We headed off to Whitby the night before in order to get a parking space and to be able to wake up and go without the hassle of a 90 minute drive first to get there. The camper van conversion was almost complete so we were able to use the built in bed to get some sleep before the days fishing ahead. We’d done some research beforehand and decided to use the Whitby Harbour slipway located at the south end of the marina car park. We were lucky to find a space very close to the slipway as most of the car park was full of camper vans and mobile homes here for the bank holiday weekend. The slipway itself is fairly large and wide enough to have two people launching boats at once which is handy as it can become busy at dawn and dusk as people set off then return at the end of the day.
We woke up early but not as early as planned. This was a big mistake as there was now a queue forming at the slipway so we decided to take our time and wait for the queue to subside. This gave us plenty of time to set up our boat. We had with us a Honda Honwave T40 inflatable boat with Yamaha 9.9 hp outboard and all the equipment that goes with it in the boot area of our minibus. We had constructed a box type bed in the back of the vehicle with space underneath it to store the boat setup. This works well but requires an hour or so to set up the boat. As usual I got chatting to other boatmen and fisherman whilst setting it up. Everyone seems to want to talk about boating setups, me included. This added another hour or so to our launch time.
Once set up I went to the Whitby harbour office to pay my launch fee. The office was closed but you can post the fee into the mailbox there along with a note outlining what type and size of boat you are launching, what time you intend to launch and your vehicle registration. The fee was £22.80 to launch (Aug 2017). This includes £8 for parking. We could have launched a few miles away at Sandsend for nothing had I not put my kayak roof rack on the van making it too high to get into the Sandsend car park (2.5m max height).
It was about 08:30 when we finally managed to launch the boat. Launching was pretty straight forward. We used a portable boat trolley to wheel the boat to the water’s edge leaving my wife holding the boat whilst I returned, then dismantled the boat trolley. There was another boat heading out so we followed behind them as to not break any harbour rules etc. They’d obviously done this before, we hadn’t. It was quite a slow, picturesque journey to the harbour entrance, we took in the sights, my wife took plenty of pics along the way. There were plenty of people fishing on the pier end. You could tell it was Mackerel season. Once past the harbour entrance it was every man for himself as the other boats sped off to find the best fishing spots.
Our first stop was Bell Buoy which is about half a mile out from the harbour entrance. This is a popular area for catching Mackerel. Boats often stop around here to stock up on Mackerel to use as bait on their way out. There were a few boats there when we arrived but the fish weren’t. We only saw one Mackerel caught, most boats staying for only 15 minutes or so then heading elsewhere. We did the same and set off towards Sandsend stopping every 10 minutes or so to test the fishing. We were now drifting northwards with the tidal flow so we decided to just drift towards Port Mulgrave fishing along the way. I was the first to catch, a Whiting of about 1lb followed by a Mackerel then a small Codling.
Over the next 2 hours we caught plenty of Mackerel, a few Codling and a few Coalfish. Not the usual bumper catch of Cod I’m used to from places like Skinningrove or Redcar but I’ve fished those areas more so know where to get the best catches. We got chatting to one guy who was heading back from a Port Mulgrave mark who claimed to have caught around 20 Codling, the biggest 7lb so maybe we will try there next time. In fact we did notice a few boats in one particular area so maybe that was the mark.
I was hoping to have my new fish finder working for this trip but time got the better of me so this didn’t happen. It’s a shame as I don’t know the area around Whitby that well so was fishing blind for most of the day. I did fish some areas I’d been to before, especially around Sandsend as this was one of my kayaking locations but the fish were not there in numbers this time.
The journey back to the harbour seemed to take twice as long. Hardly surprising as we were going against the tide and wind but we made it back OK and at the harbour we were met by the Bark Endeavour ship, also heading in after taking out tourists. We followed closely behind then continued our journey to the slipway a few hundred metres upstream.
Here’s a video of the days events:
What a day at Whitby. By now we were both tired but still had the job of getting the boat back up the slipway. The launch trolley we’d used to launch the boat began to float when we tried to push it under the boat which was rather annoying and proved difficult to line up the boat. Also the river flow was pushing the boat off the trolley. We managed in the end and I’m sure provided much amusement to the many bystanders. Anyway it was a great day out. Not that many fish this time but enough to keep me busy. My wife also caught a few. I think next time I’ll set out earlier in the day to avoid the slipway queue and maybe I’ll look into getting a road going trailer to avoid all this inflating\deflating business at the water’s edge but that’s a project for next year.
Honda Honwave inflatable boats: https://www.honda.co.uk/marine/products/inflatables/overview.html
Yamaha outboards: https://yamahaoutboards.com/en-us/
More Honda Honwave posts: https://stufishing.com/tag/honda-honwave/