Shore angling is still on the quiet side with sizeable fish finding it difficult to reach the baits before the hordes of smaller ones pounce on most outings. The local beaches have generally failed to produce anything of note with just the odd flounder, dabs, whiting, coalfish and a bonus bass to falling to those prepared to give it a try. An easterly sea over the weekend was heavy enough to wash a lot of weed out onto the beaches. However it also brought a few smaller cod inshore with ragworm and crab baits picking up fish from marks around Hartlepool and along the Durham beaches to Seaham. The rivers are still the best bet for a bit of sport with big flounders in both the Wear and Tyne, codling in the Tyne, and some decent coalies among lots of their junior brethern in the Wear. Hartlepool Pirates fished their last Winter League match last week with the top two weights coming from the Wear where Steve Swales took the heaviest fish prize with a flounder of 1lb 13oz and Bill Bradley the heaviest bag with two flounders weighing 1lb 9oz. Their Summer League starts on Saturday May 14th fishing a pegged match from 10am till 3pm. Meet at the Hartlepool Marina registration point from 8.30am. Next meeting is on May 26th at the Stranton Social Club at 7.30pm. New members always welcome.
The Eastenders Sweepstake on Wednesday evening saw all 16 anglers land cod, coalfish, flounders, and blennies when fishing in the Wear at Panns Bank. Chris Hossack was best on the night taking 12 measuring a total of 264cm, followed by Tommy Tate with eight at 188cm and Jim Dobie with seven for 173cm.
The first Ryhope Summer League match was fished at the Copthorne Hotel on the Tyne on Sunday and all 30 anglers landed flounders. Bob Bland won zone A with seven measuring 207cm, followed by Steve Grahame with seven for 196cm, Derek Ross with six measuring 171cm, and Paul Craig had four for 102cm. Longest fish in this zone was a surprise cod of 45cm, around 2½lb, taken by Mason Burton. In zone B Bob Surtees had 11 fish measuring 218cm to finish top followed by Bill Bell with eight for 125cm. Third placed Lee Burton had six for 123cm, and Dave Raymond finished fourth with six measuring 119cm, including the longest fish at 37cm.
In Northumberland the river Aln is also a favoured flounder hotspot and it was here that Jason French had 13 flats weighing 6lb 11oz to win a recent Amble match. Junior angler Shannon Grey took the heaviest fish of 1lb 8oz.
Plenty of flounder action is to be found over on the west Cumbrian coast where visiting anglers are taking bags of over twenty fish during pleasure sessions. Micky Quayle had a long weekend at Port Carlisle fishing Saturday and Sunday taking over 20 fish each day with the best measuring 45cm. Seaton Sluice A.C. travelled over to Port Carlisle for a flounder match which was won by Martin Pygall with 21lb 9oz, total length 933cm. Scott Davison fish measuring 42cm was the best of the individual fish.
Cod are showing over the inshore ground for small boat anglers with the hard ground out from Sunderland and Seaham being particularly productive. Dean and Mark Redding out on their boat Kaya out of Sunderland landed 14 cod between 4lb and 9lb in addition to a cracking fish of 18lb 3oz. Chris Smith and Terry Clearly also took a run out of Sunderland in their boat Jester had 19 cod and one ling for a total weight of 83lb. Graham and Michael Walton landed cod to 5lb during a recent trip but the best part of their day was when a pod of Minke whales surfaced alongside staying close to their boat for several minutes.
Boat anglers out of Amble have also been doing well, taking individual bags of up to 15 larger sized fish with lots of small ones returned. Steve Toller on the Warlord had cod to 6½lb while skipper Jeff Davison had cod of 6lb and 5lb 7oz, and Melvin Green had fish to 5lb 14oz. The Upholder also out of Amble has had similar results with one party taking 74 fish to 6lb. Norman White on his boat Slinky Kate out of the Tyne bagged 23 cod to 8lb together with two ling, again returning many smaller ones.
With the summer season approaching and mackerel hopefully not far away, the Environment Agency would like to hear from any angler who catches any shad or smelt, which are often taken whilst mackerel fishing, both are protected species. Contact Robbie Stephenson on Tel. 01912034266 or E.mail. firstname.lastname@example.org