Whitby Boat Fishing On Sea Urchin III
Sea Urchin III offers fantastic Whitby boat fishing all year round.
General – Throughout Spring, Summer and Autumn we generally fish the wrecks and reefs
out of Whitby for Cod, Ling and Pollock. In addition to the wreck and reef fishing, in Winter
we offer uptiding trips for Cod on the inshore grounds around Sandsend, Kettleness and
Robin Hoods Bay.
Our trips in Spring, Summer and Autumn commence at 07:00 hrs prompt; so please make
sure to be on the charter boat pontoon (opposite the Endeavour pub) for at least 06:30 –
06:45 hrs. If the tide level requires the use of the Swing Bridge at 07:00 hrs then we need to
be sat on the water waiting at 06:55 hrs. Late anglers can cost the whole party precious
fishing time, so if you are late, the boat will not wait for you.
Winter uptiding trips see us leave Whitby around 07:30 hrs and come back in for around
16:00 – 16:30 hrs; Spring, Summer and Autumn trips have us back at the pontoon for
roughly 17:00 hrs where you can finish off your filleting, if you haven’t already done it at sea
If you are not staying in Whitby the night before your trip, we recommend you arrive early
(05:00 – 06:00 hrs) in the morning to get a chance at a decent parking place. It can be
particularly busy through the summer months and although the pay and display car park on
Church Street has space for around fifty cars, it fills quickly (parking for the day in the
Church Street park costs £9.00).
Once you’ve got the car parked, it’s worth a stroll to the excellent Singing Kettle which is
always full of skippers and excited anglers, for one of their excellent breakfasts (open from
05:30hrs daily). If you need to grab any bait or tackle for the day, the guys at Hook, Line and
Sinker on Church straight will be pleased to see you, and sort you out.
Don’t forget to book your dates for the Whitby Charter Skippers Association Festival early so
you get the exact date and tide to suit your or your group. Most years, anglers leave it to the
last minute and then struggle to get a good tide and space; don’t let it be you this year. The
tide tables are available via either the skipper; or you can see the next 28 days on the
availability page of the calendar.
Many anglers enjoy a post-fishing pint and The Fleece, Endeavour and Middle Earth
Tavern are all popular Church Street
Winter Uptiding – Trips around Whitby, Kettleness, Sands End and Robin Hoods Bay have
proven very popular and productive in recent years. The uptiding season really kicks in when
the late autumn Northerly winds start stirring up the water close in to shore. It doesn’t take
long for the Cod to follow it in and some great sport can be had, only a short run out of
Whitby. Most trips will see the anglers fishing within half an hour or so of leaving port.
Tackle – The trips are generally bait fishing for Cod, at anchor, on inshore marks with light
tackle. 12-20lb class outfits and reels loaded with 50lb braid straight through are
recommended. 5-6oz grip leads with a rotten bottom of 15-20lb and pennel rigs do the
damage. Forty-pound hook traces of 4-6ft are fine for a regular tide, but if it starts pushing
through, 3-4ft will normally yield better results. If you haven’t tried it yet, fluorocarbon is
certainly worth a look (it sinks like a brick and doesn’t move around so much in the tide). For
the pennel rigs, sharp hooks are a must; and as the main hook we prefer to use Sakuma
Manta Extra 5/0 and a Sakuma Chinu in 3/0 on top, free running.
Any advice you need on tying rigs, or if you would like to purchase ours, just ask and we will be happy to help.
Bait – Cod are the main species we target, but occasionally an odd Pollock, Coalfish, Dogfish,
Wrasse or even Ling may turn up. It is good to take a wide variety of baits, as each day is
different, but the dominant baits which account for the lion share of the fish are Squid and
Black Lugworm (available from Hook, Line and Sinker in Whitby). Other baits worth a look at
are Crab Cart, Lugworm, Mussel and Peeler Crab.
Tactics – A mistake we regularly see made, is anglers who just drop the lead over the side of
the boat and as soon as it gets down to the bottom, they engage the clutch. When uptiding,
in particular; you must take into account the strength of tide and pay out a bow of line from
the lead, back to the boat (a count to five will usually suffice). The lead will grip onto the
bottom and you will receive one of two types of bite; well, we say bite, but it is important
that you do NOT strike, as this will do nothing as there is a bow in the line which needs to be
taken out. Bites are either a delicate nodding rod, or a classic spring back on the rod tip as
the fish pulls the grip lead from the bottom. In both instances pick up the rod and keep
winding until you make contact with the fish, do NOT strike.
Not all winter trips are Uptiding, so make sure to check with the skipper when booking, to
see if the plan is to go off to a wreck/ground or to uptide.
Lure and Shad Fishing – This method of fishing has evolved enormously at Whitby over the
years. Gone are the Scarborough reels and 50lb Class rods, heavy mono line, jigging heavy
perks. The introduction of soft rubber lures from the likes of Sidewinder, Redgill, Berkley
and Storm etc, have seen a move to lighter gear, which makes the whole experience more
enjoyable. Shadding’ all day can be quite physically demanding, so any gains you can make
by using lighter, more balanced tackle will pay dividends.
Given the right clarity of water,this is one of the most enjoyable and devasting methods around.
Tackle – Light rods in the 12-20lb class and light multipliers loaded with 40-50lb braid make
shadding a joy. There is sometimes the temptation to go really light on the lead, but through
experience we have found that 10-12oz is optimum; it gets down quickly and is not too
cumbersome to jig with for long periods. At the business end, traces made from 40lb fluorocarbon are particularly good.
