The team travel to Yorkshire to enjoy some cod, wrasse and pollack fishing
Andy Webb samples northern cod fishing.
After a telephone call at the start of June with Paul Medd, the winner of the European Open Beach Championship 2018, a trip was planned to one of Yorkshire’s best-known venues, the amazing Filey Brigg.
A long, narrow peninsula a mile north of the town of Filey, the Brigg is, at first sight, a rough-ground angler’s dream. Our target for the session would be pollack, wrasse and cod. We would target the cod and wrasse with baits on the seabed with rotten-bottom rigs, though Paul told me to bring a spinning rod to fish shads for pollack.
With only a day to go before the big trip, Sea Angling Adventures’ Nick Panther arranged to meet me outside Exeter for a 4am start to our journey up to Sand le Mere Holiday park in the East Riding of Yorkshire, where we had booked in for a two-night stay. Sand le Mere is well known to many anglers for hosting the very popular Paul Roggeman European Open Beach Championships.
I was really looking forward to seeing the coastline in summer weather as normally, when I venture up to this neck out the woods, it’s to take part in the European Open Beach Championships, normally held in February. The next event is from February 15-17.
After a five-and-a-half-hour drive, we finally reached Hull, where we’d arranged to meet with SAA’s James Davies Cooke at the Hull Angling Centre. James had travelled from his home in Wales to join us for the trip.
After picking up a few bags of squid and some general tackle bits we were back on the road, and after a short drive we had reached the holiday park. We’d arranged to meet Paul the next morning at the Filey Brigg country park.
With the alarm going off at 5am, all three of us could not wait to get the show on the road. After an hour of driving, we reached our destination and Paul was there ready to meet us, and soon we were on our way down over the headland.
The scenery is really breathtaking, with large cliffs on one side of the peninsula giving way to deep water over kelp and rougher ground, ideal for targeting pollack. The right-hand side, looking out towards the point of the peninsula and known as the Brigg End, looked a lot shallower. We could see the tide moving very fast as the water flowed out of the bay on the ebbing tide.
Paul had very high hopes for a good day because the conditions were perfect. After 10 minutes or so of walking, we reached the bottom and made it out on to Brigg End. The ground reminded me of the reef marks in the Bristol Channel.
The area is a popular choice for anglers fishing in the big local festivals organised every September at Filey and Scarborough.
As we approached the last stretch of the rock platforms before we reached the water’s edge, we were greeted by a large group of seals who soon headed off into the water, away from the passing anglers who had rudely interrupted their peace and quiet. Finally, we reached our chosen spot, and all quickly started to set up our gear.
As you would expect, Paul was first to get fishing. Being used to the benefits of wearing his waders to venture out further on to the rock platforms, he was soon looking across the water for signs of where the rocks drop off into deeper territory. This, he confirmed, is an ideal location to pick up the fish, and a short 30-yard cast was all that was needed.
Paul set his rod in the tripod and started to bait a second rig while we were still baiting up, and Nick took a few photographs.
Within seconds Paul had the indications of the first fish, as his rod tip pulled slightly over.
He lifted the rod and applied slight tension to the line to await that pull-down, which meant he would lift back and strike the fish. Sadly, the fish decided to swim off, so Paul put the rod back in the rest.
Wearing my Vass wellies, I could not get as far out on the rock platform to cast, but I decided to go for a different approach and stick the double crab and whole squid bait out at distance. It was my ‘fish big or go home’ approach. James also sent out another large crab and squid bait to the horizon.
The tide was pulling fast, but the lead weights worked their magic and anchored the baits. By now Paul was around 50 yards further out along the rock platform and, as I looked in his direction, I could see him winding down on his fixed-spool. Moments later the first fish was landed, a 2lb 8oz codling, which was returned.
Around 15 minutes later, Paul’s dad David arrived and set up with his trademark Scarborough reels. I really could not imagine using one for my fishing, but David, who had loaded the reel with 40lb mainline and a 60lb leader, told me that the retrieval on the reel was outstanding, but that it lacked the distance-casting potential that was sometimes required.
I watched David as he made his way over the rocks, and once he got his footing, he performed a backcast and put his crab bait out around 60 yards. It was not long before David’s rod tip bent over and he started to reel in like a madman. Within moments a 2lb ballan wrasse was landed. While doing some camera work with David, I was alerted to a pull-down, but
despite running like a racehorse to my rod, I missed the bite.
As low water approached, Paul expected more fish at the turn of the tide. He was not wrong. It was great to see father and son side by side catching wrasse and codling. It was interesting to see how red some of the codling were because most of those we get in the South West are very pale.
SIMPLE AND EFFECTIVE
By now the tide was pushing us up the rock platform, so Paul suggested we try for some pollack further around to the left-hand side of the peninsula. I was looking forward to this part of the day because pollack are great fun to catch, and for anyone who is lucky enough to get a good one, they give a great account of themselves.
We quickly packed our gear and headed across the rocks to Paul’s chosen spot. I decided to try two methods. The first was to fish Sidewinder shads, which I would reel in slowly so they worked hard on the bottom, and the second to use a rotten-bottom pop-up rig with a squid bait. Simple and effective, the latter method has produced some fantastic fish.
After a few hours, the pollack did not seem to be playing ball, so David and Paul decided to target codling again. Within minutes of their baits being in the water, both were in action, although sadly, all too soon, it was time for our latest adventure to come to an end.
David Medd (left) with a codling, and son Paul with a wrassse
A large meal – a double crab and whole squid bait
Recording the action
The scenery is really breathtaking...
Paul was first into the action
Dave using a Scarborough reel