The large shoals of whiting that have been evident all along the North East coastline since late last year finally seem to be thinning out a little, certainly in the north of the region where club matches are now being won with fewer fish. There are still a lot of them showing from the Durham beaches and Hartlepool piers where double figure bags are still being taken, but here also, they are in much reduced numbers on most daylight tides.
There are some nice fat winter dabs being taken from the clean ground marks, flounders are increasing in numbers and they seem to have seen resurgence in population in recent years, and the odd very early plaice are being reported. Now that the whiting are declining more cod are being reported, particularly when there is a sea running, and the low water marks are starting to produce a few more fish to around the 6lb mark. There is still a good chance of a big double figure cod showing from the Teesbay area, and during a good northerly sea, Middleton pier and North Gare may produce the odd monster or two.
Hartlepool Pirates picked a night when the whiting decided to stay with plenty of specimens to 1½lb landed during the last match. Chris Coxon won this heaviest match with a nice cod of 6lb 10oz. Steve Swales had the heaviest bag with 55 fish for 45½lb, Bill Bradley had 54 weighing 44lb 12oz, Adam Dendrickson had 49 totalling 40¾lb, John Watts had 48 for 39lb 7oz and Paul Shields had 13 for 11lb 5oz.
The Dave Jobson Memorial open on Sunday saw 16 out of 61 land 39 fish for a total of 40lb 10oz. Chris Guthrie had six flounders weighing 5½lb from Blyth, Peter Smith had four for 5¼lb, and Ian Hall had a single cod of 4lb 10oz from Amble. Top junior Craig Lathbury had four flounders totalling 2lb 14oz from Warkworth and Robert Stewart had a single flounder of 9oz.
North of the Tyne small winning bags has been the norm in club matches. Only six out of 13 weighed in during a recent Seaton Sluice match when Scott Davidson won with three fish weighing 3¾lb taken from the Middens in the Tyne. Peter Stewart was just slightly behind with two for 3lb 11oz, including one of 2lb 15oz, taken from Blyth beach.
An S.B.R.A.A.C. match only produced a single weigh in with Phil Smithson winning with a cod of 3lb 5oz taken from Blyth beach in what should have been perfect conditions for cod.
Whitley Bay A.C. fished their last match of the winter league which saw Chris Stringer win with two cod weighing 3lb 6oz from Whitley Pipe ahead of Marty Elliott with a single cod of 1lb 14oz taken from the Old Pipe
A Tynemouth A.C winter league match saw nine out of the 21 anglers find fish. Steve Harper had a single cod weighing 4lb 7oz and a whiting for a 4lb 15oz total from the Pipe End, Chris Potts had two whiting and a cod totalling 3¾lb from the Middend and Steve Potts had four whiting for 3lb 5oz from Blyth.
Cleadon A.C. have a good choice of marks to fish from the Wear to the Tyne and normally have a good weigh in but their last match saw only four out of the 30 weigh in. Mark Shotton only needed two whiting totalling 1lb 10oz to win ahead of Alan Heeley with a single whiting of 14oz taken from Roker.