Maybe you are thinking of booking a trip on a boat and not really sure of whats involved, well don’t worry Here are a few basics for the total beginners  amongst you, I do intend to cover other boat basics such as makarell fishing, bait, shad and wreck fishing in another post which I will add soon

The most common type of boat fishing we do during the Spring, Summer, and Autumn is drift fishing and as its name implies the boat drifts along while you fish, the boat will be at the mercy of the tide and wind for however long it takes to drift the mark we are fishing (could be a wreck or rough ground) when I give the word as quickly as possible and all together drop your baited hook lure or whatever to the sea bed and keep it there until I shout wind up or until you feel a fish on the other end whichever comes first, simple yes?

Well not quite,  here lies the beginners confusion when dropping the bait he or she expects the (1lb recommended) lead to drop straight down instead it pulls to one side or under the boat why? Well once the lead drops beneath the surface your lead will tend to follow the tides direction as would the boat if it were not for the wind above the surface, if the wind is particularly strong and blowing hard you may find you have trouble finding the bottom in these conditions it’s important to drop down all together to avoid tangles and as fast as possible see drawing example

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The tides we can predict smaller tides produce less drift so it goes big tides give a faster drift it’s direction and strength can be predicted the wind is a different matter and sometimes in our favour and sometimes against, the skilled angler will in all but extreme conditions be able to keep his or her bait on the bottom by letting line out from an open reel as the boat drifts away from the mark thus keeping in contact with the fish near the sea bed, we do catch fish in all tides big or small there are no hard and fast rules but less wind will help, still the most important thing is to keep your bait on the bottom that way you will have the most success as most of our quarry are on or near the bottom,

(except the mackerel fishing  which is done near the surface I will cover this in another post soon, I also intend to cover other basic boat techniques soon)

Here are some tips and angling boat etiquette to help during your trip, which ever boat you use these simple tips will help you fit in with regular anglers and keep on the good side of your skipper, most is common sense and courtesy

Research from our websites and forums before you come you will gain much info here, you will have much more scope if you can come mid week in summer as weekends  do go fast,

Bring warm clothing and rain wear as well as waterproof  boots drinks and food, I have witnessed  anglers setting off to sea in  t-shirts with nothing but a can of coke,   warm sunny days can be deceiving in the harbour and once at sea it’s usually very different

Remember to bring any medication you need along with sea sickness tablets you must check with your doctor first and tell the skipper if you have medical issues fainting, fits, diabetic, heart issues, this is for your safety

Once on board keep your place it’s courtesy to other anglers to keep your positions for the day unless you are offered otherwise, when fishing there is no best spot the skipper will try share under the boat drifts out equally, the person who usually catches the most will be concentrating on fishing the bottom and not watching what others are doing or catching

A skippers wheel house is like his second home,your skipper has to be constantly tuned into the radio along with navigational instruments and he has to be always aware of other shipping and it’s direction, even more so in rain and fog so please understand he has an important job to do keeping you safe, I understand anglers are keen and want to chat on the way out and during the day this is only natural and I also enjoy the process , but please don’t expect to spend the day in his wheel house or sit and eat your dinner there or assume it’s a refuge from the weather as I said earlier just a little consideration will go a long way

When sailing out or between marks place the lead and end tackle on the deck or in a bucket that way it wont clank about or swing into somebody’s face also when bringing your gear back into the boat first thing you grab is the lead NOT the line

The best of us sometimes gets the reel tangled but by making sure when winding your gear back in from the sea bed you keep the line level across the whole of the spool you will get few if any tangles when dropping the lead back down, to do this you simply push the line from side to side with your thumb during the winding in process, if you do get in a tangle shout up the sooner you shout the easier it is for me to untangle it

Most modern sea reels are now the multiplying type some reels may have a level wind fitted mine do not, I find them  unreliable for charter use, some boats still use the old big round drum type (Scarborough reel) and while simple in principle they are very robust but still will tangle in use, the thing to remember with the Scarborough reel is you control the drop using your hand as a brake on the drum, there is no need to keep the line level on the retrieve

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Steady winding is the best way to bring your fish up from the depths while keeping the line even across the spool this will aid a fast drop on the next drift, jerking and puling or fast winding is what you see in the movies and will only help pull the hook from the fishes mouth, if you think you have a big fish on just shout me I will get the landing net

When bringing a fish into the boat place your rod down against the hand rail grab the line hand over hand until you reach the fish do not swing fish in on a loaded or bent rod if the fish drops off the lead and hooks are catapulted back into the boat creating great risk to everyone lift your catch in or use the landing net

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During the inevitable tangles please listen to the person with his hands in the middle of the tangled hooks usually me no pulling or yanking even if you have a fish on I have had many a hook pulled into my hand by anglers saying he can feel the fish when all the while it was me

Keeping your reel in free spool until you get a bite  it will help you in paying line out to stay on the bottom, also it will help if you get stuck on the sea bed you can simply let a yard or two of line quickly out and wrap the loose line from the last eye of the fishing rod around either a short breaking out stick or the butt of the rod, held against the hand rails as the boat drifts will save many a broken fishing rod

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And never be tempted to wrap the line around your hand if stuck on the bottom use a break out stick or the butt of the rod as described

Another useful bit of advise for your first time boat fishing is to use a fast drop lead of around a lb in weight this may seem over the top and to the experienced boat angler it will be, but until you are used to finding the bottom consistently with mono line and in all tide strengths, stick with the lb lead, you can try a smaller size leads in smaller tides with less wind  on another trip please don’t be tempted to use whatever you have in the shed such as nuts and bolts, old taps, horse shoes, these will float down wrapping everyone’s gear up in the decent a fast drop lead will have you on the mark like lightning

File0158 (112 x 134) File0160 (119 x 210) File0161WRONG!!!!

File0156 (239 x 423) PERFECT

Please keep your fish in one of the fish boxes provided all are numbered nobody will take your fish, and leave the box in the rack this frees up the deck and keeps your catch out of the sun

Please don’t try to fillet fish while underway with a blunt knife you will make a much neater job at home in the kitchen, and a major cut at sea we do not need, and please don’t ask to use my knife, you may use your own for gutting and bait cutting but please be careful and use the cutting boards provided and not my boat please.

I will be on hand to help with any other questions you may have and please ask most is  common sense and nearly everyone picks it up during the day

I do hope you try your hand at boat fishing from our beautiful port here in Whitby I will do my best to make your day a memorable one

Mick Leonard skipper Sea Urchin II