Runswick Bay is perhaps the most talked about sea angling venue on the Yorkshire coast. Nine miles north of Whitby lies the beautifully scenic village of Runswick. The surrounding bay is home to some of the very best fishing anywhere in the region.
Having fished the area for many years now I have come to think of Runswick Bay in terms of three separate fishing areas, each of which contains a large set of marks within.
The area in front of the village and stretching along to the yacht club is largely beach fishing, but with Kelp not far away its no wonder this area fishes so well for winter cod.
The second set of marks (Known locally as “Right Of Runswick”) runs from the yacht club almost upto Kettleness. The fishing here is over rougher ground, with some marks being a light mix of sand, scar and wrack weed whilst others are thick kelp and rock style venues.
To the left of the village lies another set of marks which run from the rocks near the thatched cottage and right around the corner untill you come to Port Mulgrave. Again the fishing here is over much heavier ground with rocks and kelp in abundance.
The beach at Runswick can be prolific in terms of winter cod fishing. When the fish are feeding on the soft ground, this is the place to be. The availability of small worms, prawns, sandeels and even crabs dislodged from the sand by winter storms, gives cod the ideal feeding opportunity. The main key to success here is the beach itself. If the beach is flat from the high to low tide area, fishing is often slow. However when the sands shift and you find a steep gradient from high to low tide line, then fishing will be much better. If you find the beach gauged out with holes and gullies in the area between high and low tide then the beach fishing can be dynamite.
The fishing here is largely over sand so grip leads and pennel rigs are often the way to go. Lugworm, Ragworm and Hermit Crabs can be the killer baits here, with a cocktail of all 3 often proving deadly.
The best beach fishing stretches from the area directly in front of the village upto the yacht club in the corner of the bay. Loose weed can often be a big problem here, rendering the mark almost unfishable at times. Should you become plagued by weed you should move around the beach until you find an area weed free. Keep in mind that the loose weed moves across the bay with the tide so there is always an area where loose weed should not be a problem.
Best times are said to be on a flooding tide, or on the ebb tide when the best fishing starts roughly 2 hours after high water.
Runswick beach is a very easy mark to access, and if word gets out that the area is fishing well, you will need to get there early to reserve your spot. There are times when this stretch of coast resembles the golden mile at blackpool. With this in mind, many of the regions hardened rock anglers stay well clear of the area. However the catching potential of Runswick beach should not be overlooked, and on the right day its yielded many a good bag of fish with double figure cod on the cards too.
The Right Of Runswick
The “Right Of Runswick” is often where you will find the hard core rock anglers. The area is often completely weed free and a mix of sand, scar and weed provides the perfect place for cod to feed. This area fishes best over a neep low tide. However some of the marks are still accessible over a neep high tide, and “Little Run” in particular can be prolific on a neep flood with the cod coming right up to high tide.
The marks start at the Yacht club with several shallow gullies being the main places to fish. The area in front of the small valley just after the yacht club is the first popular mark you will reach. The tell tale sign of a dark patch of water surrounded by white on either side gives the mark away in rough conditions.
A walk through the area on a large summer ebb tide will show the mark as nothing more than a very shallow depression in the scar. To the untrained eye it looks like nothing much at all. But to the budding winter cod angler this kind of feature highlights an underwater winter cod superhighway.
Further still is the mark know by Whitby anglers as “Little Run” or by the Teesside lads as “Clay Hole”. Again there is nothing obviously fishy to the untrained eye. Sand meets scar here, and there is also some wrack weed and small boulders in the shallow gulley.
This area fishes well on heavy winter seas. Water colour is often the key to success with traditional winter baits of crab, lug, mussel and razer fish all doing the business. Although this mark can still produce in the late winter season, the best of the fishing is often over by mid January when the soft ground fishing can come into its own.
The Shallow scars that stretch from little run, upto hill stones are home to a multitude of narrow cracks running for hundreds of yards in the scars. Learning where these cracks are, and more importantly, how to get your bait into them at the right time is key to successful fishing in this area.