Settled conditions last week saw the start of the summer mackerel moving inshore with early fish being reported from Roker and Steetley piers taking lures. Later in the season they start to take float fished baits in good numbers. Elsewhere increasing numbers of quality flatfish have been reported, and this has meant that angling clubs are now fishing their summer matches following a very poor start to the season. Quality flounders are evident in all of the regions rivers with the mid river marks in the Wear producing several over the 2lb mark. The clean ground Durham and Northumberland beaches have good numbers of smaller flounders present, but there are also plenty of dabs and the occasional turbot or bonus bass taking ragworm and mackerel baits. The Tyne also has flounders present from the upriver marks and the mid river areas have large numbers of small cod up to the 1lb mark present.
Over on the Cumbria coast flounders are out in force at all of the popular marks at Silloth and Port Carlisle. Ryhope A.C. organised a bus trip for their junior members at Silloth with all forty two anglers picking up quality flounders. Grant Stabler had the best at 40cm, Oliver Redpath and Gary Warwick Jnr. tied on 38cm and Jordan Smith had one of 37cm. Best fish amongst the accompanying adults was one of 45cm taken by Kevin Robinson.
Cod are starting to show around Eyemouth to baits and lures but most are on the small side; around the 2lb mark. There are large numbers of mackerel around the deeper rock edge marks along the Dumfries and Galloway shoreline and plenty of smaller wrasse are taking baits but, having fished here recently, pollack were very scarce.
The last St. Mary’s rover match saw an all flattie weigh in with the top three weights all coming from Steetley pier where Alec Gate had seventeen dabs and a flounder for 6lb 15oz to finish first. Runner-up John Hannan had eleven dabs and one flounder for 5lb 14oz ahead of George Wilson who had eight dabs for 2lb 13oz. Russell Miller had the heaviest fish with a flounder of 1 – 13lb from Whitby harbour. Up at Amble T. Cook won their last match with five flounders for 3lb 6oz with R. Gray in second with a 2½lb bag. A. Gray finished in third with three fish for 2lb 6oz, best weighing 1lb 1oz. The Tynemouth retired members match saw Dave Brown win with a single specimen flounder of 2lb 1oz. The Tynemouth travel match to Eyemouth saw John Chisholm win with a cod of 2lb 7oz while Steve Harper had one for 1lb 9oz and Dave Hayley had one for 1lb 5oz. Steve Bing won a Westoe A.C. Match with two plaice for 1lb 10oz, followed by Kevin Moliker with one plaice of 11oz.
Durham police fished catch and release in the Wear and found some specimen flounder among lots of smaller flounders and coalfish. Guest angler Andy Rutherford won with fifty-seven fish for 635 points, which included a 41cm flounder. Ian Ainsley had thirty-four fish for 340 points to finish second and in third Dave Nevin had twenty-seven fish for 281 points. Bill Huscroft had the longest fish, a fine flounder of 43cm.
Boat angling has also started to improve with fresh mackerel baits picking up some quality ling. The Hartlepool Open Boat sweepstake saw some nice mixed bags of cod, ling, and coalfish landed, and there are reports of a 27lb cod taken by an angler not in the competition which raised £142 for the R.N.L.I. The first prize went to Ivan Bell with a ling of 19½lb taken on Wildcard while Paul Jobling had a ling on the White Dwarf for second place and third place went to John Pattison with a cod of 15lb, also on the White Dwarf.
Walter Turnbull and Paul Conroy fished out of Burnmouth and landed over two hundred cod, mostly small specimens returned plus three pollack and two catfish. The Boys, fishing out of the Tyne kept fifty-seven cod to 6lb, plus lots returned. The N.E.S.A. heaviest fish small boat match out of the Tyne saw Kevin Blyth win with a cod of 6½lb on Wor Lass. Arthur Smeaton had a cod of 5¾lb on Lazy Daze and Bill Baxter had a cod of 5½lb on Shanka. The Jester out of Sunderland fished an inshore wreck taking cod to 11½lb and ling to 5lb. The Python also out of Sunderland saw R. Morrison keep thirty-two fish to 12½lb and J. Palmer landed twenty-three fish to 5lb.