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.


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

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