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Filey Brigg

by Steve I'Anson

Top Yorkshire shore angler, Steve I’Anson details how to tackle Filey Brigg.

Located 7 miles south of Scarborough, Filey Brigg is one of Yorkshire’s premier shore fishing venues… a perennial cod mark that draws anglers from near and far. Getting there is easy, and there is a pay and display car park which allows parking within a 10 minute walk of the fishing.

‘The Brig’ as it is known locally, is a rocky peninsula running from the shore and continuing well out to sea to the Brig end, where it then runs on underwater further yet. The terrain is mostly of flat scaurs that run at an angle into the sea, becoming more exposed as the tide ebbs, revealing gullies and kelp-filled holes where the cod lie. The area known as the ‘back of the Brig’ can be accessed by fixed metal ladders, or by walking round from the end of the peninsula. Fishing here is relatively easy, casting into deep water with a clean bottom. The scaurs and the Brig end tend to be rougher terrain with plenty of kelp-lined holes. The success of the Brig is down to the tide flow and depth of water, and cod can be caught here all year round.

Steve I'Anson prepares to walk down Filey Brigg

The best fishing conditions are flat calm seas on big tides, especially in summer when the water is gin clear during the day; there aren’t many places where you can take a 20lb bag of fresh run cod in the middle of a blazing June day. Although the Brig can be fished in some smaller seas it is best avoided when there is a big sea on… perhaps the only exception to this rule is the Brig end, which fishes well at low tide in winter with a good south easterly running.

Steve I'Anson with a Filey Brigg cod

Although cod are the top draw at Filey there is also a good head of wrasse, pollack, coalfish, mackerel and increasing numbers of bass during the summer months. The cod usually run between the 2-5lb, although due to the depth of water double figure cod can turn up anytime. The local pollack fishing is getting better each year and specimens up to 7lb are regularly taken on spinners in summer. Mackerel provide plenty of sport for young and old, while wrasse that are often seen as a pest by cod anglers can weigh over 4lb and are willing biters when the cod are slow.

George Smith with two Filey Brigg ballan wrasse

While most fishing takes place on the deeper sea side of the Brig, the shallow bay side can be fished more over low water. In summer this will give plenty of flounder, dabs, mackerel and school bass, whereas in winter, if there is a sea on, it will produce cod. If calm it will give good bags of decent sized whiting.

Top gear

a juicy crab bait for cod

A standard rock rod, 7000 size multiplier loaded with 30lb line, leader, 5oz lead, 5/0 hook is as much as you will need to tackle the cod. Crab is the best bait in summer, while lug/crab cocktails will do the damage in winter.

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