Increasing numbers of smaller cod are now starting to feature in angler's catches, particularly from the Tyne marks and the Northumberland rock edges, which is a sure sign of the rapidly approaching autumn and winter cod season. Although mackerel can still feature in catches as late as mid October, they will soon be long forgotten as most anglers will be searching for that elusive big cod. If you want to fish for some late mackerel then the Hartlepool piers are still producing double figure bags to float tactics. The piers at Seaham, Roker and South Shields are also producing mackerel to lures, with the added bonus of a few decent pollack, coalfish and the odd cod. Bait fishing from any of these piers, and from the Durham beaches has resulted in plenty of dabs, flounders and whiting, the odd bass and turbot can be expected, and some decent late season plaice are evident. Some anglers have reported dogfish, and with a slight bit of sea running, cod are starting to show, but mainly during late evening and all night sessions.
The rivers still have plenty of fish resident with the familiar pattern of the bigger flounders in the Wear and the greater numbers of smaller specimens in the upper Tyne. The lower Wear has coalies showing on some tides, and the lower Tyne marks have produced some better bags of coalfish, cod and plaice to crab and worm baits. The last Ryhope Tuesday evening sweepstake saw Mick Davison win with a flounder of 1lb 2oz, runner-up Jim Dobie had one of 1lb 1oz and Steve Rackstraw took third with a flounder of 1lb. This popular Tuesday evening sweepstake will soon be fishing the open shoreline in anticipation of those autumn cod looking for big fresh crab baits. Boundaries are from Seaham Spiles to the Tyne Walkway, including the piers, and up to the Alexander Bridge in the Wear. Contact Bob Surtees 0191 5237272 for details.
The Northumberland rock edge marks should be on top form now, weather permitting, with some better mixed bags of cod, coalie, pollack and wrasse being taken from all of the popular marks up to Eyemouth. There is a slight chance of a big conger eel from the heavier ground around Dunstanburgh Castle for those willing to try. A Whitley Bay match at Newton saw Garry Appleton win with six smaller cod weighing 7lb 7oz ahead of George Hornsby who had three totalling 5lb 10oz, and Kenny Bowen had the best at 3lb 5oz. Dave Delaney won an East End A.C. match with three for 5lb 14oz, the best weighing 3lb 1oz. Jim Dunn won a Seaton Sluice A.C. match with five fish for a total of 10lb 13oz, followed by Adam Burns with four which totalled 5lb. Gary Tulley won a Newbiggin match at Amble with three cod weighing 6lb 15oz, including the heaviest fish of 3¼lb. The clean ground beaches around Amble have also produced some big mixed bags of flatfish with dabs dominating amongst the flounders and rarer turbot, some anglers report bags of over 20 fish, taking worm and fresh mackerel baits.
Steve Harper won a Tynemouth match with two cod and a flounder for 3¼lb taken from the Middens sandbar. Some nice pollack were taken in a recent Seaham match when Brian Dobson had one of 5.38lb, and Mick Davison one of 4.5lb.
Boat anglers continue to pick up some better fish with some nice specimens showing very close inshore from the heavy ground marks. Richard Roll and his mother Lynda on the Stingray took plenty of cod to 5lb, with the better ones at 14lb 2oz, 11¼lb, 10lb 1oz, and a ling of 13lb 9oz. The Topline out of Sunderland took 25 size cod to 8lb and 15 ling to 9lb during a recent trip. The Sapphire, also out of Sunderland, fishing very close inshore on Saturday to avoid the recent strong winds took cod to 5lb, pollack to 4lb, and plenty of pouting and mackerel, fishing the same ground on Sunday produced cod to 8lb, pollack to 6lb, and quality pouting to 2lb. These bigger fish are definitely coming within reach of the shore angler and the next big tides may see the autumn season start in style