Last week saw the first heavy seas of the winter season arrive and those anglers in the right place at the right time, and who managed to avoid the masses of washed out summer weed growth, were rewarded with some nice bags of cod from the sheltered pier marks. Best results came when the sea was at its heaviest on the piers, and then from the beaches and low water when the sea dropped away. Unconfirmed reports suggest that two big double figure cod were taken from Seaham North pier late last week. Elsewhere several cod around the 9lb to 10lb mark have been reported from many of the Region’s piers, with Middleton pier, Roker pier, and South Shields pier all producing fish approaching double figures as part of individual bags up to 20lb. A very productive start to the coming season, which hopefully will not be as short as recent years which generally have seen the bigger catches decline considerable around early December as the huge shoals of whiting take over. Smaller, but still sizeable cod and coalfish are showing in greater numbers from Roker pier northwards to South Shields pier and also in the lower Tyne where fresh crab baits have produced double figure bags on some tides.
Hartlepool W.C.S.A.C. saw mixed bags of dabs and whiting weighed in during their last match when Paul Blair made it three wins in a row with 3lb 1oz. Runner-up Andy Boagey had 1lb 6oz and Ian Found weighed in 7oz.
A recent Ryhope Tuesday evening sweepstake in the Wear saw all 21 anglers find fish; Ritchie Carr won with a flounder of 1lb 6oz, Jim Dobie had one of 1lb 2oz and John Blayney had a coalie of 1lb 1oz.
The Ryhope club match fished in the Tyne last Sunday saw all 24 anglers submitting returns. Steve Harriman won zone A with 15 fish measuring 375cm, including a 36cm whiting, Lee Burton had 14 for 344cm, Alan Burton had 10 totalling 266cm, and Alan March had 10 for 259cm. In zone B Tommy Tate had 13 for a total length of 339cm, John Blayney had 13 measuring 329cm, Bob Surtees had 12 for 303cm, Mason Burton and Chris Hossack tied on 261cm and Chris had the longest fish with a flounder of 36cm. Top junior was Daniel Tate who had a total length of 159cm.
Tynemouth A.C. fished last Sunday just before the sea built up and again encountered mixed bags of mainly whiting and coalfish in the lower Tyne with 14 out of 30 finding fish. Glen Campbell won with eight whiting and a rare shore caught haddock for a 5lb 5oz total. Second place went to Gary Appleton who had 11 whiting weighing 4lb 11oz, and Dave Hayley had six whiting and a coalfish totalling 3lb 15oz. Ivan Stott lifted the heaviest fish prize with a 1½lb late season plaice.
S.B.R.A.A.C. also fished just before the heavy seas, and flounders dominated their weigh in. Iain Galbraith had seven flounders, the best weighing 1lb 14oz, totalling 7lb 14oz from Blyth to win the event. Phil Smithson finished second with four for 4lb 2oz from the same venue, and Gary Wilson had six whiting and a coalie for a total of 3lb 15oz, taken from the Ice House in the Tyne.
Cleadon A.C. fishing the Tyne and rock edges down to Roker found smaller codling and coalfish showing during their last match. Paul Fenwick had two cod, including one of 3lb 3oz, for 5¼lb taken from Camel Island, Alan Heeley had two cod weighing 2lb 6oz from the Tyne, and Neil Cutler had a single cod of 1lb 10oz from South Shields pier.
Some boats have managed to get out recently and have picked up some double figure cod and ling. David Jefferson on the Wandering Star out of Hartlepool had a fine ling of 19½lb. The Sapphire out of Sunderland continues to find pollack on the inshore ground marks as well as ling to 15lb and cod to 10lb.