A bit of an outside swell on the sea over the last few days did manage to bring a few cod inshore from most of the marks along the North East shoreline. It was definitely a case of being in the right place at the right time, preferably with fresh crab bait which produced some better fish up to 3lb mainly from Roker and South Shields piers, and from some of the rock edge and beach marks along the Durham shoreline. At any other time, the usual flatfish species and smaller coalies, whiting and rockling have dominated catches. Mackerel are reported just offshore and if the unseasonal cold weather turns more settled they may show towards the end of May from the local piers. Plaice should also be more prolific this year as some bigger specimens to 3lb have already been reported from Roker and South Shields piers.
The local rivers are starting to produce more of the expected summer species with flounders, coalfish, whiting and mainly undersize codling being reported. The upper rivers have seen the better results with flounders taking worm and mackerel baits and the lower river marks are better for cod and coalfish with the chance of a bigger specimen falling to fresh crab baits.
A Tynemouth match in heavy seas saw everyone head for the river where Alan Norman won with two cod, best the best weighing 1lb 15oz, and two flounders for a total of 4lb 6oz, well ahead of Chris Norman with a single flounder of half a pound. A South Shields sweepstake match on the pier produced a winning cod of 1lb 13oz for R. Oliver and a nice specimen flounder of 1¾lb for P. Coates. A mid-river measure and release sweepstake in the Tyne saw Steve Potts win with 20 fish measuring 497cm, Gav Owen had 19 for 450cm, Colin Bell had 13 totalling 314cm, and Dave Delaney had the longest fish, a good flounder of 39cm.
Steve Williams had a very good bag of cod from the Tyne where he won a recent Alberta match with six fish weighing 9lb 5oz taken from a mid-river mark. Callan Stevens was second with four for a total of 8lb 3oz, best 2lb 10oz.
In the Wear, Ian Ainsley won a Durham police match with 10 fish totalling 223 points, including the longest fish, a flounder of 34cm, ahead of Jason Pool with four fish for 83 points and Mick Dunn with six fish making 63 points. Jordan Hunter won a match at the Glass Centre with eight fish measuring 180cm ahead of Stuart Foots with six for 145cm, best a 34cm flounder.
Norway continues to attract visiting anglers. Allan Skinner skipper of the Sarah JFK 2 out of the Tyne, his son Christopher and crewman Jimmy Cassidy gave the Tyne marks a miss and headed for Soroya hoping for cod that would be way bigger than could be expected from home. The first day out Allan landed a cod of 66lb, the best of the trip, which included many specimens to 40lb. Rough weather cancelled the next few days, then a couple of hours of fishing the next day produced the cod again with Jimmy taking the best at 50lb. Venturing out in rough seas and big swells for the remaining days produced three cod over 50lb, the best of 55lb taken by Christopher who had three cod over 50lb in consecutive drops. Norway certainly produces big fish but conditions are not always perfect. Back at home the Sapphire out of Sunderland has had good numbers of cod to 6lb fishing the inshore heavy ground off the High Drum, with the better trips producing up to 25 bigger cod.