Mackerel catches continue to be a bit quiet on the recent neap tides with few double figure bags reported. The Hartlepool piers seem to be the best bet with float fishing the most productive method when the mackerel are scarce. Dredger activity means that you might have to move around a bit to find the clean water and fish, North Gare or Middleton pier are usually the better marks when this happens.
There are plenty of fish in the Region's rivers to keep match anglers fishing to a 20cm size limit happy. Most tides will produce at least a few smaller flounders and some bigger specimens over the 2lb mark are showing from the upriver marks to crab baits. There are lots of small coalies in the lower Wear with the occasional in size ones among them. In the Tyne, small codling have made reappearance but this time fish around the 1lb mark are also present as a nice reminder that autumn is not too far away.
Sport in the Wear was quiet for the previous Tuesday evening sweepstake when Chris Hossack only needed a thirteen once eel to win.
The Northumberland rock ledge marks have produced the usual cod, pollack, coalfish, wrasse and mackerel but smaller tides have kept the big bag catches to a minimum. A recent Whitley Bay league match at Beadnell saw Steve Williams win with four cod for a total of 9lb 1oz, Chris Potts had three for 5lb 14oz, Keith Barthgate had four weighing 4lb 15oz, and Gary Wilson had the heaviest fish of 4¼lb. A Tynemouth A.C. travel match at Seahouses only produced a single weigh in for Alan Norman with a single cod and coalie totalling 3lb. Johnny Hepton managed a nice cod of 8lb 2oz, plus others of 4lb 2oz and 3lb 3oz during a recent session at Beadnell. Peter Smith won a Blyth match with two cod for 7lb 15oz, also at Beadnell.
Plaice have been a little scarce this year, but Parton beach and Crimdon at Hartlepool have produced a few specimens, as have some of the Durham beach marks. Alan Ramsey had one of 2lb 9oz from Roker pier; Brian Clennel had one of 2lb 1oz from the lower Tyne. Smaller fish have been taken from South Shields pier that also produced a specimen turbot of 2lb 7oz for Darren Browne.
There were plenty of flatties and some early autumn cod taken in the last Tynemouth retired members match in the lower Tyne where Ian Galbraith won with seven flounders for a total weight of 4lb 15oz. Second placed Dave Scrimageur had three plaice and a flounder totalling 4lb 6oz ahead of Tony Taylor with 4lb 2oz. The heaviest fish was a surprise, rare tadpole fish of 1lb 3oz taken by Arthur Smeaton.
Pollack continue to show in numbers from many venues but the better fish are resident around the inaccessible marks close in at St. Abbs where Walter Turnbull and Paul Conroy on the private boat Charlotte had fish to 10lb. The Sapphire out of Sunderland has taken mixed bags of cod, ling and pollack from the inshore marks, including a cod of 15lb taken by Peter Smith and a ling of 15lb 2oz for Ian Dixon. Out of Hartlepool, the Lone Shark reports good numbers of cod and ling from the inshore marks, mostly around 4lb to 9lb with the odd bigger ones to 12lb or more.
Looking slightly further ahead to the start of the autumn and winter open matches the Bedlington Station Open is on Sunday October 6th fishing from 9am until 1pm between Tynemouth pier to Craster South pier (both piers excluded). Blyth pier is included on both the seaward side and river side with all other rivers out of bounds. Register at the Bank House Club Newbiggin from 7am. Basic entry is £12 for adults and £6 for ladies and juniors. First prize is £500 for the heaviest bag, top three heaviest fish depend on entry, and there is £50, £30 and £20 for the best three flatfish. There is a full supporting prize table with a special prize for 40th place.