Saturday, 24 September 2011

Dracula isn't the only creature with teeth in Whitby!

Whitby is famous for its associations with Dracula, Bram Stoker wrote the novel whilst staying in the town. Many of the locations used in the book can be found in Whitby such as the churchyard where Mina first encountered Dracula in lupine form.

As well as the locations some of the events are based on real life. In the book, Dracula arrived in Whitby when the Demeter ran aground. Just prior to Bram Stoker arriving in Whiby the Russian vessel Demetrius had ran aground with only one survivor.

Twice a year, in April and October, the town is invaded by Goths, and one bed and breakfast even supplies garlic to hang on your bed posts!

Dracula might be fictitious but vampires are not the only things with teeth to be found in Whitby. Whitby is one of the main charter ports in the north of England and famous for its wreck and rough ground fishing where cod, pollack and ling can be targeted with the occasional haddock, halibut and even porbeagle shark being landed.

I had booked a days' wreck fishing on Shy Torque skippered by Rich Ward to target ling. On the way out we stopped at Bell Buoy for mackerel and again they were few and far between, luckily I had brought a few frozen mackerel and garfish with me as an emergency bait supply.

The sea around Whitby is littered with wrecks, most of them dating from World War 2. As the weather was good Rich steamed out to an offshore wreck 18 miles from shore.

I rigged up with a 30lb class rod as I would be working a baited pirk. To minimise snagging I replaced the pirks' treble hook with a single 6/0 adorned with a luminous green muppet. A whole fillet of mackerel provided the bait. Ling are predators with teeth and need to be targeted with big baits.

The technique is to jig the pirk up and down with short movements of the rod. As you drift across the wreck occasionally line needs to be let off to ensure the pirk continues working just above the wreck.

On the first drift I landed a small ling, and although a few fish were landed in subsequent drifts, Rich soon moved to hopefully more prolific wrecks inshore. Despite a number of moves it was a slow day, but with four ling and a cod to my rod I was well pleased with the result. I can confirm that ling make superb eating, firm and meaty, like cod but better.