This week we go off-shore to report on the state of our local sea fishing. I recently went afloat from Hornsea with skipper Dave Allport and fishing buddy Patrick Harknet to have a go at wreck fishing.
Hornsea has around 140 wrecks within a 10 mile radius. I used to have a boat there so know the area pretty well. Some of the wrecks are a mere blip on the chart but some are huge, offering very effective holding features for the bigger cod, pollock, ling and tope.
We had our sights set on fishing the wreck of the HMS Falmouth, which fell foul of a torpedo attack back during World War One. This wreck lies around 6 miles out and is one of the better known marks but there are no guarantees when sea fishing. On the way out we had our usual task of catching mackerel for bait. They’re just moving in at this time of year but we did find some shoals about 2 miles out and managed to catch a dozen or so on feathers for bait. This can be great sport on its own.
We managed to anchor-up at the Falmouth, which is usually an easier way of fishing than drifting up and down the wreck. We fished cod feathers without any luck so swapped over to baiting large hooks with slithers of mackerel. These were dropped straight down to the wreck and left ‘pinned’ to the bed. ‘Down-tiding’ is the technical term for it.
There’s nothing fancy about presenting baits at sea. We used 8oz leads fixed directly to the 50lb mainline and clipped on 3ft leaders. The idea being that the bait will waft around to entice a take.
Fishing was a little slow even thought the sonar was showing plenty of fish around the wreck. During the day we did pick up a good variety of fish though, including mackerel, pouting and pollock. The odd bonus cod added to the haul with the biggest around the 10lb mark.
We also caught some more unusual species. Patrick managed to catch a weaver fish and I caught a bull huss (type of small shark) and the Skipper Dave managed to land the most beautiful thornback ray (pictured).
All in all it was a great day afloat, the conditions were calm and the sun was shining. It doesn’t get any better than this.
The days of going out from Whitby or Bridlington and returning with bin bags full of cod may be over but the sea stocks are certainly recovering. Even fishing from the beach has started to give good results around the Humber, Brigg and as far down as Cleethorpes and Skegness. I’d say the sea is recovering nicely from our history of over-fishing by trawlers and is certainly worth a trip.
Boat fishing at sea can be done by anyone. There are plenty of commercial boats to choose that take trips out from Bridlington and Whitby. These will supply all the tackle and bait you need and for a modest fee.
They will show you the ropes so it doesn’t matter whether you’re a complete novice or seasoned sea angler. If you fancy trying something different, get a group of you together and charter a boat for the day. Its great fun and most of what you catch, you can eat. At the very least you should have a go at fishing for mackerel. Its great fun and once you hit a shoal you’ll catch hundreds of them.
Tight Lines, Alan Dudhill
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