Small Boat Fishing – Article Kindly Submitted By Steerser From The Whitby Fishing Forum

I have been involved with boat fishing most of my life, but it wasn’t till 1998 that I decided to get a boat of my own in partnership with my brother.

Small Boat Fishing For Cod

It was a locally built double ender in reasonable condition with a 8hp engine
We only had a few short trips in this boat before we realised that this boat wasn’t what we wanted. It was a good little boat for working crab pots within a mile or so of the harbour, but no good for angling.

A lad from Staithes had just bought an Orkney 520 which is a 16 foot grp fishing boat, with a 25hp yamaha outboard on it, a lovely little boat that was capable on a good day of around 20mph..the lad was doing very well in this little craft and was beating everybody else hands down.

That was the type of boat we needed, so after a few weeks of scanning the classifieds, we found an orkney fastliner for sale for £3000. The fastliner is like the big brother of the 520 it’s 19 foot 6 long and and can take an engine upto a maximum of 60hp.

The boat was in a coal yard in swansea and had been stored there about three years,or so, it was in a bit of a state cosmetically, but structurally it was like new. There was no engine or controls with the boat so that was the next step.

Someone had told us about contract outboards, these are engines that are leased to the RNLI, they are used for a couple of years and are then returned to the manufacturer to be sold off. in my opinion this is the best way to buy an engine, other than a brand new one, as they are regularly serviced and have very low hours on them. we got one of these engines, a three year old 40 hp mariner for £1300 with controls, cables ,fuel tank and fuel lines adding another £250 on, we had boat that was capable of fishing upto 10 miles to sea .

Next on the agenda was echo sounder and gps are essential if you are planning on fishing the wrecks.
you can fish over wreckage with just a gps, but you will lose a serious amount of tackle if you can’t see what’s under you.

After a trip to redcar fish company (marine electronics shop) we came home with a lowrance sounder a Raymarine chart plotter and an Icom vhf radio, a vhf is essential for keeping contact with other boats and the coastguard. by law you are required to have a licence to operate a vhf radio.

most vhf sets these days are dsc (digital selective calling) sets, they can be connected to your gps so if ever you are in a life threatening situation you can press the red emergency button and the coastguard, and other boats will know yor exact position..

A trip to Coates Marine in Whitby, for flares, life jackets, an anchor some chain and a compass and that was us up and running.

Wreck Fishing

There are hundreds of wrecks along this section of the coast, some are huge and largely intact, others are no more than a big pile of wood.that are there some days and then you can’t find them as they’ve been buried in sand.

Wreck Fishing For Cod

When we first started fishing the wrecks all our tackle was heavy duty… 50lb class rods big reels and 50lb+ braid, we soon realised that this type of gear is overkill …

Its alright if your’e fishing for large conger, common skate or porbeagle sharks.. but for inshore wrecks round here a 20/30lb rod with similar poundage line is more than adequate.

I use a 20lb class shimano beastmaster coupled with a penn 320ld when I am wrecking I’ve a had big ling and triple shots of cod on and never had a problem..
Wreck fishing is only possible on slack tides anything above a 5 meter and it’s too big.

The main species on the wreckage around here are ling, cod, pollock and pouting, but monkfish, wolffish, and conger are not unknown on the inshore fishing grounds off Whitby..

best results for us have been from bait fishing for ling using BIG mackerel baits but pirks and muppets can be just as good at times.


Uptideing is my favourite way of boat fishing it’s basically beachcasting from an anchored boat in less than 50 feet of water, but with shorter rods (9 foot 6 to ten foot) reels like the slosh 30, penn 535 or abu 7000 with 20lb mono mainline are ideal.

Double Figure Cod Uptiding

Although it is called uptideing it doesn’t really matter where in the tide you cast, but you must let out a big bow of slack line so that the tide can pull your grip lead into the ground.

traces are similar again to the ones you would use for shore fishing, with hook sizes dependant on what species you are targeting.

We have had some good trips in late summer fishing in the soft ground for thornbacks with big hooks and big mackerel baits with fish up to 14lb..but it’s winter when this type of fishing comes into it’s own…for codlings mussel, squid ,rag, lug, peeler will all catch fish ..

Another small boat owned by Whitby Fishing Forum Member Tim Wright (aka Ringer) from Staithes

uptiding for cod at Staithes

For Other Articles On Small Boat Fishing Around Whitby Please Visit The Links Below.