Lingcod are one of the most popular bottomfish to catch along the Pacific Coast. They live anywhere there is rocky structure like reefs, seamounts, undersea banks, around pinnacles and along ledges. We fish for them far offshore in as deep as 800 feet of water. But also from shore, casting from rock jetties, and everywhere in between. One trait that makes a Lingcod a fishing favorite is that they are extremely aggressive, and have an oversized appetite that matches their oversized bucket-mouth. They are a predator of the sea and they ambush their prey without mercy. I’m completely addicted to fishing for them.
Here is my list of the best Lingcod lures
My Lingcod fishing adventures have taken me to Alaska, British Columbia, Washington and Oregon. I’ve spent a fair amount of time in many locations across the Pacific Coast, both on offshore fishing grounds as well as nearshore and in the more protected straits, sounds and bays. I put together a list of what I believe to be the best fishing lures for Lingcod. My hope is that it helps you narrow down your tackle search and you get out there and find some good success Lingcod fishing!
Best Soft Plastic Lures for Lingcod Fishing
Some of the best lures for Lingcod fishing are soft plastics, and there is a wide variety of productive ones on the market. When I am looking for a good soft plastic lure, I want something that is big enough to catch the attention of a good-sized Lingcod, a color that matches the forage that Lingcod eat, and durable enough to catch more than one Lingcod. They have a ferocious bite to them and a mouth full of sharp teeth, I want a lure that can handle a good chewing!
Twin Tail Grubs
One of my favorite Lingcod soft plastic lures is the Pitbull Tackle UV Twin Tail Grub. Both the 5.5″ and 8.5″ are good choices, and these lures come in a couple really effective colors, like Root Beer, Motor Oil and Fire Tiger.
P-Line Twin Tail Squid
While I doubt the engineers at P-Line were thinking of me when they designed this lure, it does happen to be one of my personal favorites. The many long tentacles and twin curly tails have an incredible action in the water, and I’ve had some epic catches on this, both in the nearshore Pacific and further inland in the protected marine waters of Washington State and British Columbia. The larger 7″ and 9″ P-Line Twin Tail Squid are most appropriate for fiesty Lingcod.
Pitbull Tackle Killer Jigs
The Killer Jig is a pretty unique lure, kind of surprising that nobody had thought of this concept before the guys at Pitbull Tackle, but if anyone is going to come out with something ground-breaking and mega-effective it is going to be these guys! The Pitbull Tackle Killer Jig is a UV skirted jighead with a Twintail Grub, and while this was initially designed as an inshore Halibut lure, this has quickly become a Lingcod favorite from California all the way to Alaska. The action of the skirt adds alot to the presentation and is a definite eye-catcher in the water. Lingcod love these things.
Swimbaits are some of the most universal saltwater soft plastics on the market. They seem to find a home in every fishery along the Pacific Coast. Alot of Lingcod are caught on swimbaits. I’ve fished alot of different swimbaits for Lingcod, and I’ve found my favorite in the Pitbull Tackle Swimbait. These are super durable and you can catch a bunch of fish off one bait, they just so happen to come in a variety of good Lingcod colors. I’d focus on the 5″ and 6″ sizes, but if you are looking to drop a big bait then the 8″ version is what you want. You can run them on a standard bullet-style jighead, or pair them with a Pitbull UV Shad Swimbait Jighead (pictured below is a 5″ Swimbait-with-2 ounce Shad Jighead and a 6″ Swimbait-with-3 ounce Shad Jighead).
Fisherman’s Gold Flounder Pounder
Lingcod fishing with live bait is really effective and one of my favorite tactics, but sometimes it’s not feasible. That is why the Fisherman’s Gold Flounder Pounder soft plastic lure looks like such a killer. This small sand dab imitation has alot of action and is the exact size of the live baits I prefer to fish.
Double Hook Lingcod Fishing Rigs
Tandem hook rigs, also known as “chicken rigs”, are popular moreso in the nearshore reefs and structure of the Pacific than inside the straits, sounds and bays. In areas where Lingcod and Rockfish are found in abundance, a double hook rig can often quickly fill limits of both. P-Line has a double grub rig and a Lingcod rig that are both really effective in these situations.
My Favorite Metal Jigs for Lingcod Fishing
I’ve found that metal jigs are a very effective lure style for Lingcod fishing. My top choices for metal jigs are thin and sink fast, and offer a good flutter when vertically jigging near the bottom. Like any good Lingcod lure, you want to use the lightest weight possible that still gets you to the bottom, where the Lingcod are found.
Puget Pounder Jigs
Puget Pounder Jigs were designed in Washington State by Beau Mac Enterprises, and are used in many different fisheries, including Lingcod. The best way to fish these is to vertically jig over rocky structure, being very cautious to keep the lure just off the bottom. You need to be as close to the bottom as possible to catch the attention of Lingcod, without snagging and losing your lure. I don’t have a preference in color for Lingcod, all seem to work well. But the heavier 3.5 and 4.5 ounce sizes seem to match best the areas I fish for Lingcod, which are typically 60 to 100 feet deep.
P-Line Laser Minnow Jigs
P-Line Laser Minnows have put alot of Lingcod and Rockfish in my boat. I like the ultra prism flash that these lures have, especially when I’m fishing nearshore along kelp beds or on shallow reefs or rock-piles. While the 3 ounce to 6 ounce seem to be more the right size to catch the attention of a large and hungry Lingcod, believe it or not I’ve had really good success with the lighter 1 ounce and 2 ounce as well on days where the fish didn’t seem to be very aggressive. Sometimes big fish are feeding on small baitfish I guess.
Fisherman’s Gold Flutter Jigs
I was fishing out of Neah Bay, Washington one year and came back to the dock with a decent catch but not a limit. Another fishermen at the cleaning table had a really impressive haul of Black Rockfish and Lingcod, and he told me that I needed to go back to the store at Mason’s and pick up a couple Rootbeer Flutter Jigs. I did and it was a great thing that I did, as they ended up being a big factor in our day’s limits. I always like our boat to fish a variety of things, a mix of soft plastics and metal jigs until we find what is the ticket of the day, and Flutter Jigs always seem to make it into our lineup.
Copper Pipe Jigs
Deep on the edge of the continental shelf are zones that hold prolific populations of Halibut and Lingcod. Every port has at least a few spots where a long run and deep drops produce big catches. Some of the most amazing Lingcod fishing I’ve seen have been in waters that are 450′ to 800′ deep off the Washington Coast. In water this deep, it’s safe to say that our gear enters the “Midnight Zone” well before it reaches bottom. If it’s pitch-black darkness down there, does it matter what a lure looks like?
One of the oddest but best lures for deepwater Lingcod is the Copper Pipe Jig. This lure is nothing more than a lead-filled copper pipe with a place to tie your line and a big hook. The attraction here isn’t how the pipe jig looks, but the electric pulse that it creates. The battery-like charge that occurs when these dissimilar metals are compressed in deep water draws attention from nearby Lingcod and Halibut. Bang that jig on the bottom to ring that dinner bell.