Skipsea Sands, North Yorkshire, Camping Holiday Incorporating A Visit To A Legendary Place…

Liz and I went on a week’s camping holiday in North Yorkshire, setting off on Sunday 15th April and returning on Monday 23rd. The actual location was to Parkdean’s Skipsea Sands Holiday Park. The journey took us about 4 hours in all each way – including coffee stops.

There was a fishing pool on site but as we were camping I thought there wouldn’t be room for the freshwater tackle along with all our camping gear as our camping likes are far from minimal and include electric hotplates, multi-storey camp kitchen and other ‘mod cons’… and the tent itself (an Outwell Deluxe Drummond 7 (7-person)) measures 720cm x W 450cm x H 210cm (24ft x 13ft x 7’) and takes up a fair bit of space, even in its bag. But we can get it all set up and fully fitted with kitchen, air beds, etc within an hour – far quicker than most people with touring caravans or campers and often sit with coffees in our hands, finished, watching such people, who arrived at the same time as us still setting up, etc.

However, we did take sea fishing equipment – and our crab lines. Liz and I usually have a crabbing contest when on the coast holidaying and this time was no different and we had a session at Bridlington Harbour…. but score was 0-0 as we decided after 30 minutes it was a waste of time. Wrong time of day as tide was on its way out strongly … and the tide times were against sea fishing all week too so the gear was never used.

BUT … in hindsight we could have fitted the freshwater gear in instead of the sea stuff and had a day or so on the park’s pool which looked quite nice. Not many spotted fishing on there all week so not sure what, if anything, was being caught but if we return to this park we’ll definitely load the coarse tackle.


And on April.Sunday 22nd April – the penultimate day of our holiday – as we needed to start tidying up the tent and prepping for its collapse to return home the following day we decided on just a quick morning’s drive out before setting to on our tasks for the day and noted that Hornsea Mere was only about 5-6 miles away and headed to have a look at it. Now, this mere, is LEGENDARY in angling history – many famous angling names have fished there and many good pike in particular have been captured with several entries figuring in Fred Buller’s famous book – ‘The Domesday Book Of Mammoth Pike’. Also, in 1917 it was the venue where the world record roach at the time was caught. Unfortunately, the mere has past its heyday now but does still throw up good pike, bream, roach, perch and holds carp to over 50lb albeit the carp are few in number and in a water approx 3/4 mile wide at its widest by 2 miles long they are said to take some locating so you need dedication to target those! And these things go in cycles so the mere could return to its old revered status at any time.

I took a ‘few’ pictures…. LOL!


  Hornsea Mere

Anyway, I’m hoping to return back here for 3 or 4 days around late October or early/mid November – camping at Skipsea Sands again, and taking a boat out each day on the mere. Most likely do the trip on my own as Liz will be working – and possibly dependent on acquiring a suitable tent, the ‘mansion’ being far too big and cumbersome for me on my own. We’re actually looking for a 4-6 person pop-up tent anyway for a few long weekend trips this summer – the kind you take out the bag throw in the air and it’s up in literally 2 seconds bar a few pegs to anchor it down, and that would suit me fine for the mere trip too….

We also went into York – and had coffees (crap ones actually! Cost something like £2.75, small cup, and not exactly steaming hot either – and ended up half an hour later going into something like a Burger King for another cuppa twice the size, properly strong, really hot … and almost half the price!) looking on to the River (Yorkshire) Ouse….


Anyway, we’re now back home – unpacking completed – washing done and drying – camping gear sorted and put away … and I’m planning my first session back on home turf… which has changed in thinking from day to day whilst we were away but now almost certainly decided to be a day on a club stretch of the Shropshire Union canal – a stretch of water I lure fish frequently in the winter for pike but have only ever fished ‘generally’ once and that was for a club match. So, I’m taking my quiver tip rod, a few baits and seeing if I can get in touch with the excellent perch and chub that live there – and also to be in with a good chance of the quality roach, bream, carp and barbel that show up from time to time.

Session 14 – Off To The Tench Pool

Thursday 5th April 2018 – with pleasant weather forecast for the day I decided to take my first trip of year to a club mixed fishery (AA-B) – tench being most people’s targeted species there but also has good perch, bream, barbel, chub, roach, rudd,…, crucian carp and golden tench. Basically, everything but ‘king’ carp … although that is (or maybe already has) changed as it was announced at the club’s AGM back in February that as the water is being decimated by cormorants (which I take with a pinch of salt personally – just few people fish there and it can be a moody water – either blank or fill your net I find) it is intended to add cormorant-resistant carp (ie carp over 3lb). Why, I don’t know. I’m certain its the size that matters not the species? So why not stock 3lb+ tench, bream, barbel, etc instead??? Especially as the club has a carp-only water (well, actually carp with chub as a predator to keep fry numbers down) sits not 10 yards away alongside…. so basically the club’s only non-carp holding water is set to have carp introduced … completely destroying the attraction of the water to me if they become prolific.

Anyway, back to the day. OK, so forecast was good and from around 1000 all was very nice, a gentle ripple on the water and a warm sun breaking cover over the trees on the far bank … however, on popping out pre-breakfast (0615) to load the tackle in the car I discovered the windscreen to be completely frozen over … soon disappeared with a squirt of de-icer BUT on going out again at 0700 to leave for the pool the windscreen had again frozen over .. another spray and I headed off with screen heater on .. but for a mile or so I needed the wipers too as the screen just iced over whilst travelling… which was bad news really as the pool is only 3′-4′ deep – possibly 4’6″ at its deepest – and a cold spell soon affects the fishing… although water temps on arrival at 0745 were 6.8’C and had actually risen to 7.8’C on leaving at 1500.

Add to the effects of cold snap that fact that the pool is brook fed – water enters this pool via a pipeline from a brook that runs alongside, exiting via another pipe which connects to the adjacent carp pool and finally exits that pool via an overflow pipe back into the brook at the far end of the site… and the brook is shallow (ie air temperature changes are mirrored quickly due to depth and the turbulence mixing in the flow) and passes through fields of livestock (mainly cows) – and with the recent wet and snowy spells the brook is receiving slurry runoff from the fields which are entering the pool as well as the run off directly from the surrounding fields. Also, I threw out my rake to try to retrieve some lost tackle I’d spotted in a bush on an island opposite my swim and pulled in a huge mass of dead and decaying leaves… water warmish, slurry, decaying leaves? Sounds like a lot of oxygen may have been taken out of the water by the decay processes and thus making fish lethargic? Also a lot of suspended clay in the water, very low visibility…

2018-04-05 Dirty Water

Add to all that that the pool is notoriously a ‘summer’ water and needs water temps to be at least well up in the high teens before any major action happens – usually its late May before it gives up its best fishing – although saying that 2015-2016 season I was catching tench in water at 5’C all through that winter (Nov 2015 – Jan 2016) – not one offs, 3-6 per session each week – not a single perch though which was what I was actually after!

So, I think you’ve realised by now – after all the excuses reasons given that I utterly and totally blanked on the day!

I ledgered 2 prawns on one rod which lay undisturbed for the whole session – cast in at start of day, wound in when packing up. The other rod was floatfished – ‘on the drop’ and ‘lift method’ – with maggot, bread and worm baits casting up to the overhanging vegetation on the island in front, into the centre of the channel, etc … but not a single indication of any interest whatsoever all day long. Oh well, it was a nice mild relaxing day out – who wants to be bothered having to play and unhook fish anyway? LOL!



Water Temps