Sea fishing: Cultural nod to the city’s fishermen

Stewart Calligan, sporting different headgear, cleans his boat in readiness for an Easter launching.
Stewart Calligan, sporting different headgear, cleans his boat in readiness for an Easter launching.
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the unfolding City of Culture year in Hull has seen, among other things, a huge wind turbine blade erected in the city centre, the opening of art galleries, a unique Speaker’s Corner where your words appear in large letters on Hull’s flood barrier and the saving of ‘Dead Bod’ graffiti from the side of an old corrugated steel warehouse facing the River Humber.

The large ‘Dead Bod’ was the last thing the trawler men - and any other sailors - saw as they sailed down the Humber to the sea and the first they saw on their safe return. It shows a deceased bird on its back with its two feet in the air and the words ‘DEAD BOD’ painted underneath. It is now in the Humber Street Gallery, saved for posterity and for all to see.

The city’s programme of cultural events have been divided into four seasons: three months in each. One is Made in Hull, what Hull has contributed to the world; two is Roots and Routes, where journeys begin, a door to the UK; three is Freedom - The Freedom Festival, creative, risk taking and equality; and finally, four is Tell the World - individuality, integrity and sense of humour - the story has started and who knows where it will end?

My last months’ sea fishing exploits have consisted of three parts: reconnoitring the cliffs after the recent storm damage in time for the European Beach Fishing Championship on February 24-26; three abortive fishing expeditions resulting in two dabs and two whiting from the Skipsea area and a small cod from the River Humber; and cleaning, servicing and restocking my sea fishing boat ready for the Easter launching.

Extremely observant readers will see I have different head-gear in the photograph. I left my very fashionable trilby rabbit hair felt hat near Chelmsford last week whilst doing my son a favour and collecting a 1959 Cadillac. Don’t tell my brother Terry and his wife Rose I’ve left my dear old friend in Essex as it was their very nice present 10 years ago.

Did you know that ‘trilby’ comes from Trilby O’Ferrall, the heroine of an 1895 George du Maurier novel, called ‘Trilby?’ She wore a hat in a London stage production of ‘Trilby’ and it was coined ‘the Trilby.’ Always popular with our horse racing fraternity it went out of general fashion in the 60s but has made a unisex comeback swept along with the current trend of all things retro or vintage.

The hat in my picture is a tweed fishing hat I bought from the long gone Ernest Cloughs Ltd of Westgate, Huddersfield in 1959. It was lost in the River Wharfe, Otley in 60s and was retrieved with the perfect cast of a Greenwell’s Glory trout fly.

From the sweet memories of my ‘trout’ days to the harsh realities of the Yorkshire beaches, that have been scoured of sand exposing mud gullies and sharp shingle that blunts the hooks and snags the weights. The southern beaches of Spurn, Kilnsea, Easington, Dimlington and Withernsea are all producing some whiting and the odd cod. Middle beaches from Withernsea to Hornsea have witnessed small cod and whiting and the northern beaches of Ulrome, Skipsea up to Bridlington have yielded flatties, whiting and the occasion bass. Please note: here is still an EU ban on taking bass.

All the Holderness coast cliffs have suffered during the winter storms and must be traversed with great care. Unstable edges, deep drops and glutinous mud are but a few of the dangers.

This summary of events leads nicely onto the 2017 Paul Roggeman European Open Beach Championship. Already over 1,000 people have shown an interest from across Europe.

Fishing takes place from Spurn Point to Bridlington from 8am-2pm, with the weigh-in at 3pm. Match HQ is at Sand-le-Mere Holiday Village, Tunstall, HU12 OJF and tickets are available from tackle shops or the East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s website.