Hornsea Mere

This pike fishing phase we’re going through is certainly getting us out to some new places. Our insatiable cravings for toothy tugs means we are venturing to the furthest corners of Yorkshire and beyond!  A couple of weeks ago we decided to visit Hornsea Mere. I know that naming lesser known pike fishing venues is not very wise but I think it’s safe to say that Hornsea Mere is not a lesser known pike fishing venue! It is in fact Yorkshire’s largest natural lake at 2 miles long and 467 acres (yeah I’ve been on Wikipedia)

As always we were in the pikemobile as Stu’s 2 seater can’t really take all the paraphernalia required for these mission. The dear old Mondeo needs a respray and I’m not completely ruling out a non-standard scheme.

(Piss-)artist’s impression of a pikemobile scheme

We got there about 9:30 ish which isn’t bad considering it’s about a 1 hour 40 minute drive away and we’re appalling at early starts. Before any fishing could begin we just couldn’t resist a cheeky bacon sarnie in the on-site cafe and mighty fine it was too.


For fishing enquiries we were directed to a guy in the boat house who was very helpful, gave us some tips on where to go and sorted us out with a good boat which we could affix our electric outboard to. We set off from the pontoon and headed out towards the island, taking care not to ground the boat on the shallows that surround it. Here we drifted along the shoreline whilst I flyfished and Stu worked some jerkbaits. The water was incredibly clear which did not really help matters but it is nice all the same.


Nothing doing, we then set up some drifts in the area between the island and Seaton road which looked real fishy to me but again no bites. I switched between fly-fishing (floating line) and spinning (15lb mono with various plugs and lures) and Stu carried on with various jerkbaits and ever more exotic Squirrely Burts, Bulldogs and Christ knows what else but you know what, we had not one Goddamn offer. We fished further afield in slightly deeper water (although most of the lake is a uniform available depth of about 6ft because of all the weed) out to the West of the island but still nothing. Blue sky and bright sunshine…grrr.



Most blog posts have a tempo to them. Mine almost always end up (unintentionally I hasten to add) like Stairway to Heaven. Slow build, uncertainty, build to crescendo,try hold that crescendo on an extended plateau if possible,  then tail off, wipe your member on the velvet curtains and go to sleep. So here we are at that upswing, that crescendo. Off we motored again, or rather hummed our way out to a series of buoys out in the middle and drifted again. Action stations! I saw a pike follow my big silver spoon all the way in to the boat then turn. A few casts later Bang! Fish on!  Aaargh! Fish off! Recast. Retrieve. Recast. Retrieve. Bang! Fish on! Lots of lovely bronze flashes under the water then we get the diminutive but very welcome jack pike into our boat.

With the pike safely back in the water I carried on. Another follow! Another offer. Then the sport dried up. (Here we go, beginning tail off now). We came around and back through through the same drift to no avail so moved further towards the Southern shore where there was lots of bird activity, maybe a good sign? I noticed the water was still pretty deep and clear of weed so felt confident fishing a deep diving 19cm ‘Dirty Roach’ in a lip skull. Man those things look good, I’ve yet to catch on a soft bait though. Just as I was getting my hopes up again I spotted the boat man motoring out to us in his Whitby Whaler which I knew was going to culminate in a ‘time to come in lads’. To be fair, the sun was disappearing behind the trees and not much light was left in the day.

Great place, we’ll definitely be going back at some point. Hornsea Mere has a reputation for being difficult (its glory days long gone) but it’s a surprisingly attractive place with lots of potential. Friendly staff, quality bacon sarnie, and cheap as chips compared to equally daunting pike waters such as Esthwaite or Pitsford.






7 thoughts on “Hornsea Mere

  1. Stu

    If you paint the Mondeo up as the pike mobile then we also need a pike cave and a pike phone. Fatman and Robin? KAPOW, another blank!

  2. Eric Abbey

    A question to ask on your next visit to Hornsea Mere

    Where is the record holding, stuffed pike that had pride of place, for many years in the cafe, it was a fine example, it was a piece of history, pity that such important treasures from the past are swept away, probably without any thought of its place in so many memory banks.!

    1. Gary Blackwell

      If I remember correctly the pike in the cafe weighed about 27lbs, I cannot remember anything bigger from the mere (Pike, the Carp are bigger), there was a resident Pike near Swan Island that was about 26lb, Wilf Cutting once held the UK roach record from the mere, I’ve fished it since the 60’s (yes 1960’s) and it’s sad to look back at how good the water once was, the North/East bay (Bull hole) was stuffed with fish when I was a kid, a good day could see over 200 Perch and Roach in the net, best day iirc was 407 fish. I will never see those days again, the bay was also alive with minnows…Pollution, silt and Cormorants have all taken the toll…

      1. Gary Blackwell

        I think that sounds right, the previous family that ran the mere for years were the Hoods, Gordon & Michael (father & son), Gordon passed away many years ago and left Michael to run the place, however I understand Michael became too ill to carry on running the place, another long timer was Bill who repaired the boats and helped out on a daily basis (forget his surname, nice guy). I did have a day there about a year ago, sadly I never saw a Perch or Roach, had a very small jack about a 1lb, cormorants still roasting near the NW bay (circa 200-250), so sad, makes you mad when you hear about how waters have improved etc etc, total rubbish in a lot of cases, a few waters have improved, many have declined !!

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