With 15 full-time charter boats, the Yorkshire port of Whitby is one of the most popular fishing destinations in the UK
Focus on the famous port of Whitby.
For many years Whitby has been regarded as providing the best UK cod fishing, and it is from here that the current British record cod was caught. That fish was taken over an offshore wreck in 1992 by Noel Cook, and it weighed a massive 58lb 6oz.
Nowadays, however, it is rare for any of the boats to travel more than six miles off when searching out the cod, such is the quality of the inshore sport.
In the ‘good old days’, the standard tackle used to be 50lb-class rods, Dacron line and ‘killer’ rigs (two or three muppets fished above a pirk). Things have changed dramatically since those days, and most of the cod and ling sport is now had with 12lb or 20lb-class boat rods, braided mainline and a single artificial lure during the summer.
During the winter, many of the boats anchor up and fish the uptide method with bait. This tactic has proven extremely effective, so much so that some of the skippers run a ‘Winter Uptiding Festival’, which attracts hundreds of competitors from all over the UK.
Fish to well over 20lb are still caught regularly, and the sheer numbers of fish into double figures within three miles of the port is astounding.
It’s not just cod and ling you can catch out of Whitby though. In recent years, some of the charter boats have opened up some very exciting sport in the form of porbeagle sharks.
Sharks to over 350lb have been caught, and in good numbers too. When conditions are right, it’s not uncommon to get two, three or more runs in a day, which offers really good odds of boating a big porgie.
Then there is the real possibility of latching into a halibut. During recent years there has been a dozen or so halibut caught by accident just a few miles offshore, the biggest a 71lb beast. These fish are here to stay, and it’s only a matter of time before someone works out exactly where they are and how to target them properly.
As if all that big-fish action isn’t enough to whet your appetite, there is some superb inshore bass fishing as well. Whitby is fast becoming an area frequented by kayak anglers, trolling lures or fishing livebaits close to the shore, resulting in good catches of bass.
ALL YEAR ROUND
Whereas the wreck sport used to limit fishing to the summer and autumn, the new inshore fishery is available all year, with the winter providing some hectic inshore cod action. There are also festivals in the spring and summer, with big cash prizes. For more info on these competitions and other events out of Whitby, visit the Whitby Charter Skippers Association website at: www.wcsa.co.uk
Charter boats in the harbour at Whitby
Skipper Paul Kilpatrick with a cod Inshore lure fishing has really taken off in recent years