THE HOTSPOTS

Matt Hope’s guide to places to fish.

Sea Angler (UK) - - CONTENTS SEAANGLER -

With its huge prize fund of £35,000, the an­nual Eu­ro­pean Open Beach Cham­pi­onship, which takes place on the Hold­er­ness Coast of East York­shire, at­tracts more than 1,000 an­glers from across the UK and Europe. The match is fished be­tween Bridling­ton North Beach and Spurn Point pi­lot jetty.

Liv­ing in the area, I have com­peted in the big event and also fish this coast­line on a reg­u­lar ba­sis. Here’s my guide to some venues to con­sider fish­ing in the rov­ing event or, if you are not tak­ing part, to visit this win­ter.

I’ve cho­sen some places with eas­ier ac­cess be­cause I don’t want to send peo­ple on long hikes or dif­fi­cult-to-ac­cess ar­eas.

ALD­BROUGH

Lo­cated 10km south east of Hornsea, there are a cou­ple of well-known marks here – Ald­brough Dip and Ald­brough Road End.

These marks are lo­cated at ei­ther side of the Ald­brough leisure park (static car­a­van park), with Road End be­ing my favourite of the two marks. Road End is Sea­side Road, which ter­mi­nates at the cliff edge just past the Dou­ble Dutch pub, to the side of the static car­a­van park.

There is park­ing at the end of the road for up to half-a-dozen cars if ev­ery­body parks sen­si­bly. Make sure you don’t block the drive­way en­trances.

It’s quite a high cliff at Ald­brough, ap­prox­i­mately 20 me­tres, and there is usu­ally a ‘get down’ point at the road end that’s used reg­u­larly by the car­a­van site res­i­dents to ac­cess the beach.

As on most of the Hold­er­ness Coast, fish can be caught here at any stage of tide. I find the best pe­riod to fish is the last three hours of the flood over the top and a cou­ple of hours down. It can be fished even on the large tides of over six me­tres on the Bridling­ton scale, and I pre­fer to fish on the big­ger tides.

There are quite a few grass ledges that have fallen down due to the cliff ero­sion, and these can be fished off dur­ing the higher tides. Al­ter­na­tively, there are a few spots with a straight lift, so you can fish off the cliff top. With tides un­der six me­tres, you can usu­ally stay on the beach and fish, but al­ways check the high water mark and plan your es­cape route. Don’t get cut off; some very ex­pe­ri­enced an­glers did so in the Eu­ro­pean Open in 2018.

From De­cem­ber to Fe­bru­ary, cod are my tar­get species here. This is my go-to spot in a rough sea, and some of the best fish­ing I have ever ex­pe­ri­enced has been on this beach in a dy­ing sea af­ter a big blow.

Fish can be caught at all ranges, but I’ve had most suc­cess at dis­tance, es­pe­cially if there is any amount of swell still left in the sea. A cast of 100 yards or more should find fish in these con­di­tions, but fur­ther the bet­ter, in my opin­ion.

I use a short Pen­nell pul­ley rig with sharp size 4/0 hooks on hook­lengths of 18-24in. Oth­er­wise, I go for any clipped-down rig for dis­tance. For bait, go for yel­low­tail lug or black lug or cock­tails of worms and squid.

My first cod of last sea­son came from here. We de­cided to move af­ter fish­ing Bridling­ton North Beach, where we’d gone for shel­ter from the north-east­erly wind and swell, but af­ter two-and-a-half hours with­out a bite, I suggested we moved to Ald­brough.

We ar­rived at top of tide and the sea was big­ger than I ex­pected. My mate Lee dropped down on to a ledge on the get down at the road end, while I fished the cliff top to the left. I wasn’t ex­pect­ing any­thing be­cause I thought the sea was too big, and with the strength of the wind I didn’t think we’d get out far enough to catch.

The first half-an-hour pro­duced noth­ing. The tide had turned and I’d just put out fresh bait when I had a big pull-down on the rod tip. I waited, but noth­ing hap­pened, so I gave it about five min­utes be­fore reel­ing in and bait­ing up again. I put it back out as far as I could man­age and it didn’t take long for my rod tip to give a good nod, then nod, and nod again. Af­ter a good scrap in the surf, I hauled up my first cod of the sea­son.

We only fished it a cou­ple of hours down due to the surf re­ally pick­ing up the shal­lower it was get­ting, but I caught a few whit­ing and a small bass. I fished Ald­brough Road End on the Sun­day in last year’s Eu­ro­pean Open and had one cod and a few whit­ing and lost a cod that got snagged.

