Rock Pools in Eastbourne, Where to Catch Prawns

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PHONE: Take your phone with you.

Eastbourne Rockpools,
Walk down from Holywell,
turn right, watch the tide.
Or visit Birling Gap UK, for
fishing/ to catch prawns.

Phone: Take your phone with you.
Rating: Fun in the sun, good exercise.
Prices: Free prawns, free shrimp, yum!
Info: Catch prawns in Eastbourne Rock Pools. Which beach is best, tide times prawn catching tips

The rock pools along the Eastbourne coastline are abundant with prawns (shrimp are less common) most especially at Birling Gap. Shrimp are sandy coloured with a dark tail and are more likely to be found buried in the sand. Prawns will be found in rock pools, clinging to weed or the underside of the rocks.

If you've been catching them in the rock pools but arent sure what you have caught, your catch is probably prawns (not shrimp) - the prawns you catch in Eastbourne will be the brown variety.

When is the best time of year to catch prawns? The prawning season follows spawning, from April or May through to the end of August.

The best time for catching prawns are the warm summer months, the months of the year without the letter R... May, June, July, and August. This of course applies if you are catching prawns in England /the UK, or the rest of the northern hemisphere.

It is most fun catching prawns when its warm and sunny and your results fishing for them will be best when the sea is calm.

Catching prawns is a fun activity that can be enjoyed with kids, family or friends, but do check the tide times in Eastbourne before setting out. The further out the tide, the more rock pools will be accessible. The best tide time to start catching prawns may be an hour or so before the tide is at its lowest, giving you plenty of time to investigate the nearby rock pools before the tide starts coming in again.

A long-handled prawn net or pond net can be dipped into rock pools and edged around the weedy surrounds of a pool, where you are most likely to catch a jumping mass of prawns of varying sizes.

If you catch a prawn with what appears to be dozens of small black eggs under its abdomen, you have a pregnant female. Toss it back into the sea as fishing the pregnant females  decreases the population.

Try to stay away from rock pools with heaps of floating weed and avoid those rock pools which are likely to drain completely and dry out as the tide recedes.

You might also try catching crabs with a piece of string and some bacon. Crabs love bacon, and the ones on the Eastbourne beaches are no exception. Cut into bite sized chunks, with a bit of luck, you’ll have a crab nipping away at the end of your string trying to pinch it.

How to keep shrimp and prawns:
If you are just catching prawns, shrimp and crabs for fun, remember to keep them happy, in a bucket of seawater with some seaweed, releasing them back in the rock pools when you have finished.

How to cook prawns and shrimp:
If you are catching prawns to eat, it is best to keep them alive until you get home. You will need a container with a lid to stop the prawns jumping out and escaping, ideally with both some water and seaweed in the bottom. Once you have returned home, soak them in cold water to wash and clean them whilst waiting for a large pan water to boil. The water can be salted, to the same consistency as seawater.

You can also add a small piece of seaweed to the pan of boiling water if desired. Once the water has boiled, drop in the prawns and boil for several minutes, depending on size, until they turn pink/red. The prawns will reduce the temperature of the water so you may need to cook your prawns in several batches.

Ensure your prawns / shrimp are thoroughly cooked before removing them from the pan. Try to avoid overcooking them, or they will become rubbery. Some people wait for them to start to float and then give them another minute or two.

When cooked, scoop them out and put them on ice, adding a handful of rock salt or sea salt before putting them in the refrigerator. Once chilled, they are ready to eat.

The horns on the shrimps head are extremely sharp, capable of inflicting a painful wound. Live shrimp are experts at using their horns, but even when cooked, the horns remain a danger to the clumsy hand or careless finger.

Some people do not realise that they have an allergy to shrimp, prawns and other types of shellfish. If after eating your catch of prawns/shrimp or shellfish, you begin to feel symptoms similar to a tightening of the throat or chest, or you develop red blotches (possbily hives) you may be having an allergic reaction, in which case call the emergency services.

Some folk go prawning at night, although this is not recommended (at all!) in rock pools, but instead by boat, or from a jetty or pontoon. The eyes of prawns glow red when a light is shone on them.

