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Family Friendly Yorkshire Coast Fishing

Yorkshire Coast Dab
You can catch dabs on most beaches

Yorkshire Coast safe fishing
North Hornsea beach at high water

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Where can you take the whole family fishing

Mum Dad and the kids. Well for me it is Gran, Grandad and grandson aged 7. Where do we go? Three things come to mind when selecting a place for a  fishing trip with children.

A relatively  gentle sloping shore is needed. Rock ledges with deep water and kelp are not a recipe for a safe relaxed fishing trip.
This takes us to safe sandy beaches. Obviously  the main beaches become impossible to fish when its  hot and every one is in the sea. Yorkshire Coast beaches should be fished with any ordinary rig and 2 or 3 smallish hooks baited with worm if possible (squid is an alternative). You may well catch flounder and dabs. Dabs (close relatives of lemon sole) are one of my favourite eating fishes. Remember you can tell Dabs and flounder easily apart as the Dab has a slightly translucent white side whereas the flounder is uniform matt white. The flounder also has some prominent boney ridges behind the eyes. The Dab has a very rough brown skin if roubbed towards the head. There is also the chance of a bass through the summer months particularly if the sea is coloured with an E wind. You might even catch a thornback ray, dogfish or dover sole. You may have crab problems (eating your bait) in summer so check bait. Once there has been a frost in winter the crabs move to deeper water. In winter the beaches have a very good chance of a few whiting in winter especially at night.

One method of fishing my grandson likes is using a surface plug for bass when it is really calm.  I cast out and he winds it in. The surface plug  floats on the surface so cannot catch any weed or rocks that are about and he can see it. The gear is a light spinning rod and reel so he can handle it all. He kept this up for quite a while. He has not caught one yet. As a method of catching bass I can testify it works and it is the most exciting way of catching a bass by far. It will leave you shaking. You may see the swirl and maybe the fin before the bass hits. Of course the bass are usually  not there but  you can spend a happy  hour just winding in your plastic fish. You are most likely to catch close to change of light morning/ evening.

This can be an effective method anywhere there are bass in shallow water that is fairly clear (say at least 1m visibility). Slightly murkier at the water edge is good. If the water is murky you are better off with bait. Bass will happily swim in a foot of water and the few I have caught have been very close to the shore. Suitable lures are a Storm chug bug or a Savage Panic Prey psycho sandeel. This method can also be used over shallow shelving rock as the tide comes in.

Do remember that children will probably only want an hour or two before they get bored or cold unless there is a lot of fish.

Holderness Coast, Hornsea

You can fish off the beach anywhere from Bridlington to Spurn point, wherever there is easy access. Popular places for fishing include Hornsea and Mappleton. At Hornsea of course you have a good beach and shops and toilets not far away. Anglers tend to fish to the North or South ends of the beach even at Mappleton there are toilets. This is a good stretch of coast with relatively steep beaches so you are casting into a good depth of water at high water. However it is safe as long as it is calm There is a good chance of catching a fish. In winter it used to be exceptional for cod. My best catch ever was 32 codling in 3 hours in the 1980s. The beaches were lined with anglers. What might you catch now. Dab and flounder plus the very odd bass at any time of the year is possible and in winter whiting and the occasional cod particularly in the dark. Quite an expedition for a young one but with modern head lights and a calm sea and not too cold, quite feasible and safe.

Night Fishing on a Yorkshire Beach

Do be aware that Northerly swells can build up quite quickly especially at high water putting a heavy surf onto the beach. Every now and then one wave much bigger can crash onto the beach and run a long way up it. This can happen even when we have no wind but is usually the result of a gale between Iceland and Norway maybe 48 hours before.


In Bridlington there is the ever popular South pier at High water. The pier though is very busy with pedestrians and a few vans and lorries going out to the fish quay. There is a stone wall between you and the sea although there is nothing at the harbour side to stop you falling in the harbour. It is not a place I would enjoy however many families do fish here at high water. Very occasionally mackerel can be caught on a spinner or feathers and again the very odd bass and dover sole. .

The end of the North beach nearer to Sewerby steps is another safe worthwhile place although you may have to walk a distance from Bridlington to get away from swimmers in high summer. The top part of the beach is quite steep  here so at high water you are in quite a depth. It is one of my favorite safe fishing places when the early evening coincides with high water. Do watch your bait as there are a lot of dog walkers and some (dogs not the dog walkers) love smelly bait!!!! My grandson has caught dabs, plaice, coalfish, eels, whiting and flounders here.

Bridlington North Beach Fishing

In winter the North pier is popular and I think better than the South for catching fish, however  no angling is allowed in the summer. It has a low stone wall between you and the sea but again nothing on the harbour side. The North pier has had at times some good catches of whiting and dabs with the occasional codling these last few winters but nowhere near as good as it was in the 1960s when bags of half a dozen codling to 4lb and cod over 5 pounds were not that uncommon. My biggest was an 11 pound cod.

Flamborough head

The beaches at Danes Dyke and South landing are easy places to fish but remember you need to move to the east of Danes Dyke to be out of the  no take protected zone. Both suffer from weed at times.


There is also Filey Beach at high water off the bull nose of the New sea wall and on the Coble landing. There are ice cream shops and toilets close by as well as railings to stop you falling over the edge. Reighton beach is a popular fishing place in Filey Bay but further round towards Flamborough Head. It is a popular spot for anglers and a better chance of a bass than many places. It is however a long walk down the cliff from the car park . It has a concrete track of sorts part of the way. However once down there is a nice beach. The kids can always look for fossils. They will find plenty.The sea does reach the cliff at high water so make sure you are not cut off from the way back. On a big tide the sea comes in quickly.

Sandsend and Whitby

At Whitby there is the West Pier but it does feel quite exposed and the gaps in between the wooden planks freak some people out. Maybe a more comfortable place is Sandsend beach and from the Northern most car park itself at high water. Again this is a place known to throw out the odd bass when conditions are right.