Shore sport is now very quiet with any cod only showing occasionally on a night time tide from the rock edge marks. Bigger cod can of course turn up at any time, Peter Moir had one of 7lb from Rathouse Corner and Jimmy Nicholson had one of 7½lb from Cullernose Point. Apart from these notable exceptions daylight catches are mainly the inevitable whiting, dabs, and increasing numbers of spring flounders. The best sport, and for the chance of catching anything over the 1lb mark has been to fish the upper Wear where flounders to 2lb have been taking lugworm or ragworm tipped with mackerel. Similarly, in the upper Tyne, where the same baits will usually find the smaller specimens but where there is still the chance of a bigger specimen. The mid-river Tyne marks have a lot of small codling and flounders present, and the lower Tyne, together with the piers at South Shields and Roker have all seen coalfish starting to show. Plaice should make an appearance shortly and thornback rays are now taken regularly every year. Jimmy Richardson had a very early thornback ray of 8lb taken from Seaham North pier during a recent pleasure session, the fish took a sandeel bait.
A lot of clubs are now near the end of their winter season. Cleadon A.C. fished their last winter match and results where typical of what to expect lately with only four out of 26 finding anything of size. Mark Shotton had two cod for a total of 5lb 9oz from the lower Tyne, Terry Wood had one of 4½lb from Whitburn, and Neil Cutler had two whiting totalling 1½lb from Roker pier.
It is a long journey to the Arbroath region but is worth it if you hook into one of the anticipated double figure cod that the area is noted for. Whitley Bay anglers Steve Foster and Steve Harper fished a sweepstake match here taking cod up to 5lb from the start, Steve Foster eventually landed one of 15lb, then Steve Harper just beat him with one of 15lb 2oz.
This coming weekend sees the European Beach Championship fished along the East Yorkshire coast. The event starts on the Friday evening with a flatfish only match before two full matches on the Saturday and Sunday. Full and concise details can be found at www.eyevents.co.uk