WITH­ERNSEA TOWN CEN­TRE

Of­ten over­looked by many an­glers, this is a venue where dis­tance cast­ing can be the key. You need to get your bait out past the break­wa­ters that run along the seafront to find some tide pull. This is where you’ll find the bet­ter stamp of fish. It’s worth hav­ing a look here at low water on the big tides to see which groynes have the bet­ter holes and gul­lies. The fi­nal break­wa­ter to the north has the last set of steps and al­ways seems to have a good gully year af­ter year. This area is lo­cated as you leave the town to­wards Wax­holme, with park­ing on the side of the road next to the play­ing field. Other good marks in With­ernsea are the slip­way at the lifeboat sta­tion and the brick pond to the south of the town, while the area be­tween the groynes can have some steeper ar­eas. Whit­ing can be a nui­sance on the Hold­er­ness Coast when tar­get­ing cod, par­tic­u­larly dur­ing a flat calm frosty night at With­ernsea. These whit­ing can be a night­mare be­cause they are on your bait in sec­onds. There is good park­ing, but check all sign­post­ing first. There is a free car park sit­u­ated on Lee Av­enue to the south of the town and easy ac­cess to the beach via steps. I like a medium tide, so I can stay on the beach, but you can fish off the steps or prom­e­nade on the big tides. Bait is avail­able in the town’s tackle shop, but pre-or­der your worms.

THE POO PIPE

Not the most at­trac­tively named venue on the Hold­er­ness Coast, this mark is just south of With­ernsea head­ing to­wards Holmp­ton on Holmp­ton Road. No prizes for guess­ing that it’s near a water treat­ment plant. A new stone track and park­ing area, giv­ing ac­cess to the cliff top, was made while work was com­pleted. You can fish from your car, which makes this spot very pop­u­lar at times. The cliffs here are some of low­est on Hold­er­ness, mostly un­der 20ft. A lot of an­glers like fish­ing off the cliff tops here be­cause the sea hits the cliffs on the larger tides, but on the smaller tides you should stay on the beach. There are usu­ally a cou­ple of spots cut into the cliff to get down to the sand. There have been some large bags of stone put in to cover the pipe against the cliff, with a sign say­ing ‘do not climb’ but, un­for­tu­nately, it is largely ig­nored. Three hours ei­ther side of high water is the time I’d fish this mark, but if you’re want­ing to stay on the cliff tops con­sider two hours ei­ther side of high water. Most of this stretch fishes well, but I like fish­ing tight to the pipe. I had my se­cond cod of the sea­son here too. It’s also a very good mark for rays right through win­ter. Fish­ing is mainly over sand and shin­gle, but it can be over clay at times. Low-water fish­ing can be snaggy due to ex­posed clays. It’s worth putting out a longer trace with a large squid bait just be­fore high water as the tidal pull eases. I’ve caught a few bonus rays in calm con­di­tions do­ing so here. I find a light westerly wind and a flat calm sea the best con­di­tions to fish the pipe, as it’s fairly open here. I’ve caught some nice fish from here over the years and some very good mixed bags of dog­fish, whit­ing, cod and rays in the win­ter. I have found it can go quiet on the ebb on some oc­ca­sions. If the mark is busy, try just a few hun­dred yards fur­ther south to­wards Holmp­ton at what is know as Run­nels. Un­for­tu­nately, it has lim­ited park­ing, but there are sev­eral places for two or three cars to pull in on the road­side near the sign­post for Holym. Walk to­wards the cliff top along the left-hand side of the dyke, where you’ll find easy ac­cess at end of the dyke and a five to 10-minute walk to the mark.

EASINGTON

I’ve had some good fish here at low water over the last cou­ple of sea­sons. It is one of the spots you’ll find me fish­ing for cod on the smaller tides. To get to Easington, take the A1033 from Hull to the car­a­van site (HU12 0TY). Just past the car­a­van site, there is an old dis­used boat com­pound, ad­ja­cent to which is a slip­way cut out of the cliff, giv­ing easy ac­cess to the beach. This venue has good park­ing just past the car­a­van site. It can be quite snaggy at low water be­cause there are lots of clays just be­yond the lowwa­ter mark. You can fish here any stage of the tide, but if you are fish­ing low water be pre­pared for tackle losses due to the snags. Most peo­ple fish this spot from half tide up and a cou­ple back down. Lo­cal Spurn lug­worms and squid are my bait choice for the cod here, so I’ll of­ten dig bait at Spurn Road or Kilnsea be­fore fish­ing. Easington is only two-and-a-half miles from Kilnsea.

Ald­brough Road End

A lovely cod from Ald­brough Road End

Words and pho­tog­ra­phy by MATT HOPE

A medium tide means you can stay on the beach

There is easy ac­cess to the beach

Holes are gul­lies are found near the groynes

A de­cent ray caught from the pipe, and a cod too

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