Scientific Name: Gadus morhua or Gadus macrocephalus
Ideal Temp: 34-41°F (1-6°C)
Environment: Inshore, Nearshore, Offshore
Technique: Bottom Fishing, Jigging
Lure Type: Bottom Rig, Jigs
World Record: 46.72 kg (103 lb) Norway 2013
Cod is the common name for the genus Gadus of demersal fishes, belonging to the family Gadidae. Cod is also used as part of the common name for a number of other fish species, and there are species suggested to belong to genus Gadus that are not called cod (the Alaska pollock).
The two most important species of cod are the Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua), which lives in the colder waters and deeper sea regions throughout the North Atlantic, and the Pacific cod (Gadus macrocephalus), found in both eastern and western regions of the northern Pacific. Gadus morhua was named by Linnaeus in 1758. (However, G. morhua callarias, a low-salinity, non-migratory race restricted to parts of the Baltic, was originally described as Gadus callarias by Linnaeus.)
Cod is popular as a food with a mild flavour and a dense, flaky white flesh. Cod livers are processed to make cod liver oil, an important source of vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA). Young Atlantic cod or haddock prepared in strips for cooking is called scrod. In the United Kingdom, Atlantic cod is one of the most common ingredients in fish and chips, along with haddock and plaice.
Cods of the genus Gadus have three rounded dorsal and two anal fins. The pelvic fins are small, with the first ray extended, and are set under the gill cover (i.e. the throat region), in front of the pectoral fins. The upper jaw extends over the lower jaw, which has a well-developed chin barbel. The eyes are medium-sized, approximately the same as the length of the chin barbel. Cod have a distinct white lateral line running from the gill slit above the pectoral fin, to the base of the caudal or tail fin. The back tends to be a greenish to sandy brown, and shows extensive mottling, especially towards the lighter sides and white belly. Dark brown colouration of the back and sides is not uncommon, especially for individuals that have resided in rocky inshore regions.
The Atlantic cod can change colour at certain water depths. It has two distinct colour phases: gray-green and reddish brown. Its average weight is 5–12 kilograms (11–26 lb), but specimens weighing up to 100 kilograms (220 lb) have been recorded. Pacific cod are smaller than Atlantic cod and are darker in colour.