Fishing has been a way of life for many in Whitby for centuries. Learn about Whitby boat fishing trips and where to fish from when you visit Whitby.
Fishing is a year-round activity in Whitby, subject to the constraints of the weather. Arguably, the best catches are in the winter with cod coming closer to shore. However, whenever you are in Whitby, you can enjoy a day’s fishing. Here’s our guide to fishing in Whitby, including boat fishing trips.
Whitby fishing throughout the seasons
During the Winter, the Yorkshire Coast begins to experience the start of sea storms as winds come from the North. The result is that the seas become rougher and marine life such as Peeler Crabs, Lug and Ragworms near the shore are disturbed. That is exactly what Cod want after a summer in deeper waters. Autumn is the beginning of the time for beach casting/rock angling in the area.
Peeler Crabs are great bait for tempting the Cod in the gulleys in the area. Some great specimens are caught each year in this fashion with even the chance of catching a 30 pounder. Cod are still in the waters in March. Lugworm and Squid are both good bait during these final weeks of winter. Codling’s spring run follows before anglers take a break to wait for the summer species to arrive.
In May, there is an excellent chance of catching Flounder in the River Esk using a small Crab on a size 10 hook as bait. The best time is when the tide is coming in.
There is a festival south of Whitby and Scarborough in Filey during early September with a full week of competition from both the beach and from boats with the highlight being the North of England Cod Fishing Championships. As soon as the Filey Event has finished anglers’ thoughts turn to Scarborough with a further week of competition. That culminates in everyone trying to win the prestigious “All England” Codling Championship.
Anglers can test their skills in catching Mackerel, Coalfish, Pollock and perhaps a few Bass using a spinner from Whitby piers.
For those of you looking for an organised boat fishing trip, you’re in luck. There are several providers of fishing trips in Whitby, with most providing all the equipment and experience you need a great day fishing off the coast of Whitby.
Whitby boat fishing trip providers
Whitby fishing trips
Barry and Jon are a great friendly team and will provide a trip suitable for any angler from the novice to the experienced, they pride themselves in excellent customer service. They offer the below fishing trips;
Summer evening trips – 2 hours
The 2 hour Summer Whitby fishing trips specifically target Mackerel and are great for families and groups visiting Whitby or on holiday. This is a short trip giving you something to experience in Whitby as well as something to put on the BBQ. The majority of the evening trips are close to the Whitby Pier Ends as the Mackerel come right into shore, but as there are also some fishing marks close to shore and around the Bell Buoy there is always a chance of catching something a little bigger. These trips run from 6 pm to 8 pm, weather permitting.
Taster trips – 3 hours
Their 3-hour taster trips are great for families and children, especially during the school holidays, as they are not too long but give you a chance to travel to the fishing marks around 3 miles from Whitby Harbour. This enables beginners and seasoned anglers alike the chance to get a feel for boat fishing under drift and how to set up a rig. It’s all great fun and a great learning experience, with the chance of catching a variety of species, from Whiting, Mackerel, and Pouting to larger species such as Halibut, Ling and the, of course, the nations’ favourite Cod. The taster trips run twice daily during the week, from 10 am to 1 pm and from 2 pm to 5 pm, weather permitting, from the Pontoon, please ring or email to check dates and availability.
Wreck and reef trips
Whitby Fishing Trips also offer 6, 8 and 10hr Wreck and Reef trips which are run further offshore, weather permitting, covering various Wrecks, during the slack water periods and covering the various grounds and reefs as the tide runs. All wreck fishing is done on the drift to maximise the chance of catching. These trips are ideal for the more experienced anglers who are used to a long day at sea. They do however recommend the 6hr trip to the less experienced as it’s a great trip to learn the skills of wreck fishing over a half days fishing, with help from the team, when and if needed!
Winter uptiding trips
Winter uptiding is all done under anchor in their inshore waters, as the Cod move close in to shore. It’s a light tackle sport and involves casting, the target fish is Cod, with Jon Whitton being one of the pioneers of this specialist type of fishing. It’s great fishing during the winter and the results can be spectacular. It does get cold so if you book an Uptiding trip please remember to wrap up warm!
