Sea fishing: Easterlies leave me plotting not fishing

Stewart Calligan gave his fishing boat a through clean as he waits for the weather conditions to take a turn for the better.
Stewart Calligan gave his fishing boat a through clean as he waits for the weather conditions to take a turn for the better.
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The atrocious sea conditions and the almost constant easterlies which blow off the sea towards the land have prevented us intrepid boat anglers from venturing out to sea.

Having suffered acute sea sickness last season, involving every colour of the rainbow, the awfully miserable sensation was still etched on the memory.

I take my boat out for pleasure, not punishment but as the 2016 season progresses it makes me wonder just when the easterlies will stop. We have suffered in May and now into June with North Sea cloud and fret moving inland almost daily.

The poor commercial boats, who take sea fishermen out, have seen a drop in trade. The knock-on effect is felt by the tackle shop owners, bait diggers and providers, and the stalwart management of the East Coast boat yards.

During the lull in proceedings I assembled all the boat fishing tackle and checked, cleaned and replaced as necessary. The boat was washed and polished and the windows and wiper cleaned and lubricated.

Whether you go with a charter boat or have your own boat the tackle is the same. I recommend a couple of 5ft boat rods with multiplier reels and 50lbs breaking strain line. These can be used for cod, etc, with hooks and weights.

Another lighter rod can be kitted up with a fixed spool reel and 20lb line for mackerel feathers and bass lures for longer casting for surface and middle water fishing.

Less obvious items are a bucket on a length of rope for water to wash the fish and decks, a large landing net and gaff for the very occasional, very large specimens. A cloth to dry slimy hands, a sharp gutting knife and a pair of long nosed pliers to re-bend hooks which have been straightened out on sea bed snags, and to remove hooks from fish with sharp teeth, are also essential.

With my tackle in check, the tractor driver then took my boat to the beach to run the rule over the trailer, winch, tyre pressure, couplings and trailer rollers, and after a little ‘TLC’ all were tickityboo. Now I wait for the right conditions with fingers crossed.

Yorkshire can boast an endless supply of golden sand. The south shore sand is in pristine condition. Many a south of France resort mayor would be envious of our miles of deep, clean, soft sand and long beaches. Having said that the southern end of the coast has recently had winds as strong as the French Mistral and Siroco that piled tons of sand up on our promenades.

The easiest way to go sea fishing is by checking the local papers, directories and the internet. Harbours including Grimsby, Bridlington, Scarborough and Whitby offer boat fishing trips which vary in price from £20-40 per person. School trips, ‘team building’ events, family groups and even stag and hen parties are catered for. Some Skippers will scatter the ashes of loved ones at sea.

There are some famous boats that have taken generations of families sea fishing.

As there are usually three men in my boat I think of the humorous threesome invented by Jerome K. Jerome. He was an English writer in the late-1800s and wrote ‘Three Men in a Boat: To Say Nothing of the Dog’ in 1887. Strangely enough the three men were based on factual characters but the dog was completely fictitious. It is full of funny incidents, not unlike the happenings on my aptly named boat, ‘Mystique.’

As Jerome knew, three men in a boat is a recipe for unplanned humour. Our more humorous moments usually involve trying to spend a penny, getting all three rods and lines tangled up under the boat and being defecated upon by gulls. Less funny is when large landing nets fall overboard and are shredded by the propeller, being hit by large waves and losing our footing on fish guts and slime on the main deck.