So with big catches of cod getting reported by my fishing friends, I decided to head back to the cod grounds and see if not only some cod could be caught, but perhaps some pollack and mackerel too. We'd not heard any reports of mackerel around the Whitby area, but we were hopeful they might have started coming inshore.
It was another early, early start. My alarm was set for 2.45am, but guess what, a text from my friend asking me if I was coming woke me up at 2.30am! Up I got, made some sandwiches and was on the road by 3am. Just over an hour and half later we're paddling out from Runswick Bay. There's just the slightest of breezes to begin with, which gave a little drift against what was left of the tide. But there just didn't seem to be any fish.
lumpfish swim past me, now that is one ugly brute of a fish and a bit of shock to see it come gliding along next to the kayak just a few feet away!
But still we were struggling for fish. My mate was fishing with a standard pirk and hokkais set up (see here), while I was fishing with what I hoped was a better alternative that replaces the pirk with a Storm Wildeye Giant Jigging Shad (15cm, 135g). I wanted to test the theory that while some bottom feeders such as cod will go for a pirk, most fish see the pirk as another fish chasing sandeels (the hokkais). Therefore a better representation of a chasing fish might lead to better catches on the hokkais. Plus I thought that there might be the odd fish big enough to have a go for the giant shad.
Sure enough, I started to catch first and as the tide picked up I went through a purple patch of hitting pollack after pollack. Each one caught on the first hokkai above the giant shad, which pretty much confirmed my theory. In a short while I had five nice pollack ready for heading and gutting:
£10 delivered) compared to a standard pirk (~£2), and if you lose the jig head (as I did on a pot line) then you are left with just a couple tails. Also watch out for fish biting the tail off the shad - every now and then fetch it back up to check it's still there! But compare the giant shads to the cost of butterfly jigs or a good Japanese plug, then they look relatively good value. I would be interested in trying to cast our own jig heads as I have plenty of old lead. However, I've yet to see the right mould as I'd prefer to user much lighter grade hooks than the one which comes with the Giant Shad as it's an absolute beast, apparently designed for hauling up 250lb halibut - a little bit over the top for our 10lb cod!
Anyhow, back to the report. The fishing dropped off as slackwater approached. Although it was calm, there was a surprising swell that made getting ashore on the rocky cliffs of Kettleness difficult. Eventually we beached near Dog Holes, a pair of caves just at the base of the cliff:
Anyhow, I've not had much success here for bass, though in fairness I've never really given it a lot of effort. I put on my 42g Savage Gear Sandeel that worked well for me the previous week, and to my surprise I hit a bass within 5 minutes: