Shore sport over the first week of 2011 proved to be better than expected, the sandeel shoals that have kept the fish offshore have started to break up and cod are starting to move back inshore again, albeit in limited numbers. Some tides have started to produce reasonable numbers of quality whiting from the Teesbay area and Durham beaches. The big tides of late have certainly helped and most marks have produced at least a few cod over high water. Bob Coates put plenty of effort into fishing the Hartlepool piers and had cod up to 6½lb, including several around the 4lb mark, mainly fishing the late evening tides.
Elsewhere small cod are starting to show from the Durham beaches, Seaham, Roker and South Shields piers, and small cod are still evident in the rivers Wear and Tyne. Some better sized fish are starting to show again north of the Tyne but it is the humble flounder that is dominating most club match results. Adam Task fished at Craster and was pleased to land his personal best cod of 4.6lb, this record as his heaviest fish did not last long however as after a struggle hauling a fish through the kelp beds he landed a rare and new N.E. shore caught record ling of 9lb. His fishing partners Gary Williamson, Colin Green and Mick Cave also had cod from 2 to 5lb. Darren Shields had the best bag reported for a long time; winning a Bedlington Station match with six cod weighing a total of 17lb 13oz, the best of which made 7lb 6oz. Ronnie Forrest had five for 11lb 3oz during a session at Lynemouth.
The Eastenders sweepstake saw 11 out of 17 land 17 flounders and two cod. Chris Hossack fished Roker pier to land the two cod weighing 3lb 1oz and 1¾lb which took the top two places. Joe Gibson was third with a flounder of 1lb 1oz from the Glass Centre while Phil Wright and Bob Gascoigne tied for fourth place on 15oz.
The Easington Welfare open fished along the Durham beaches saw a poor weigh-in as expected with only seven out of 111 landing anything of size; however the top three weights were all cod. Chris Stringer took the £500 first prize with one of 2.07kg from Horden, Dean Ambler had one of 1.13kg and Tom Basley had one of 1.08kg. Out with the competition Ian Hall had two for 12lb from Longhoughton
The first match of the year for Amble A.C. produced a few nice cod, winner C. Middlemist had three for 8¼lb to finish first ahead of G. Bell whose single specimen weighed in at 8lb 1oz. Third placed C. Taylor had two weighing 5lb 7oz. Prospects looked good for the Amble open the following weekend, but on the day the cod were in short supply with just 14 weighed in. 451 fished with 89 weighing in 230 fish, mainly flounders, for 243lb 7oz. Stephen Atkinson managed to land two cod for 8lb 13oz from Dunstanburgh Castle to win ahead of Matthew Holdroyd who targeted the flatties and landed eight flounders at 7lb 9oz. Third placed Anthony Whellans also took the flounder route to land nine weighing 7lb 7oz. Craig Ogilvie took the heaviest fish prize with a cod of 7¼lb from Fluke Hole. Runner-up Stephen Atkinson had the second heaviest of 5lb 5oz and C. France had one of 5¼lb to take third. D. Ferry had the heaviest flatfish of 1lb 14oz one ounce ahead of second placed Martin Pygall. Dave Bullock took third spot with a fish of 1lb 10oz. Top lady was Norma Urwin with 4lb 4oz, in second Elaine Scott weighed in 3lb 15oz followed by Pauline Ferry on 1lb 9oz. Best junior Ross Taylor put some of the adults to shame with a bag weighing 7lb 1oz. Jack Punton took second junior place with 2lb 5oz and Lliam Smith finished third with 2lb 4oz.
Sunday January 16th is the County Durham Open Sea Angling Championship with fishing from 11am until 4pm. Basic entry is £15. The first prize is £2000 with a total of £5500 to win. There are also ladies, junior and disabled prizes. Register at Seaham Leisure Centre on the day from 9am till 12 noon. You can pre-register at the following tackle shops as of now. Friarage Tackle Hartlepool (01429 273145), Coast Road Fishing Tackle Horden (0191-5180742), North East Tackle Hartlepool (01429 272581), North East Tackle Seaham (0191 5817915), North East Tackle Ryhope (0191 5103573) and Rutherfords Sunderland (0191 5654183). For more information contact the Sports Development Team on 0191 5270501
Sunday January 23rd sees the Barry Tweddle Memorial match fished from 9.30am till 1.30pm between Tynemouth pier to Amble pier. Basic entry is £10 plus the usual pools. Juniors are free but must be accompanied by a paying adult. First prize is £1000 for the heaviest bag, and £500 for the heaviest fish, plus a full supporting prize table including a one week fishing trip to Iceland. Register at the Bank House Club Newbiggin from 7.30am, weigh in same venue until 3pm. Tickets are also available from selected tackle shops. Contact Mick Bell 07974 369897