Sea sailing season’s final foray

The coastline off Bridlington Bay is best viewed out at sea as Stewart Calligan enjoyed it for the last time in 2017.
The coastline off Bridlington Bay is best viewed out at sea as Stewart Calligan enjoyed it for the last time in 2017.
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Back in God’s Own County from my last fishing trip in Aberdeenshire, I found myself sailing along my favourite stretch of coastline from Bridlington Bay to Bempton via the kaleidoscopic Flamborough Head with its caves and coves, overlooked by the towering white cliffs.

The ever-changing colours of the crops have now become many shades of brown ploughed furrows. The autumn sun cast stark shadows in its mellow light on the shore line features.

The coastal landscape is best viewed from the sea to appreciate the cliffs, hollowed out caves and the hidden coves which are home to our rich Yorkshire coast wildlife. Seals, dolphins and many species of sea birds can be seen here. There are nearly 500,000 seabirds, including puffins, kittiwakes, guillemots and the UK’s largest seabird, the gannet.

A stiff south westerly was blowing and racing the cotton fluffy Cumulus across the blue background. This helped keep the swell out to sea and gave me about half a mile of ‘slight’ sea in which to fish. My old friends Simon and his brother Mark were crewing and we drifted from Bempton towards North Landing fully baited and full of expectation.

After several drifts we remained fishless all morning and so when Simon produced some excellent bacon and egg sandwiches and a flask of hot coffee, it served as a nice distraction. We picnicked as we soaked up nature’s ever-changing scenery and all agreed that this was better than working.

As top of tide was approaching we had a few final drifts a bit further out in around 50ft of water. The ‘fish finder’ screen was dotted with shoals of small, medium and large fish, right under the boat. I’m sceptical as to whether these ‘shoals’ are fish, weed or plastic, but we cast and I had a small cod and Simon and Mark had the last of the summer mackerel. Our bait was squid and slaps (dried black lugg worms).

Dejectedly, we set sail back to the South Shore boat yard past the Head. Simon and Mark took the controls as I tidied up the aft deck of bait, rods, nets and general tackle. Apart from nearly arriving in Denmark, to avoid the shallows off the Head, they navigated very well.

The new wind turbines built near the South Shore are a perfect target to aim at when a few miles out. When we were 10 minutes out I radioed the boat yard office to ensure the trailer would be awaiting our arrival. After being towed to the fresh water hose where the engine and boat were swilled out, so my last boat trip of the 2017 season came to an end.

I’m told the beaches are fishing well with ray, whiting, bass and cod providing the sport. I must dust off the long rods, the tripod rod rest, the rigs and hooks at the business end and get my fishing box ready for my next outing.


The Yorkshire Belle, a 70-ton pleasure cruiser, is a wonderful way to see our stunning coastline.

It has been sailing up and down this stretch from its port in Bridlington from Easter to October since 1947 and costs about £6 per hour per person.

I remember being taken on the Belle in the 50s by my mother and father. We waved to the ‘cruisers’ as they sailed past us on their two-and-a-quarter-hours Bempton Cliff cruise.