The addition of a rig clip onto the hook trace will allow you to change the shad over between drifts very quickly.
It is amazing what difference a colour change can sometimes make.
Lures – There are literally hundreds of different lures available to catch both the fish and
sometimes, the angler. Some are constructed using cheap hooks which blunt and rust
quickly along with cheap molded rubber that give a poor swimming action. On this occasion
it really is worth paying a little more for one of the bigger company’s offerings, as they are
of a more consistent quality with an excellent swimming action. There is always much
debate amongst anglers as to which is the best colour etc.
The simple answer is, the one that gets you bites on the day. That said, there are certain colours which every angler should
have in their armoury to get the Cod. Rhubarb & Custard, Blue, White, Orange, and Pink. If
you fancy trying for a Pollack a black and red jelly worm on a jig head can prove to be killer.
Tactics – Shads and soft rubbers are not just cod selective, and quite often, Pollock, Haddock
and even an odd Ling will have a go at them. The best way to get to grips with shad fishing,
is to have a routine that you work through, to cover different possibilities (colours, size,
retrieve). We often see anglers just drop over the side with one colour of shad, jig it for a
couple of drifts and then go back to bait fishing, having not had a bite. Every now and again,
they may get lucky and crack the code straight away; but, more often than not, they will
have to wait for someone else on the boat to do it, then jump on board.
Ideally the water doesn’t want to be too coloured for a good days shadding’, as visual
appeal is important. The two methods to try are jigging and retrieving the shad. Once the
lead has reached the bottom, you can either fish it with a sharp upward jig or retrieve slowly
up off the bottom. If you opt to jig, be aware that quite often the fish will take the shad as it
drops back to the bottom, so always keep in touch with the shad when you lower the rod
back down. If you feel the shad being plucked at, do NOT strike, just let the fish take the
shad and wind it up slowly under constant pressure. When retrieving you need to feel for
the pluck of the fish, but again, do NOT strike; just keep winding until the fish hooks itself.
Fifteen turns of the reel is usually enough to pick off the Cod, but be prepared to go 25-30
turns of the reel for the Pollock.
Top Tips – Through trial and experience we have found a few little golden nuggets to bear
in mind when shadding’. If you find on the day that jigging is the most productive, a shorter
hook trace of 3-4ft will normally outfish a longer one on a moderate tide. Four-inch Shads
are a great way to start at Whitby, but if you feel a few plucks that don’t develop into fish,
try dropping down to a smaller 3” shad; which can often make a big difference. Don’t be
afraid to try alternative baits, jelly worms in particular, can sometimes catch when it seems
nothing is interested. Above all else, keep making subtle changes until you start picking
them off regularly. Shadding is a great way to fish, no messy hands cutting up bait and very
quick to get back down after a fish.
Bait Fishing – Undoubtedly the most popular angling method used at Whitby and accounts
for most of the large fish which get caught from boats. As with all methods, there are some
guidelines which we recommend you follow, to give yourself the best chance of bringing all
the fish you hook to the boat. Most fish species can be caught using bait, including the Whitby favourites of Cod, Ling and Pollock.
Stout tackle is required to extract the fish when you are drifting the wrecks and reefs, with many big Ling being lost as a consequence of not gearing up correctly.
Tackle – Boat rods in the 20-40lb Class will give you the necessary backbone to stop the fish
getting back into the wrecks where they live, coupled with multiplier reels loaded with 50lb
braid. Nothing fancy is required on the trace front, but strong and something which won’t
tangle is paramount. 100lb trace material will give you additional insurance against the
razor-sharp teeth of the Ling plus wear and tear of drifting through the wrecks. Paternosters
with double or single stand-off loops and an 8/0 hook mounted with muppets are a great
starting point. With the extra resistance created by the rig in the tide, lead size will need to
be somewhere between 12-16oz depending on how big the tide is.
Bait – Cod and Ling are the main targets when bait fishing the wrecks and a huge variety of
baits will catch the fish, but there are certainly a couple you should make sure you always
bring. The Mackerel usually turn up late May early June and will stay sometimes until
November. We will always stop on the way out and give you the opportunity to get yourself
some fresh Mackerel for bait when they are around. Fresh Mackerel (either a flapper, fillet,
strip or head and guts) and Squid are the essentials and then if you fancy bringing a couple
of alternatives; Mussels, King Prawn, Rag or Black Lugworm, Sandeel and Crab Cart are
always an option.
Tactics – The key to a good day at sea is to follow the 7P’s principle: Prior Planning &
Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance. Sea sickness can ruin a day at sea and the last
thing you want to be doing is trying to concentrate tying knots and rigs at sea.
When fishing the wrecks, you could lose a lot of sets of gear (although you might use the same set all
day), so having 10 – 15 bait traces all tied and stored in clear plastic bags, you can be fishing
again quickly in the event of a break off. After spending your hard-earned cash on a trip out,
you want the maximum amount of time fishing, not tying rigs.
A mistake often made by anglers is to engage the clutch as soon as the bait gets to the
bottom. This just results in the bait being dragged around and it is continually on the move.
The bait wants to be hard on the deck and static long enough for the fish to pick it up. Put
the reel out of gear and control things with your thumb. When you feel a bite, release a bit
of line to let the fish take the bait and feel for the pulling again. Repeat up to three times
with bigger baits (it takes them a bit longer to take the bait down), then engage the clutch
and get at least 15 turns on the reel to get the fish away from the wreck. Once clear, you
can back off a bit and enjoy the fight. Make sure your drag is set correctly, as a big fish will
smash even heavy traces when they lunge on a tight clutch.