Sport was a bit a bit slow during the early part of last week, even with a swell running cod were few and far between for the shore angler. Commercial boats report lots of cod offshore from the rock edges in the Teesbay area and private boats out of Hartlepool had fish up to 7lb a few hundred metres off the promenade on Monday.
There were a few better fish around although the big double figure spawning specimens that normally show around January and February have yet to make an appearance. Craig Falcus had cod of 9lb and 4lb from Hauxley and Seaham north pier has produced fish to 11lb. Most of the piers produced cod to 4lb on some tides and both the rivers Wear and Tyne have smaller specimens present. Easterly gales over the weekend produced the heaviest seas of the winter so far and easterlies usually produce the better cod fishing, being much rougher than direct northerlies. The sheltered marks all produced cod and whiting with the inner piers at Hartlepool, Rathouse Corner in the Wear, the first Gate on South Shields pier and the Tyne walkway all producing cod to 6lb, but al these venues tend to be crowded. If there are no fish after this sea dies down then there never will be.
Bait will almost certainly be washed out by the heavy surf and those with local knowledge should be able to collect large quantities of razor clam.
The Easington Open on Sunday was a little disappointing with few big cod showing. First prize for the heaviest fish went to Chris Hossack with a cod of 3lb 2oz taken from the Green Wall at Seaham, Gary Blanchard had the heaviest bag with 3lb 3oz followed by Gary Pye 2lb 15oz and top junior was Brandon Peel with 12oz.
The Blackhall Open the next day saw slightly better results but cod were still not within reach of most of the anglers. One hundred and eighty seniors and fifteen juniors fished with forty-five weighing in seventy fish. R. Stevenson won the top prize of £500 for the heaviest fish with a cod of 5¾lb from Horden; he also had the second heaviest bag with a 6lb 5oz total. Steve Moyle had the second heaviest fish with a cod of 4¼lb, and also had the heaviest bag with a 6lb 12oz total. Pat Ede had the third heaviest fish with a cod of 4lb 2oz.
North of the Tyne the South Meadowell Open only saw six weigh in. Colin Hutton was top rod with a single cod of 2lb 6oz from Lynemouth, runner-up Brad Hill had a single whiting of 1½lb and W. Crawley had a single fish of 1lb1oz for third place.
The best open result was at the CD Tackle Open where Barry Tweddle had a nice bag of cod which included the heaviest fish of 7lb, the second heaviest fish of 3lb and weighed-in the heaviest bag at 14lb 10oz. Darren Bell had the second heaviest bag with four fish for 4lb 6oz, followed by Willie Emery with 3lb 8oz.
Up at Amble S. Punton won a recent match with two cod for 8lb 9oz, best 7lb 6oz, followed by I. Harrogate with four fish for 4lb 14oz.
Cleadon A.C. fished last week with eight out of thirty landing fish. Mark Weigman landed a single cod of 3lb 15oz for the heaviest bag and the heaviest fish from Marsden. Paul Wastell had a bag of cod and coalfish from the Tyne for 3lb 14oz and Gav Hall had a similar bag of 3lb 3oz.
S.B.R.A.A.C. saw seven out of fifteen weigh in ten fish. First place went to Steve Alexander who had two cod and one coalfish for 3¾lb, including the heaviest fish of 1lb 12oz. John Chisholm had a cod and a coalie for 2lb 6lb in second place and Bob Wilson finished third with a single cod of 1lb 11oz.
The last Tynemouth Winter League match saw only three out of twenty find fish. Dave Hayley had three coalfish and a cod for 5lb 10oz from Slatey Gut to take top spot. Alan Norman in second had two cod for 2lb 15oz from Little Bay and third placed John Fielding had a flounder of 1lb 1oz from Cullercoats.
Seaton Sluice saw four out of ten weigh in with winner Barry Tweddle landing two cod for 4.50lb. Second placed Steve Todd had a single cod for 3.10lb and Andrew Stanford had a single cod for 2.50lb to take third.