Shore sport remains quiet and boat angling has also dropped off a little despite the recent good catches promising a good early start to the summer season. The Sapphire fishing the normally productive ground just off from Sunderland has only taken the odd cod to 5lb, and private boats fishing anywhere between St. Marys island in the North to the ground off Seaham have only taken three or four fish per trip.
For the shore angler the upper rivers have been popular for flounders with the odd bigger specimens to 2lb always a possibility to worm and mackerel baits. The mid-Tyne marks have lots of small coalfish and codling taking worm baits with the odd better specimens to 2lb being taken on fresh or frozen crab. Roker and South Shields piers have been the more consistent shore marks to head for with most tides producing at least a few flounders, with dabs, plaice, coalfish, small cod and whiting showing on the better days. A recent South Shields monthly sweepstake match saw no size fish weighed in with a lot of undersize flounders taken in the lower river and from the pier. Ryan Thompson took a flounder of 1lb 1oz at Hebburn Marina to win a recent Alberta S.A.C. match and Garry Appleton won a Seaton Sluice catch and release match on Tynemouth pier with 14 smaller fish for a total length of 401cm. A Tynemouth A.C. retired members match on the pier also saw lots of smaller fish evident with only three size fish landed, the best a dab of 11oz taken by Stuart Ford and a whiting of the same weight taken by Dave Scrimageur. The clean ground beaches North of the Tyne are starting to produce a few turbot, and two cuckoo rays have been reported landed at Cresswell beach.
Good numbers of dogfish are around the Durham beaches lately, with mackerel baits producing the fish on a night time tide, thornback rays should also be expected but none have been reported this week. Dean Furness won a Seaham heaviest fish Badger Open with a doggie of 2.34lb after losing a big thornback ray on the lift. Ritchie Graham had a dogfish of 2.24lb, and Gary Pye had one of 2.17lb.
The last Seaham A.C. match saw 60 fishing for the Hudson Trophy with 18 weighing in 24 fish for a total of 25.31lb. Mick Davison won with three fish from the Green Wall for 4.26lb, Dean Ambler had three totalling 2.82lb from the Blast Ledge, and David Alderson had a single cod and the heaviest fish of 2.12lb taken from Noses Point.
The last Ryhope Tuesday Evening Sweepstake actually produced 12 cod on the night, all from local rock edge marks. Paul Hossack had the best at 4lb 3oz, followed by Mick Davison with 3lb 3oz, and Micky Rich with 2lb 5oz.
South of the Tees shore sport is very quiet with flounders and rockling the main species to expect. Dale Miller managed a surprise cod of 3½lb, plus two rockling for a total of 3lb 14oz to win the St. Mary's match at Cowbar Jetty ahead of Darren Lister whose nine rockling weighed 2½lb and Andy Burton with two flounders and six rockling for 2lb. One cod, three flounders and 29 rockling were caught by 10 out of 16 who weighed in.
The Seaham Good Friday Open on April 18th will be fished from 12 noon until 5pm between Hendon Groyne (excluded) to Saddleback Rock at Hawthorne Hive. The North pier will have 100 pegs available weather permitting. Hawthorn Point and the cliffs above will be out of bounds. Basic entry is £10 plus pools and team event. Top prizes are for the heaviest fish with payout depending on entry. Register from 10am until 11.30am at Seaham H.Q. Contact 0191 5810321 for details.