The Mark Inside The Mark – Robin Hoods Bay Sewer Hole (The Inside Story).
My fascination with Robin Hoods Bay dates back many years now and it’s no secret that a large percentage of my fishing has been done there over the years.
From the shallows scars of the stepping stones to the deep water of long hole and the wash hole in South Hawsker, this is an area which can reap massive dividends for any keen to learn angler – That could be you !!
It was way back in the 1990’s that my good friend Niel Ingliss first introduced me to Robin Hoods Bay. I’ve been obsessed with the place ever since.
We used to fish all the marks and paid a lot of attention to those at low water found immediately in front of the village.
Many anglers passed onto me some tips and stories they had learned themselves and some they had been taught by the likes of local tackle shop owner Eric Wilson who had fished the area with great success since the 60’s and 70’s.
Eric often told me stories of big cod upto 20 pounds coming from that area under various conditions. Niel Ingliss himself is no stranger to big cod from the area with his personal best coming from there, a local club record cod of 28lbs in weight.
One mark within the area which seems to attract the most attention from anglers is known as the sewer hole. It will be no surprise to you that this mark is found at the end of the old, inactive, sewer pipe.
The mark is renowned for small codling en mass, and bites here can come thick and fast under the right conditions. Occasionally a bigger fish will show up and some anglers have taken cod to 18lb from here over the past decade.
The mark fishes at its best under various conditions, you should look for the following when considering coming here to fish
- · This is a low tide mark. Tides of 1.7 (Whitby book) down to 0.8 are within the optimum range for getting to the edge of the hole and still having enough water in there to hold the fish and keep them feeding.
- Best time is 90 mins before low tide until 90 mins after low tide.
- To find the hole, find the end of the sewer pipe on the right hand side of the hole. A man hole cover on the pipe is key to being in just the right place.
- A moderate to large swell from the south east or north east are the best.
- Easterly swells tend to clear the water which can lead to unproductive fishing, but don’t write the mark off all together under those conditions as it can be a matter of waiting to low tide to get down to the kelpy areas where the fish have taken cover (often they won’t come out of the kelp and up the scars in clear water, especially if there is a moon in the sky).
- A South Easterly swell can be the best. The water often colours up heavily and I put this down in part to the constant feed of clay into the water from the cliffs in the area.
- A North easterly swell can be productive for the first day or 2 it is running. After this period the water can clear and the fish can move out of the hole.
- If the swell gets really big don’t fish here. Look at marks with shelter. I often used to go to Runswick on the very biggest south easterlies as Robin Hoods Bay doesn’t produce well on the really big seas.
- The day after a big swell, when the sea has fallen away can still be productive. Don’t be fooled into thinking no swell means no fish as they often hang around for a tide or 2 after the sea goes flat. Heavily coloured water is key. The fish can be difficult to hit on such nights but bites can be ferocious. Scaling down on bait size can be useful.
- You can also fish this mark on a very neap tide of around 2.4 low tide (Whitby book). However you’re not fishing the hole itself, and you fish the tide up from low tide rather than from before low tide. Start at low tide right in the back of the hole / on the beach at the bottom of the new slipway. This is when a lot of the biggest fish have been caught as they edge out of the hole and onto the surrounding scars on a small flooding tide.
- Also worthy of note. Most people fish the right hand side of the hole. However many good bags have come from the left hand side of the hole near dungeon hole. Don’t overlook this area.
- Best baits are the usual mix of crab, worm and mussel. Fish after often stuffed full of lugworm when gutted. This tells you that the ground here is a nice mix of Kelp , rock and sand. The sand is home to the worms. Perfect !!!
- The big bait secret to the whole of Robin Hoods Bay and any other marks that colour up heavily is Mussel. My good friend Mike Vasey once joked that fishing here without mussel is like fishing with no rod. How right he was.
- Expect small bites and lots of laid on fish. This mark is renowned for “lenny lay on’s” as we used to call them
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Memories Of Fishing Over the Years At The Sewer Hole In Robin Hoods Bay.
Going back many years now there used to be a big rock right in the back of the hole. I think it got moved when they built the new sea wall here when the barges needed to run aground to deliver the rock armour.
One night I was fishing with Mike Vasey and we were struggling for fish. I joked to Mike I was going to cast to the back of the hole near the big rock. The water there is very shallow at just a few feet in depth.
So I plopped my bait in just behind the big rock, and stood there expecting nothing to happen. Then came a pull, followed by a good fight and I landed a cod of around 8lbs.
Mike was weak with laughter and said “I bet you can’t do that again”. Well you guessed it, back in I went and within minutes out came a fish of about seven and a half pounds. I used to have a picture of them hung on my shed wall to remind me of that amazing night.
That’s night I managed around 6 fish, all from the shallows. An important lesson was learnt that night. Think outside the box and never be afraid to fish shallow water.
On another night I was fishing the sewer hole alongside the late Eric Thompson, a lovely man, with a great sense of humour, and always willing to help you out.
I was stood around the man hole cover and blasting my bait down the hole. Eric next to me was catching fish after fish, whilst I stood there without a bite. This wasn’t the first time I had had that experience alongside Eric, nor would it be the last.
Anyhow, once he had about 7 fish out, he give me a little tip. “Cast short Glen, very short, about 40 yards.”
So next cast I plopped one in right at the end of the pipe. Not long after came my first fish of the night. Closely followed by a couple more.
I could tell you many stories about how helpful Eric was to me, like the time he helped me catch my personal best cod of almost 15lbs, but I shall save those for another day.
One last Tale, has to be from the first night I fished the sewer hole. I plopped my bag on the scar and followed Neil down the hole.
At the end of the night the tide flooded in and I went to find my bag. After a long search I found it half submerged, full of water, swilling about in the back of the hole.
Although the scars are shallow and you are never in danger with an incoming tide, the water does cover the scars fast to a depth of 2 or 3 ft.
It is essential to wear waders here and also essential to keep your bag out of the water by hanging it off a tripod.
Many anglers at Robin Hoods Bay have constructed their own style of tripod made out of metal broom shafts. They are perfect for this purpose.
So that’s my tips for fishing the Sewer Hole at Robin Hoods Bay. Above is a cheat sheet which you can download for your own use or to share amongst your friends on Facebook.
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