Related Reading On Whitby West Pier
Fishing On Whitby’s West Pier
Cod, Pollock, Mackerel And So Much More.
The Stone wall piers at Whitby have been in existence since 1632 when they replaced the old wooden piers that used to protect the harbour entrance.
The new wooden extensions which now give extra protection to Whitby harbour were added in 1913. Whitby West as it is affectionately known by the locals is home to a diversity of fish species and provides convenient easy access to anglers of all ages and abilities.
In the early days it was possible to drive as far down the west pier as the stone lighthouse and fishing was possible from your car boot upon the stone pier.
With today’s health and safety regulations the pier is only accessible on foot, however there is plenty of parking space in the surrounding areas and less than a 5 minute walk sees you on the end of one of Yorkshires top fishing marks.
Summer Fishing At Whitby West Pier
The summer fishing at Whitby west pier is second to none with a wide variety of species on the cards including Mackerel, Pollock, Flounder, Coalfish, Shad, and more recently Bass.
As with all summer fishing best tactics involve lure fishing and the favoured methods are : mackerel spinners, hokeye rigs, Jellyworms and bass plugs. Catches on the pier are usually driven by the tides and the best fishing usually coincides with high water.
However fishing at other times is not to be ruled out and some exceptional catches have been taken at all states of tide by anglers willing to put in time fishing the pier.
The best tackle for summer fishing is a 7-9 foot spinning rod coupled with a light spinning reel filled with 8-12 pound mono line.
Above : Local angler Philip Mead catching mackerel on Whitby West Pier
Winter Time Is When The Real Fun Begins
The autumnal equinox signals the start of winter fishing season at Whitby, and this is when hordes of shore anglers from across the region dust down there trusty beachcasters and multiplier reels in anticipation of some excellent cod fishing.
Whitby itself has long been known as the cod mecca of the UK and the west pier has given up many a decent sized fish to the many anglers that fish the pier in anticipation every winter.
September usually sees mixed bags of Cod, Pollock, Coalies and Whiting falling largely to peeler crab baits. Fishing at this time of year is most productive over high water on relatively calm nights.
As the seasons move on and winter bites hard its usually big cod that are the target of those brave enough to fish on in the worst of the winter weather.
A diening northerly swell will see the pier lined with die hard anglers all hoping for that fish of a lifetime. Best baits for the true winter months include peeler crab, mussel, fresh lug, ragworm and frozen blacks, remember to bait up big for the larger fish.
Best rigs include the Pulley and pennel rig and breakaway type leads of 6 ounce or more are essential. Best rods are the middle to top range beachcasters coupled with a 7000 size reel filled with 30 pound mono.
Many anglers now also fish lighter lines with heavy shokleaders.
Make no mistake. Whitby west pier is a big cod venue in every sense of the word.
In Winter 2007 well known Whitby angler Paul Kilpatrick ventured onto Whitby west pier just as he had done many times before since he first fished the pier as a young lad many decades earlier.
What happened next is something Paul will never forget as he hooked into a monster cod of 16 pounds, the battle that ensued last fully 45 minutes and ended with Paul the winner when he landed the fish 1000 yards up Whitby harbour at the bandstand. You can read more of Paul’s story here.
Above : Paul Kilpatrick with his 16 pound cod.
How To Find The West Pier At Whitby
The west pier in Whitby is all but un-missable. Simply drive from the swing bridge, down pier road and you will find the pier at the junction of pier road and khyber pass.
Health and safety
Angling from the shore in the UK is very hazardous to say the least. Every year lives are lost whilst pursuing our fascination with sea angling.
Anglers of all levels of ability need to be very very careful indeed – having fallen badly myself last year I’m as aware as anyone of the dangers of rock fishing. At this point I would like to offer a few words of advice to anglers.
Never attempt to fish a new area without the help and advice of someone experienced in fishing that area.
Always check the tide and ensure you will be safe to access and exit your chosen area. Watch out for cut off points. If unsure don’t go. Its not worth it.
Be aware of the weather forecast. Conditions can change fast.
Don’t access closed areas, eg piers whilst the storm gates are shut.
Carry some form of communication.
Tell someone where you are going and when you intend to return. Ask them to raise the alarm should you not return.
Do not fish heavy seas. Its very dangerous and your wasting your time anyway, fish don’t like really rough seas. Leave it a day or 2 until the sea is dieing.