounds
John Osborne