Just when you thought summer had arrived, good old winter reappeared and the heaviest seas for several months last week had anglers waiting for them to die down and get at the cod that move inshore to clean up on all the food washed out. Prospects were good as some nice cod were taken in the previous week of summer weather and calm conditions. While the spring run of cod has not been evident for several years, some anglers have reported cod to 7lb from various shore and pier marks. Best fish reported was a 20lb cod taken by an angler who wishes to remain anonymous and who also took four other cod to 5lb. Barry Scott had cod of 4lb 15oz and 4lb 10oz from St. Marys Island, and Les Straughan had one of 7lb from South Shields pier. As the seas dropped off shore sport was very poor with just a single cod of 7lb taken on Friday night reported from the Hartlepool piers.
Coalfish and flounders have all arrived inshore in big numbers this year with most of the marks north of Seaham to the Tyne producing some big mixed bags. Peter Stewart won a recent Tynemouth match with 11 coalfish, the best 1lb 15oz and a whiting for a total of 12lb 11oz, followed by Chris Potts whose 12 coalfish and 1 flounder weighed in at 12½lb.
The well known flounder marks on the Cumbrian coast are starting to produce some big bags of quality flounders already this year. Seaton Sluice had a catch and release match at Port Carlisle which was won by Chris Guthrie with 17 fish weighing 20lb 1oz, Simon Todd had 18 for 18lb 6oz, Gary Appleton had 19 weighing 14lb 9oz. Jimmy Dunn had the best fish, a 43cm monster weighing 2¾lb, and all 16 anglers caught good numbers of fish.
Prior to the heavy seas boat angling had started to pick up very early this year with lots of anglers reporting unusually large numbers of pollack showing from the inshore ground marks. Eyemouth and St. Abbs does not usually start to produce fish until mid May but has already produced cod and pollack. Steve James on Charlotte landed four Pollack to 6lb just off Eyemouth. Gordon Grear on Lady Seaton had 10 cod to 8lb just off from St. Marys Island, all taken on ragworm and mussel baits. The Sarah JFK out of the Tyne has averaged around 30 bigger fish per trip recently with the cod averaging 5lb to 7lb, and early ling to 8lb. Best ling was one of 12lb taken by Brian Warren, best cod was 10lb taken by Barry Shields. Albert Grey on the Shady out of the Tyne took five cod and two ling from an inshore mark. The private boat Phantom 1 out of Hartlepool has had cod to 7lb and pollack to 4lb
Hartlepool W.C.S.A.C. has finished their winter season now. Club champion is Paul Blair with a total of 82lb, Paul Hornsey was runner up with 70lb 9oz, and Mal McGeorge had 36lb 9oz. Alan Howe took the trophy for the heaviest fish with a cod of 3lb 1oz.