While there is still a chance of a late mackerel from the Region's piers, particularly at Hartlepool where they often hang around until mid October, most anglers will be looking forward to the coming winter cod season with some optimism. Some huge bags of early autumn fish have already been taken in the north and south of the region, and some lucky anglers have already exceeded the “fifty cod winter challenge” before the end of September. Generally, the Durham beach marks and the Hartlepool and Teesbay areas usually have to wait until late October and into early November before the better bags of cod are taken but prospects look to be the best for many years. For the best chance of a bigger cod you will need to travel north of the Tyne or down to the rock edges at Boulby and further South. However, all of those cod that were available for boat anglers just offshore from the hard ground marks around Roker are starting to move inshore with cod to 4lb reported from the various marks between Roker and South Shields.
North of the Tyne the recent Seaton Sluice open fished in relatively settled conditions had a great weigh in with 113 out of 277 returning 260 fish to the scales for a total of 565lb. First prize for the heaviest round fish went to Mick Rain with a cod of 7lb 10lb, runner up Ian Greenacre had one of 6½lb. N. Ruane had the best flatfish of 14oz, and top junior Aaron Sinclair had a bag of 5lb 1oz. The top ten heaviest bags were all into double figures topped by Ian Greenacre with 23lb 10oz. Ritchie Carr had 17lb 10oz, Phil Gee had 16½lb, Dave Delaney 15lb 7oz, and Paul Sample had 15lb 5oz. Many anglers had single cod around the 4lb mark.
Down at Scarborough the rock edges, along the Yorkshire coast and up to Cleveland have got off to an almost unbelievable start with anglers taking bags of cod over the 40lb mark. The Scarborough Festival fished over a full week saw the first all cod match produce a winning bag of 41¾lb for Mark Thomas followed by Matthew Hillaby with 33lb 11oz, Steve L'anson with 32lb 14oz, and Paul Medd with 28lb 11oz. The cod only boat match fished the same day only produced a winning bag of 22lb 12oz for Marion Adamson. The next cod only match, the Yorkshire Cod Open, saw Martin Dixon win with 22½lb, Andy Crowe had 21lb 1oz, and Mark Thomas had 17lb 7oz. This time the equivalent boat match bettered the shore anglers with a winning bag of 52½lb for Mark Beaumont.
The Bedlington Station Open is on Sunday October 6th with fishing from 9am until 1pm between Tynemouth pier to Craster South pier (both piers excluded). Blyth pier is included on 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 prize list depends 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.
The Bedlington Station Mini-Night-Time Open is on Friday October 18th with fishing from 7pm until 11pm between Tynemouth pier and Amble pier. Basic entry is £10 with full payout. First prize for the heaviest bag is a guaranteed £250, £100 for the heaviest fish, and 20 prizes on the table. Register at the General Havelock, East Sleekburn.
The Seaham David Guy Memorial Open is on Sunday October 20th with fishing from 12 pm until 5pm fishing between Hendon Groyne and Dene Holme at Horden. Seaham North pier will have 100 pegs available weather permitting. Basic entry is £10 all classes plus additional team events, sweepstakes, and sealed weight draws. First prize is £1000 for the heaviest fish, one prize per angler only. There are junior, ladies, and disabled prizes plus a full supporting prize table. Tickets are available in advance from Rutherford’s Angling and North East Tackle. Register on the day at Seaham clubhouse from 10am until 1pm. Tel: 0191 5810321 for details.