The heavy seas of last weekend failed to produce the expected cod invasion with just one or two better specimens to 7lb reported from various marks along the north east shoreline. Midweek sport was a little better however with some anglers reporting bags of up to 10 cod from the low water marks along the Durham beaches with ragworm and fresh crab taking the better fish to 4lb. Whiting are still evident from the Hartlepool piers with bigger fish to 2lb reported, but most are now in poor condition after spawning, and there are a lot of smaller specimens among the bigger fish. Flounders and dabs are showing in good numbers also, but these too are generally in poor condition after spawning. Flounders have greatly increased in numbers over the last few years and there are lots of smaller fish showing from Crimdon and the Durham beach marks. There are specimen flounders in the upper Wear and Tyne, lots of coalfish in both rivers, and slightly more smaller, but in size, codling in the lower Tyne where fresh crab bait is increasingly becoming the more effective bait, though flounders and the remnants of the winter whiting invasion will still take ragworm and mackerel baits.
There is no obvious reason why the cod have failed to move inshore as commercial boats have taken cod to 20lb just off from Crimdon, and before the sea built up kayak anglers fishing off from St. Mary’s Island had cod to 8lb. The T.J. Gannet out of Hartlepool saw Lee Skinner, Paul Skinner, Dave Booth, and Mick Anderson all taking cod averaging around the 5lb with the biggest at 9lb taken by Lee, lots of big pouting were also reported.
Unless there is some sea running flounders seem to be the main target for match anglers lately. Seaton Sluice found plenty showing in the river Aln for their last match where Chris Guthrie won with six weighing 6lb 5oz, Mal McIntyre had six for 5lb 13oz and third placed Bryan Clennel had six for a total of 5lb 8oz. The heaviest fish prize went to Mick Bell with an absolute monster specimen flounder of 3lb 3oz, few anglers can ever hope to land a flounder over the 3lb mark.
The South Shields monthly sweepstake on the local pier saw various mixed bags landed. Paul McIntyre had five coalies totalling 5lb 2oz to win the event ahead of Phil Coates whose bag of codling, pouting and dabs weighed 4lb 5oz. Third placed Harry Elliott had a cod and whiting totalling 3lb 2oz and Phil Coates took the heaviest fish prize with his cod of 2lb 15oz.
The Tynemouth retired members match saw coalfish dominate with 10 out of 19 weighing in. The winner Bob Gascoigne had seven of them for a total of 7lb; including the day’s best of 1½lb. Stu Ford followed Bob home with 4lb and Wilf Reed finished third with two coalfish and a single dab weighing 2lb 5oz. The Tynemouth Sunday league match saw Kenny Patterson win with three coalies from the Tyne, Chris Potts also had three weighing 2½lb from the same venue to take second. Dave Hayley had a coalie, a flounder and a dab weighing 2lb 5oz from Tynemouth pier to finish third.