A little bit of a lift on the sea last week produced some better sized cod, but fish were very few and far between among the large numbers of whiting and dabs which have appeared recently. Alan Scott had a cod of 8lb from Roker pier during one session and then returned midweek to land another of 9lb 14oz. Arran Stead fishing the same venue taking cod of 7lb and 3lb, and Paul Phillipson had one of 6½lb. A couple of early spring thornback rays have also been reported from Roker pier. South Shields pier produced cod of 7½lb and 4lb for James Sanderson. Elsewhere, most venues down to the Durham beaches and Hartlepool have seen mainly whiting, dabs and flounders showing. The better catches of cod once again being taken after dark, often by those anglers who can cast at distance from the beaches.
The last Seaham match saw plenty of whiting and smaller cod weighed in with 21 out of 86 anglers taking 43 fish for a total of 49.88lb. Gary Pye had the best bag with 11 fish for 11.16lb taken from the Blast Ledge. Dave Stoker had three for 4.90lb from Noses Point, and Bob Gascoigne had four for 3.36lb from the North Pier. The heaviest fish prize went to Brian Dobson with a cod of 2.50lb taken at the Spiles.
Settled conditions later in the week saw sport drop off considerably. Only two out of the 28 fishing weighed in fish in a Cleadon match with the ever reliable rock edges at Marsden producing three cod on the night. Richard Landsbury had two totalling 4lb 9oz and Paul Fenwick had one of 2½lb. The river Wear is a popular choice when shore sport is slow as the upper river marks can produce bags of over 20 flounders to worm and mackerel baits, some anglers reporting specimens up to 2lb being taken.
The last Ryhope club match saw 62 fishing with all areas quiet on the day. Keith Carter did well to land two cod for 1.51kg from Hendon while runner-up Gordy Reed had two flounders weighing in at 1.16kg. Wayne Harriman had four whiting and a flounder for 1.04kg to take third spot. Lee Burton had the heaviest roundfish, a cod of 0.90kg from the Targets and the best flounder was a nice specimen of 0.79kg taken by Gordon Russell.
The lower Tyne has seen some reasonable mixed bags landed on some tides with whiting and dabs the main species along with the odd early coalfish. Tony Taylor won a Tynemouth match with three coalfish, three dabs, and one whiting weighing 4¾lb, Tony Anderson had a similar bag totalling 4lb 1oz, and Wilf Reed had the heaviest fish, a coalfish of 1lb 2oz. A South Shields monthly sweepstake saw similar results with nine out of 16 landing fish. S. Dorothy had four for 3lb 13oz ahead of A. Scott whose two fish weighed 3lb 12oz, and included a cod of 3lb 2oz.
North of the Tyne shore sport is patchy with the rock edges around Craster being the most productive for any cod. Nine out of 14 found fish in a Blyth match which saw Mick Hardy win with two cod for a total of 14lb 1oz, including one of 8lb 3oz, well ahead of J. Patterson with 2½lb.
With a little bit of a swell running last weekend a few good bags of cod were taken during the Dave Jobson Memorial Open fished north of the Tyne with 25 out of the 53 finding fish. First prize went to Neil Cutler with seven cod weighing 15lb taken at Craster, Mick Hardy had two for 14lb taken at Howdimont. Tom Whitehead, in third place, targeted the famous Northumberland flounder beaches to land 15 for a total of 11¼lb, and Chris Stringer had two cod totalling 10lb 1oz.
South of the Tees large numbers of whiting are showing from most of the clean ground areas and from the lower Tees estuary. Mick Smith won a St. Mary’s A.C. match with 15 for a bag of 9lb 11oz taken from Skiningrove jetty followed by brother Phil with 10 weighing 6lb 15oz, the best making 1lb 3oz. Brad Morris landed 10 whiting and a dab for a total of 7lb 13oz from Saltburn pier to win a Redcar N&G match where Dan Redling had the heaviest fish, a lone cod of 3lb 1oz.