The Main UK Summer Fish Species Is Mackerel.
Mackerel is the main summer species for anglers in the UK.
It has to be one of the most enjoyable species to catch. Warm summer evenings spent on the UK’s piers and beaches can produce decent catches of mackeral for all anglers.
The shoals often arrive in June and stay right through the summer.
Tackle For Catching Mackerel
The beauty of mackerel fishing is that the tackle used is both lightweight and cheap.
Less than 15 pounds spent in one of the Whitby tackle shops will see you equipped with a spinning rod, reel and enough spinners or floats to go fishing. Extra spinners usually work out at less than a pound each.
Local angler Phil Mead catching 3 mackerel at a time on a hokeye rig
Spinning For Mackerel
There are 3 main ways for catching mackerel from the piers at Whitby. The majority of anglers prefer the easy method of casting a 1 ounce silver spinner into the sea then slowly retrieving it.
The idea with this method is that the spinner imitates the Spratt which is the mackerels main prey. This method of fishing is often referred to as spinning.
Above : Mackerel on a spinner at Whitby
Float Fishing For Mackerel
Some anglers prefer to float fish for mackerel which I have to admit is quite an art form in itself.
Learning how to set up the float, what depth to fish at and when to strike a bite are just a few of the challenges that lay in front of the float angler.
As a general but unwritten rule on the piers the anglers who choose to spin for mackerel fish from the seaward end of the extensions whilst float anglers tend to favour the end closest to land, I am unsure as to exactly why this is, but tangles are avoided as spinners and floats don’t appear to mix to well.
The picture to your left shows how to set up a sliding cigar float for mackerel fishing. The mackerel fishing float slides up and down the main line. The bait is stopped from going to the bottom by a stop knot tied into the main line.
This sliding stop knot, often made out of an elastic band is also used to govern the depth of water that the bait is presented at.
It is normal to position the knot around 10 foot from the top of the float. This depth is then altered by sliding the knot up or down.
Mackerel are often caught between a depth of 8 foot and 20 foot and anglers using this method will have to experiment to see what depth the mackerel are feeding at on any given day.
Above : Local angler Graham Wright float fishing For Mackerel at Whitby west pier.
Using The Cork Or Floating Bead Method For Mackerel Fishing
Another method sometimes used for fishing for mackerel is called corking.
A cork is attached to the snood of a fishing rig which floats a strip of a sand eel or a mackeral away from the bottom again imitating the mackerels pray – A sprat or a sandeal.
The method of corking is rarely if ever used at Whitby and is thought of as a more successful method for catching mackerel at the South Gare in Teesside.
The cork is often substituted for with floating beads which can also be purchased in various fluorescent colours making the bait more visually attractive.
Mackerel Fishing Venues
The main venues for Mackerel fishing at Whitby are the east and west piers. In the interest of public safety Anglers may only fish from the lower decks of the piers and must only fish on the seaward side of the pier to avoid causing problems for the boats that utilise the harbour entrance.
Above : Anglers fishing for mackerel on the west pier at Whitby
Other places worth a try for mackerel fishing in the Whitby area include. The South Gare at Redcar, Skinnigrove and Staithes piers, Sandsend beach and car park, Scarborough Marine Drive and Filey Brigg.
The majority of these venues have difficult access and are not suitable for anglers with moderate disabilities. Sandsend car park is about the best venue for disabled anglers. If you are a disabled angler and would like to raise the issue of angling access in the area, then Scarborough council would be your first port of call.
Above : Anglers Spinning for mackerel at the slipway in front of Sandsend car park
If you have found this site useful, have enjoyed your time at Whitby, or would like to discuss the topic of angling at Whitby then please drop by our Whitby sea anglers forum at http://www.whitbyseaanglers.co.uk/forum/index.php.