Shore sport has dropped off a little lately with the recently dependable whiting now few and far between, but there are still specimens to be taken from the Hartlepool piers on late evening and night time tides. Undersize dabs and flounders have made up the bulk of catches in the south of the region and along the Durham beaches. Roker pier has fished well for mixed bags of coalies, flounders and the odd small cod. Some anglers are having good sport using float fished ragworm baits to target the coalfish and the odd bonus pollack. South Shields pier has also seen similar results with mixed bags of over 10lb reported, mainly coalies, but specimen plaice to 2lb are now starting to show to ragworm baits. Both of the rivers have good numbers of coalfish and flounders present with the odd size cod amongst them, and the lower Tyne has started to produce plaice to 2lb or more from the Walkway and Fish Quay marks.
Hartlepool Pirates fished the penultimate match of their winter league last week. Paul Shields had the heaviest bag with two whiting weighing 1lb 9oz, second placed Bill Bradley had a single cod of 1½lb to pip Steve Swales by an ounce, and Adam Dendrickson took fourth with a coalfish of 1lb 5oz.
The last Tynemouth Sunday League match saw plenty of coalies in the lower river with the Fish Quay the top mark on the day where 25 out of 35 weighed in. Chris Potts had 10 coalfish totalling 9½lb to win while runner-up Kenny Patterson had five weighing 5lb 1oz. Third spot went to Alan Norman with an eight fish mixed bag weighing 4lb 14oz, and Peter Stewart finished fourth with five coalfish for 4lb 7oz. Gary Appleton took the heaviest fish prize with a cod of 3lb 13oz.
S.B.R.A.A.C. fished a measure and release match in the upper Tyne. Paul Roper had eight fish measuring 197cm, Kevin Moffat had eight for a total of191cm, and Michael Thompson had seven for 168cm.
A voluntary code of conduct has been published by DEFRA in association with various bodies, including INCA (Industry Nature Conservation Association), for the local EMS (European Marine Site), for those groups who regularly use the Teesmouth and Cleveland coast, and covers user groups such as dog walkers, horse riders, photographers, and of course sea anglers. The sea angling code has been drawn up in agreement with the N.F.S.A.S. (Northern Federation of Sea Angling Societies), and is very generous regarding sea angling. Obvious actions that need to be observed by all groups such as not disturbing wildlife and nesting or feeding birds should already be observed by anglers.
A North Eastern IFCA shellfish permit is required for the collection of edible crab, velvet crab, lobsters and whelks within the NEIFCA district. Anglers are advised to use shockleaders of an appropriate breaking strain to minimise lost tackle. Anglers absolutely must take home waste litter, tackle, bait wrappers etc. waste line should be cut up into short lengths before disposal, if there is one thing that will get angling banned in the future it is the problem of litter and discarded waste line. Take it home.
Bait collecting is the main area covered for anglers as follows. Do not take small lugworm and ragworm, only take crabs that are fit for use and return immature, berried (carrying eggs), and non moulting crabs (hardbacks). Do not take more bait than is needed, backfill all bait digging holes and dig carefully to limit the exposure of the lower sediment (black mud). Avoid trench digging, and avoid wasting bait by ensuring that it is stored and transported correctly, i.e. in buckets of water and stored at home in a cool environment. Lastly the main area of past contention is the collection of crabs via placed traps. Collecting peeler crabs should only be done via existing traps and shelters i.e. tyres and pipes. No one should even consider placing new traps, particularly tyres, along the shoreline; anyone doing so risks spoiling shore angling for everyone else.
All of this is voluntary, and all of it is also “common sense” which is already observed by the majority of responsible anglers.