Coastal Sea Fishing
3 hour trips: £30 per Adult | £25 child
2 hour summer evening Mackerel trips: £20 Adult | £15 Child
Joining one of these fishing trips out of Whitby will give you a unique perspective on the rugged cliffs of the North Yorkshire coastline. You’ll get to experience the elements as never before – making memories that will last a lifetime. Rods and tackle are provided free of charge, along with as much advice and encouragement as you need to get started. Skipper Gordon has been sailing these waters for over 35 years and will gladly share his knowledge and insights with novices and experienced anglers alike. And once you’re safely back on dry land, you’ll be able to enjoy your catch – or treat yourself to some fresh fish & chips on the harbourside. The perfect day out!
Whitby Fishing Boats Trips (Libby)
Jump aboard and experience a Whitby fishing trip with one of Whitby’s most experienced skippers. Ken Graham has been taking visitors and locals out to sea on his boat Libby for years and knows the waters of the picturesque Whitby coastline like the back of his hand. Whatever the time of year Ken knows where to head for the best chance of catching fish and whether you’re a novice or have lots of experience Ken can provide all the information and advice you need to make the most of your Whitby fishing trip.
Charter Boat Fishing, Whitby
Sea angling trips have been a popular activity with visitors and locals alike for generations. It’s a great way to get a unique view of our wonderfully rugged Yorkshire coastline. Fishing is also a fantastic family or small group activity, as it’s suitable for all ages and experience levels.
Trips run from 8 am – 11 am, 11 am – 2 pm & 2 pm – 5 pm and their Facebook page is the best place to look for up to date information and changes to their normal schedule.
Whitby Pier fishing
Whitby’s stone piers have been in place since 1632 when they replaced the wooden ones. Wooden extensions were added just before the First World War. Health and safety requirements mean that you cannot drive right down to the pier but there is ample parking just a 5-minute walk away.
If you enjoy fishing but are not too keen to go out in a boat, Whitby’s West Pier is a great alternative throughout the weeks of summer, using spinners and lures as local anglers inevitably do. The ‘ground’ tends to be sandy and almost hazard-free, though some weed and small rocks. Mackerel, in particular, and Flounder are regularly caught off the West Pier.
You should check the tides first of all; it is more likely that you will be more successful near and at high water but that shouldn’t put you off completely from fishing at any time. You never know!
If you try your luck in the Autumn, smaller Cod are likely to have moved closer to land together with Whiting. Both respond to Peeler Crab bait, and occasionally Mussels.
Winters can be cold but that should not deter a hardy fisherman. You must wrap up warm of course but the rewards of Cod make it all worthwhile. There have been regular catches of Cod weighing more than 15 lbs responding to the favourite bait of Peeler Crab, Ragworm and Lugworm.
Please note: Anglers are prohibited from fishing into the harbour from the West Pier.
Whitby’s East Pier has been problematic in terms of access for the last year or two. This issue is still under discussion with Scarborough Borough Council. As with the West Pier, anglers are prohibited from fishing into the harbour. The ‘ground’ is rocky and can be ‘tackle-damaging.’
Summer and Autumn fishing can yield Codling and Mackerel but not in the numbers off the West Pier. However, the East Pier is, more often than not, free and consequently is a very restful place to spend a few hours contemplating the world and reflecting on the frantic nature of it all.
General health and safety
Sea angling can be a risky occupation, especially from the rocky shoreline. It is very easy to fall, and you would be advised not to fish in an area with which you are not familiar without getting local advice.
You should check the tides to ensure that entry and exit are available for the time you wish to fish. Similarly, you need to pay heed to the weather forecast.
If the storm gates on the piers are shut, you should forget fishing for the day. Always have a means of communicating if you are going off to fish and tell friends or family where you are going.
If the seas are especially heavy, forget fishing; it is unlikely in those conditions that you would catch anything anyway.
West Pier fishing safety
The West Pier is on two levels with the lower level reached by climbing down a ladder at the end of the Pier. If the weather is not very good, the best advice is to forget about the lower level that day. Checking the tides and the weather forecast are things you should always do before heading for the West Pier.