What is happening with our weather? The middle of November and we have conditions more suitable for August with unusually high temperatures, flat calm seas, gin clear water and sandeel and sprat shoals still evident in large numbers around our Region's piers. Mackerel are still being taken in big numbers with plenty of double figure bags showing from Roker pier, just about everyone fishing Roker on Friday morning had mackerel. Mackerel were landed on North Gare pier last week, witnessed by myself. Some big coalies and wrasse can be taken fishing down the sides of the Hartlepool piers, these decent coalfish have been absent for many years in the Hartlepool area. As a bonus, a nicely coloured red kelp cod can be expected on crab or mussel baits, though most will be well under the 1lb mark.
Bottom fishing with baits has been relatively poor anywhere between Hartlepool and Seaham with just the odd flounder, dab, or whiting showing on the recent small tides. North of Seaham however, shore sport improves a lot with some decent bags of cod showing from the rock edges and from the rivers Wear and Tyne. Crab bait is absolutely essential for these fish though. It seems likely that all of those cod that were evident through the summer months are still staying just offshore feeding on the baitfish. Boat anglers fishing just off from Roker and Seaham have taken masses of mackerel and up to 90 cod per trip on the more productive days.
Despite the lack of cod in the south of the region, club competitions continue to be won with quality cod from other areas. The last Ryhope club match saw 54 fishing with the better cod showing from the Wear where Chris Hossack won with two cod weighing 3.75kg, the best making 1.89kg. Alan Burton fished the Wear to land four cod for 3.55kg, and top junior Kian Ashton fished Roker to land seven whiting for 1.88kg. Best flatfish was a flounder of 0.62kg taken by Alan March.
The Ryhope Tuesday heaviest fish sweepstake saw 28 fishing with the rock edges at Marsden productive on the night. Paul Riley won with a cod of 2lb 2oz, Dean Appleby had one of 2lb, G. Black had one of 1½lb, and Stuey Footes one of 1lb 6oz. A Fisherman's Locker sweepstake the next night saw Dean Stronach win with a cod of 4lb 5oz from Roker pier, all of the other top fish came from Marsden where Lee Riley had one of 4lb 3oz, Mick Bell one of 3¾lb, and Dave Frost one of 3lb 5oz.
The Tyne, which often fishes well on small tides, also has the inevitable cod present. Lee Corey won an East End match here with 14 whiting and two flounders for a total of 7lb 6oz, Nicky Robson had four cod, three whiting, and two flounders weighing 6lb 14oz, and Mark Bennett had the best cod at 1lb 4oz. A Tynemouth winter league match saw Bob Gascoigne win with nine whiting, two flounders, and one cod totalling 7lb 2oz taken from the Tyne, Chris Stringer also fished the river and had four cod weighing 5lb 10oz. Steve Harper had the best cod at 2lb 10oz.
The Whitley Bay Night Time Open is on Saturday November 14th with fishing from 8.30pm until 12.30am between Lynemouth pipe and Tynemouth pier. Basic entry is £10, register at the Whitley Bay A.C. clubhouse, St. Mary's Island approach Road, from 6.30pm until 7.30pm. Cash prizes are to 10th place starting with £250 for the heaviest bag and £150 for the heaviest fish.