Shore sport was poor as expected over the holiday period with few anglers catching anything other than the odd flounder from the beaches. The rivers are producing flounders and the occasional small codling and coalfish. The reason remains the same, in that sandeel and sprat shoals are still offshore and everything is feeding on them. Some club matches are still producing blanks and most of the recent open matches didn’t produce any cod at all. Even boat anglers have been suffering from cod free trips but the best fish reported for a long time was taken by Tim Anslow fishing in his kayak just off from St. Mary’s Island where he landed a cod of 13¾lb on a squid baited Hokkai lure. Joe Clarke and son Tony had a recent session in the Wear landing 10 coalfish and four flounders all taken on rag and mussel, all around the 20cm to 30cm mark. Tony reports it was a good session on light gear, and with sport at a low this is about as much as anyone can hope for.
The Seaham Boxing Day Open was an exception with 10 weighing in 14 flounders, one whiting and a single cod. First placed Dean Ambler took the cod from the North Pier and at 2.24lb was the heaviest fish. George Callahan was second with a flounder of 1.16lb; Paul Westmoreland had one of 1.01lb. Dean Ambler and John Barrass won the team event with Dean’s cod while second placed Paul Bunce and Colin Ramshaw had three fish for 2.09lb.
The Easington Colliery Rovers Open saw Andrew Parkin take the £500 prize for the heaviest fish with a 14oz flounder. Jim Dobie had the heaviest bag weighing in three fish at 1lb 15oz and runner-up Paul Golightly had two for 12oz. Top junior was P. Robinson with 8oz. Only seven out of 99 weighed in.
An Eastenders sweepstake saw nine anglers weigh in 19 flounders from the Wear. Richie Greenhalgh won with one of 1¼lb ahead of George Allison who weighed in a fish of 1lb 2oz. Richie Greenhalgh also took third place with a fish of exactly 1lb. Their Christmas Eve match saw eight weigh in 20 flounders over the 25cm mark. George Allison landed five measuring a total of 147cm to take top spot and was followed by Darren Welsh with five for 145cm and Lee Burton with three for 94cm. Steve Rackstraw and Lee Burton tied for the longest fish at 35cm.
The Anglers United sweepstake fished at Lynemouth did manage to produce a cod and also raised £261 for the R.N.L.I. Only two out of 29 weighed in; Phil Tworkowski taking the lone cod which weighed 3lb 6oz and Bill Murray had the only other fish, a flounder of 9oz.
In other matches Steve Elliott managed two cod weighing 3lb 3oz taken from the Tyne in the South Shields Christmas match, Gary Tulley had three cod for 6lb 3oz to win a Newbiggin match, John Jennings only needed a single cod of 1lb 10oz from Church Point to win a Newbiggin sweepstake and Nigel Howitt won a Blyth match with a single cod of 1lb 11oz from Boulmer.
A nice “festive cheer” story now to make up for the poor fishing: Bob Coates, fishing at Hartlepool, lost his expensive rod and reel combo to a passing gull which having flown into his line dragged his gear out to sea. A quick phone call to the Friarage Tackle shop resulted in a few lads in a boat heading out to sea where Bobs Gear was last seen, where they amazingly found the rod and reel floating in the water, the grip lead having snagged the bottom preventing everything from being lost. Everything was still in working order with just a few scratches to show.
The 34th Amble Open is on Sunday January 9th fishing from 10am till 2pm between Seahouses South pier to Lynemouth Pipe, excluding all piers and rivers. Basic entry is £12 which includes the heaviest fish sweep. Top prizes for the heaviest bags are £600, £300 and £150 and the captors of the first three heaviest fish will receive £300, £200 and £100. The top three heaviest flatfish receive £150, £100 and £50 while the top three ladies will receive £50, £30 and £20 with the same monies going to the top three juniors. There is a supporting prize table of £4000. Register at the Radcliffe Club, Amble from 7.30am weigh in from 2pm till 3pm prompt. No wrasse or eels are allowed and the size limit for flounders is 27cm. Bait can be ordered from the Amble Angling Centre, contact Norma on 01665 711200. Details Jim French 01665 711007
Sunday January 16th is the County Durham Open Sea Angling Championship fishing from 11am till 4pm. Basic entry is £15. The first prize is £2000 with a total of £5500 up for grabs. There are also ladies, junior and disabled prizes. Register at Seaham Leisure Centre on the day from 9am till 12 noon. You can pre register at the following tackle shops as of now. Friarage Tackle Hartlepool (01429 273145). Coast Road Fishing Tackle Horden (0191-5180742). North East Tackle Hartlepool (01429 272581). North East Tackle Seaham (0191 5817915). North East Tackle Ryhope (0191 5103573). Rutherfords Sunderland (0191 5654183). For more information contact the Sports Development Team on 0191 5270501
Sunday January 23rd sees the Barry Tweddle Memorial match fished from 9.30am till 1.30pm between Tynemouth pier to Amble pier. Basic entry is £10 plus the usual pools. Juniors are free but must be accompanied by a paying adult. First prize is £1000 for the heaviest bag and £500 for the heaviest fish, plus a full supporting prize table including a one week fishing trip to Iceland. Register at the Bank House Club Newbiggin from 7.30am; weigh in same venue until 3pm. Tickets are also available from selected tackle shops. Contact Mick Bell 07974 369897