Fishing for prawns is safest, easiest and most fun when working in a group of one or two other fishermen, as rock pools can be slippery and gashes from sharp rocks are painful. We've seen it happen. And we've also known people to get stuck inside deep rockpools, unable to climb out without assistance, so once again, do not go prawning alone.

If your rock pooling expedition demands an overnight stay, you’ll find plenty of fabulous hotels, B and B's and self catering flats and holiday cottages in our accommodation section.

If you enjoy your rock pooling, THE GUARDIAN newspaper recommended the locations below as being amongst the in the UK for fishing or shrimp/prawn catching and rockpooling.

Wembury Bay, Devon, UK
South coast spot near Plymouth, lots of shore crabs and porcelain crabs, common prawns, cushion stars and starfish, with the occasional red-and-blue squat lobster.

Goodrington Sands, Paignton, Devon, UK
Excellent rock pools are to be found in Devon, and also at Saltern Cove. Keep your eyes open for greater pipefish, cucumbers, sea lemons, sea hares and the European cowrie (which has a glossy, leopard-print shell). An abundance of Prawns up to 5-6 inches can be caught in water a foot or two high, off the South rocks of Goodrington as the tide turns and starts to make it's way in. (Thanks to Steve from Paignton for this information).

Samphire Hoe, Kent, UK
7 species of crab can be found at low tide, blennies, butterfish, heaps of shrimp and prawns, mermaid's purses, dogfish eggs and anemones. You may also come across limpets, bright periwinkles and predatory dog whelks.

Caswell Bay, Gower Peninsula, UK
Beadlet anemones, blennies lock heads, shore crabs, edible crabs and velvet fiddler crabs can be found at Caswell Bay. Sea slugs which squirt purple ink as a defence mechanism might also be found, as well as the occasional octopus.

Broad Ledge, Lyme Regis, Dorset, UK
Winkles, Cornish clingfish, long-clawed crabs, edible crabs, dragon nets, lugworms, scorpion fish and strawberry anemones, as well as cuttlefish who might need rescuing if left stranded in the rockpools

Roome Bay, Crail, Fife, England
Shore crabs, hermit crabs, broad-clawed porcelain crabs, spider crabs (occasionally), butterfish and blennies. Pipefish and sea lemons are rare, whilst starfish are brown shrimp are more plentiful.

Newton Haven, Northumbria, England
Breadcrumb sponges, sea squirts, squat lobsters, shrimps, prawns, edible mussels and spider crabs are in abundance. Beware the weaver fish which can give a nasty sting, and the occasional stranded octopus or lumpsucker.

Hope Gap, East Sussex, near Eastbourne, England
The rockpools on this stretch of the Seven Sisters marine conservation are only accessible at low tide.  Keep your eyes open for the pretty beadlet and speckled strawberry anemones, and beware the velvet swimming crabs (characteristically recognised by their red eyes) which can give a painful nip.

Thanet Beach, Botany Bay, Kent, England
Plenty of shore crabs and edible crabs once again, cuttlefish eggs (which resemble a bunch of dark grapes) and starfish.

Portrush, Co Antrim, England
Limpets and barnacles are plentiful, you'll be able to find and catch shrimp and prawns hiding in crevices. You may find stickleback fish, velvet fiddler crabs and beadlet anemones here too. Great places for fishing!

Tips for catching shrimp and international warnings:
A shrimp pot, also known as a shrimp trap, can be used to catch shrimp. You can buy one, and place it in the water and simply leave the shrimping pot to do the work for you. It’s still fun in its own way and these pots/tramps can be left for a period of time, before you return to find out what has been caught. The only ‘trick’ to fishing for prawns or shrimp in this way, is to fill the pot with shrimp bait before setting it down into the water.

You can go fishing for shrimp anywhere they can be found. If you live in North America, you’d be wise to contact the state's department of fish and game to find out whether its necessary to obtain a recreational shrimping license.

Wherever you live, obtain a list of the rules and regulations regarding shrimping. Various states in the USA specify what time of year varies you can shrimp, as well as specifying the sizes of shrimp pot and/or what the size of net that you are permitted to use, as well as the amount of shrimp or prawns you are legally allowed to catch. Copies of these regulations are usually available from the fish and gaming departments. Happy fishing!