Back to the East coast for Stewart Calligan in search of 'flatties and sea bass'

Still trying to keep local I travelled the short distance from my son’s near Leven to a deserted beach near Ulrome, south of Bridlington.

With lockdown restrictions easing Stewart is able to get back to the East Yorkshire coast
With lockdown restrictions easing Stewart is able to get back to the East Yorkshire coast

This area is known for its flatties and sea bass.

I also managed a local church service for Easter and obeying Covid rules we relived the Easter story. It was well told by the vicar, 16 weeks into a new hip. The hymns and seeing the church flowers, candles and sunny stained glass was somehow reassuring in these trying times.

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Along the East Yorkshire lanes, the white clouds of hedgerow blackthorn dominated with the dafs and forsythia yellow here and there. Fluffy lambs were dotted about, stretching, curling lips and tail wriggling. As my friend fed her ewes, the lambs had ‘wacky races’ in the grassy meadow enjoying their freedom. A ewe had taken the five months to make triplets and promptly sat on one before it could be saved – that’s nature.

Looking forward to my freedom amid the sun, showers and flowers I walked across the virgin sand to meet the incoming tide. Eagerly setting up two rods I baited the two hook flappers on each rod with lugg worm. Patches of floating weed was a nuisance but patience paid off and I began to catch dabs.

About top of tide, I hooked something heavy. Was this two dabs on the two-hook flapper or a bigger one? As it came into the gentle surf it was one big magnificent flounder. It had fallen for a lugg worm tipped with a sliver of squid and felt bigger than it was as it had half the Sargasso Sea clinging to the line.

Fine weed and bits of the omnipresent plastic had to be removed before keeping the flounder for the pan. It was about 14 inches long which is 4 inches over the permitted take size of 10 inches.

Big enough to feed two I could visualise it with mashed potatoes and peas. A delicate parsley sauce would compliment the fillets providing the rabbits had left me some parsley.

It is hard to believe how close in flatfish follow the incoming tide. The close-in rod was barely ten yards out and catching flatties. The other rod was 30 to 40 yards out targeting sea bass but without success for bass or flatties. I had witnessed this ‘following the tide’ habit on the River Humber side of Spurn Point. Little or no waves allow the tide to creep in and I was catching flatties in less than six inches of water as they searched the newly covered beach for food.

More normality to report as we managed our Lobster Luncheon Club meeting taking advantage of the six outdoors and the recent heatwave. We had a tasty, hastily arranged thermidor salad with baked potato, followed by a fruit salad and no-fat organic yoghurt – very healthy apart from a glass or three. DO try this at home.