Given the recent poor spell of weather it was a surprise when an unexpected period of settled conditions brought a few mackerel within reach of the shore angler over the latter part of last week and into the weekend. Most of the Hartlepool piers saw at least a few mackerel landed, as always these early fish seem to prefer lures rather than float fished baits. Those anglers bait fishing have taken large numbers of dabs which seem to have seen a population explosion this year, with the odd better ones approaching the 1lb mark among their smaller brethren. Flounders are also evident in reasonable numbers and the hordes of hungry whiting are back in force on night tides with plenty of double figure bags reported recently. Hopefully prolonged calm conditions will see some specimen plaice showing and perhaps the odd bass as a bonus.
Floodwater conditions have made the rivers difficult to fish and on some tides North Gare and Seaton beach at Hartlepool have been overwhelmed by the heavy runs and debris washed down the river Tees. The Wear and Tyne are slightly more accessible than the Tees and the upriver marks have produced the expected flounders, and the fresh water has induced the eels to move upriver.
Hartlepool Pirates had a recent match in the Wear at Claxheugh where everyone caught flounders and eels. Adam Dendrickson had 12 fish measuring 335cm, Bill Bradley had nine for 245cm, P. Shields had four totalling 117cm, best 34cm, and Steve Swales had four for 113cm. Alberta S.A.C. fished the Tyne where 18 out of 26 weighed in bags of mainly flounders and dabs. Eric Bell had a nice mixed catch of 12 weighing for 10lb 14oz, followed by Mark Minchell with nine for a total of 7lb 14oz, and Darren Browne with 13 for 7½lb. Dave McKenzie won a match at the British Airways site in the Tyne with 23 fish for a total length of 558cm. Tynemouth A.C. also had a good weigh in during their last Sunday League match. Ken Robinson won with 12 whiting, six dabs and three flounders for 12lb 13oz while second placed Dave Hayley had eight dabs, five whiting and three coalies for 10lb 11oz. Tony Anderson took third place with 10lb, and Stu Ford had the heaviest fish, a cod of 1¾lb.
The Northumberland rock edges have good numbers of cod, wrasse, pollack and coalfish showing to both baits and lures. The Whitley Bay Summer League match fished at Beadnell saw Gary Wilson win with three nice cod totalling 9½lb, Ian Hall had a superb specimen wrasse of 4lb 7oz, plus a cod for a 7lb 2oz total, and George Ormesby had a cod and coalfish weighing 4lb 2oz.
Boat angling continues to be very good here in the north east where the Sarah JFK out of the Tyne has had ling to 16lb and cod to 13lb. The Sapphire out of Sunderland took 25 cod around the 5lb to 8lb mark, with the best at 16lb, other trips have produced pollack to 6lb and ling to 8lb, all from the inshore ground marks. The Catch 22 took 35 cod on mussel baits, best 7lb, fishing close inshore. Graham Bell and Mick Collins on Graham's boat Cowpen Queen took over 20 cod between 5lb and 9lb, along with pollack, gurnard and lots of big mackerel just off the Tyne. The Wandering Star out of Hartlepool had 70 cod up to 10lb, most of them around 5lb to 8lb.
The Bedlington Station Summer Open is on Sunday July 8th fishing from 11am until 3pm between Tynemouth Pier and Seahouses South Pier. Seaton Sluice harbour and the rivers Wansbeck, Coquet, and Aln are excluded but Blyth pier is in bounds. Minimum prize is £200 for the heaviest bag, £100 for the heaviest round fish, and £50 for the heaviest flatfish, plus supporting prize table. Basic entry is £10, juniors free if accompanied by a paying adult. Register at The General Havelock, East Sleekburn from 9am until 9.45am. Weigh in same venue from 4pm until 4.45pm. This is a Penn points match.