Mackerel continue to be reported by anglers lure fishing from the Region’s piers with a few specimens each tide reported from Steetley, Roker, South Shields and Blyth piers. A bit of a northerly sea at the time of writing will quickly push these early fish offshore again where boats report most of the mackerel shoals are around the two mile range. Lure fishing has also accounted for large numbers of small coalfish, with the occasional sizeable ones and pollack also showing among them, particularly from Roker and South Shields piers. In clean water conditions lures and float fished baits have also taken good numbers of smaller coalfish, pollack, and a surprising number of red kelp cod from the rock edges north of the Tyne, with the marks around Dunstanburgh Castle, Eyemouth and St. Abbs areas being favoured.
Most clubs are now well into their summer league matches with the predictable flounders being the main species to target from the beaches. From other venues smaller coalfish, cod and specimen sized flounder will form the bulk of the catches. The river Aln is an increasingly popular venue and a bit more scenic than fishing the Wear or Tyne and if unproductive it is easy enough to move onto the local beaches at Warkworth or Embleton where there is the chance of turbot and plaice among the flounders. N.R.S.A.C. had a match on the Aln with winner Alan James landing nine flounders for 255cm, Albert Brown had eight for 208cm, and Andrew James had four for 116cm.
Bob Surtees and several friends had a trip over to Port Carlisle where they all landed bags of twenty plus fish each up to the 43cm mark. The last Ryhope club match also saw some nice flounders showing at the Copthorne Hotel on the Tyne where all twenty nine anglers enjoyed some fine sport. Bill Bell won zone A with twenty-three for 566cm, John Surtees in second had seventeen for 436cm, John Bryan had 316cm, Paul Richardson had 246cm, and the longest fish was taken by Bob Bland, a flounder of 41cm. In Zone B junior Tamzin Kenfield was the best with eleven for 191cm, Alan Burton had ten for 173cm, including the longest fish with a cod of 30cm, Keith Carter had six for 149cm, and Paul Craig had five for 104cm.
Boat activity is also increasing with some bigger cod and ling reported, and generally better results all round when conditions are suitable to get out. The Sarah JFK out of the Tyne saw Steve Drury take a cod of 23lb, Simon Allen a ling of 20lb and Jimmy Cassidy a ling of 17½lb. Bob George on the Dunlin thought he had hooked a massive cod when he struggled to control whatever had taken his bait, when the unseen fish continued to fight it was obviously not going to be a cod, possibly a big coalfish or pollack perhaps, but few would have guessed it to be the second biggest rod caught halibut taken from the area at 19lb. Kenny, Bert and Kyle Gray along with Paul Gavrock, Graham Slesser, and Keith Brown had a mad two hour early morning trip out of the Tyne taking cod three at a time between the 3lb and 6lb mark, keeping fifty-seven cod over the 3lb mark everything else was returned. Tony Evans and fishing friends out of Blyth had a similar experience taking cod to 8lb and ling to 7lb, keeping a dozen fish each they returned many fish up to the 7lb mark. Ivan Stott and father Ken fishing off Newbiggin also found the fish, taking thirty-four cod to 7lb with many returned. Ray Morrison and J. Palmer on the Python out of Sunderland took over fifty fish in two hours including cod to 12½lb and ling to 7lb. Chris Smith and Terry Cleary on the Jester out of Sunderland had cod and ling to 11½lb. As reported last week the best fish so far this summer was a cod of 27lb taken on the Maximus out of Hartlepool by a then unknown angler who can now be named as Brian Holligon. As there now seems to be good numbers of quality fish present this year there is plenty of time for a thirty pounder to beat this one.
New laws regarding fish catches come into effect from June 1st this year, mostly regarding freshwater fish, however, for sea anglers it is now illegal to remove any shad or eels from estuary or coastal waters under any circumstances, most anglers should be aware of the protected status of shad which are often caught when fishing for mackerel and are mostly returned. As for eels, this means that any caught must be measured or weighed then immediately released, and none must be weighed as dead after any match or taken home for the pot. This is part of the ongoing efforts of the Environment Agency to promote catch and release. For a full explanation visit the Environment Agency website.