by David Proudfoot

Molva molva

species ID ling

Distinguishing features

The ling is a long bodied fish with one short anterior dorsal fin, 14 to 15 rays and one long fin towards the tail. It has a single chin barbel and the lower jaw does not project. The back and sides are a brownish green colour and the rear dorsal and anal fins have a lighter edge. There is a darkish spot on the first dorsal and to a lesser extent on the second dorsal and anal fins.


Can grow to a length of two metres and weigh around 45 kg.

British Record Fish List

UK Shore Record: 21lb 10oz 0dms / 9.809kgs
UK Boat Record: 67lb 5oz 0dms / 30.533kgs

European Line Class Record for this species


The ling lives in the colder waters from the English Channel north to Norway and Iceland with the larger fish being found at the northern extremities. It can be found in depths from 20 metres down to 300 metres. It prefers rocky ground and is frequently found on and around wrecks.


Diet consists mainly of demersal fish but will also eat crustaceans.


Fish baits, mackerel in particular are most effective for ling.


Ling will take pirks particularly when baited and are attracted to baited spoons.

The British record ling captured by Shetland angler James Isbister in 2013

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