Haddock is commonly caught by anglers seeking cod or pollock and targeted by some commercial fisherman. When recreational fisherman seek haddock, they get good results. Haddock that you catch and eat when still fresh is a delicate, white fish that can be baked, poached, steamed, broiled and even smoked. Read on to learn how to catch haddock.
- Skill level:
Pick a bait such as clams, mussels, squid or baitfish. Some local bait shops sell specialized haddock lures.
Use a light leader to avoid detection. Rig your line with a swivel to prevent your bait from spinning.
Head to deep water and lower your line to the ocean floor. Once your bait hits the bottom reel in any slack.
Keep the line between your thumb and forefinger because haddock take bait more gently than cod. A strike feels like two bumps.
Pull back on the rod forcefully and steadily to set the hook, but don't jerk it.
Play the fish carefully because haddock mouths tear easily. Reel in your line evenly and don't pump the rod as with other species of fish.
Tips and warnings
- Party boats are an easy way to get to deep water for good haddock fishing. The boat staff may have tips if you want to focus on catching haddock. Generally party boats catch cod, haddock and pollock with a smattering of other species.
- In order to tell haddock from cod or pollock, check for a tall, pointed dorsal fin, a dark lateral line, which is white in pollock, and a dark splotch behind the gills.
- Haddock is a good fish to use in fish stew or chowder.