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Yorkshire Coast Fishing

Yorkshire Coast Bass

Fishing at South Landing


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The fishing on the Yorkshire Coast is still as good as anywhere in the country

When fishing off the shore on the Yorkshire Coast anglers catch mainly cod, bass, whiting, pollack, coalfish, wrasse, dabs, thornback rays and mackerel. Boat anglers off the Yorkshire Coast also target tope and ling. There are not as many cod caught off the Yorkshire Coast as there used to be but the right place and time can still bring a decent catch. The rock marks on the Northern part of the Yorkshire Coast are probably best for cod. Shore fishing is  challenging and so it is  important to use the right technique at the right place and time. People are particularly reticent about giving information about where and when you can catch bass on the Yorkshire Coast. The truth is that it is very difficult to catch them consistently even if you have a lot of local knowledge. However bass can be caught but be prepared to work at it.

Time of the day can also play a huge part and for most species the last few hours of daylight into dusk are often best. First light is similarly effective. Fishing on a night is also very effective . I would say you are maybe 5 times more likely to catch cod in winter in the dark than in the daylight especially if fishing on sand.
Approaching a period of big spring tides also gives an advantage as does the state of the tide. The problem here is some places are definitely better near high water such as Bridlington's South Pier (no water at all at low water) where as many rock places such as the end of Filey Brig are better near low water and many of the Holderness beaches (Bridlington to Spurn) often fish best around half tide. This is why it is so important to see when and where the locals are fishing and copy what they are doing (if they are catching!!!!). 

A few generalities about the Yorkshire Coast but remember that fish do not read text books so fish often break the "rules" and anyway different marks have different "rules".

Time of year
almost all year
Rocky and kelpy ground but also on sand in winter when it has been rough.
Crab is usually best on rock but other baits such as worm mussel,squid and razorfish will  often catch as a big cocktail bait. Worm is best on sand in winter.
Bass June to September Rock or sand wherever bass are caught!!
Some use plugs if the water is reasonably clear but bait also works and remember bass will happily feed in a foot of water. It does not have to be deep. Dawn and dusk are the best bet.
Mackerel June to September Deep water such as piers and Filey Brigg
Spinners such as a dexter wedge or use a string of feathers. I find the small Hokkais outfish ordinary feathers maybe 5 to 1.
Thornback rays Summer and Autumn
Holderness beaches
Fish baits but worm crab and squid will also catch.
Dabs almost all year Sand
Almost all baits, maybe worm my favourite and if a little smelly, fine. A lovely tasting fish to eat, related to lemon sole.
Whiting Winter best
Almost all baits, maybe fish baits best. After dark better as well.
Pollack July to November Rough rock
Spinners such as dexter wedges or feathers, shads and sandeels  but also more traditional baits
Coalfish almost all year Rock and sand
Almost all baits but they go for spinners and feathers as well
Wrasse June to November Rough rock Almost all baits but i would bet on a worm and squid cocktail.

Safety should always be at the forefront of your mind when near the sea and cliffs. Accidents are not common but can be fatal (41 drowned in 6 years in the Uk while shore angling, usually swept off rocks). Local knowledge is invaluable. Some venues are far more dangerous than others but ultimately it is your responsibility to think about possibilities and to take appropriate measures to reduce risk, including just not fishing a particular mark on a particular day. The MCA is suggesting you should always wear a lifejacket when rock fishing.
Filey Brigg is one of many places on the Yorkshire Coast which can catch out the unwary. Deep water close to the shore allows very large waves to suddenly rear up and suck you off the rocks. I know of one angler who was but was wearing a full buoyancy suit (keep you warm as well), as many winter anglers do, and so was OK. There are also many places on the Yorkshire Coast where you can get cut off.

Popular easy places to fish on the Yorkshire Coast

  • Bridlington South Pier (and the North Pier in winter only)

  • Whitby outer part of the West Pier

  • Filey Coble landing and the new sea wall bulge (High water only)

  • Any of the beaches South of Bridlington. These are quite steep so from half tide you are in plenty of water. Often at their best on a night or after a south easterly has stirred things up a bit. Hornsea is particularly popular as it has easy access down the cliff from free car parks and the fishing can be good at times.

  • Sandsend beach and car park.
However any of the beaches on the Yorkshire Coast are easy to fish (probably for Dabs and Flounder ) but obviously not if there are people paddling and swimming in the sea.

Popular rock marks on the Yorkshire Coast ( all need care)

  • Filey Brig many places give access to quite deep water around the back of the Brig and can be fished at all states of the tide although you are likely to do better on the tide coming in. You will be cut off at high water unless you are happy climbing a vertical iron ladder.

  • Flamborough. There are many places to fish here both off the cliff tops and in the bays and coves. Some have difficult access involving climbs, long walks and vertical drops near where you are fishing. South Landing and Danes Dyke at the Bridlington side and the rocks under Speeton are maybe the easiest to fish. At any of these last three you can choose to fish onto rock or sand depending where you go.

  • Scarborough in front of the Sealife centre at Scalby. When the tide is in you can fish off the sea wall.
The Whitby Sea Anglers  web site has many useful tips and fishing marks and is well worth trawling through when planning a fishing trip anywhere on the Yorkshire Coast. It really is a brilliant site with good information especially if you are after cod or bass. Be sure to read some of the forum entries as well. It is a huge site with plenty of photos showing marks if you do searches.

Photorecce has some useful photos and information on a few of the best known shore angling sites along the Yorkshire coast

Boat fishing trips

Boat fishing trips are available on the Yorkshire Coast  from Whitby, Scarborough Flamborough and Bridlington.
Flamborough has the shortest trip to the fishing grounds by far so if you want a short fishing trip by far the best place to go.  Bridlington has the calmest water  (if they stay in the bay for mackerel, flatfish or skate) . Whitby has some of the best deep water fishing grounds and so they do still get some remarkable catches.

Small boat launching sites on the Yorkshire Coast

Both Whitby and Scarborough Harbour have launch sites but you will have to sort parking our for both car and trailer. Filey has the coble landing and you can leave your trailer on the beach but the car still needs parking. Bridlington has a dedicated launch facility which is very good and includes a tractor launch and recovery. Very nice with no parking problems but it is quite pricey. Hornsea has a similar system. Best to check before you turn up at any of these places. Some have restrictions of what you can do (eg no speedboats or jet skis at Filey) or the times you can use the facility (eg Bridlington has set opening times.) They also change their conditions from time to time.

Angling Shops

There are proper tackle shops in Hornsea, Bridlington, Scarborough (2) , Whitby and Hornsea which sell bait but there are also other seafront shops which stock basic requirements and sometimes even bait. In Filey Household Stores on Belle Vue street does sell some fishing tackle.
Fresh or frozen bait certainly beats any of the packeted and preserved baits and do not forget you can often buy squid, mackerel, mussels and razorfish from the bigger supermarkets fish counter.