With a good south easterly sea running some shore marks have fished very well for double figure bags of cod, but as always with the sea in this direction you need to be in the right place at the right time as these conditions can be very unproductive for some areas. Generally, the north of the region produces the best results, the Durham beaches can be quiet, and only the Middleton pier and North Gare pier at Hartlepool are usually worth a visit. This year the better numbers of cod seem to have avoided the Teesbay area and the big double figure spawning specimens have yet to arrive. However, they have arrived elsewhere, and it is the rock edge marks south of the Tees and down to Scarborough that have seen the best results with some anglers taking over 60lb bags in pleasure sessions with individual fish approaching the 20lb mark.
The recent Cloughton Open at Whitby is a good indication of what to expect when conditions are right, with seven bags of over 20lb weighed in. Mike Vasey won with 52lb 11oz including the heaviest fish of 16lb 2oz. Paul Garbutt had 32lb 2oz, Dave Bielby 29½lb, Andrew Cass 28lb 2oz, Paul Westmoreland 27lb 1oz, Simon Barker 24lb 3oz, and Pete Dunn 20lb 12oz. Many of the 61 anglers who fished had double figure bags and the top junior Charlie Crowe had 10lb 8oz. The Station open fished the same area for the best heaviest fish and the top 16 anglers all had cod over the 5lb mark with lots of double figure bags weighed in again. Phil Walker had the best cod of 8lb 13oz, Pete Dunn had one of 8lb 10oz, Andrew Cass one of 8¼lb and Steve Hoyle had the heaviest bag with 11 cod weighing 33lb 5oz.
The Newbiggin Bank House Open produced some similarly spectacular results with 19 out of 79 weighing in 64 cod and two coalfish for 156lb 1oz. Gary Appleton fished West Bay to land 11 fish weighing 22lb 15oz, Frank Oldham had seven for a total of 14lb 9oz from Seahouses, and Darran Bell had four for 13lb 7oz at Hauxley. Dave Carss only needed a relative tiddler of 5lb 12oz for the heaviest fish just ahead of Darran Bell with 5lb 11oz and Gary Appleton with 5lb 9oz.
Still north of the Tyne, a recent S.B.R.A.A.C. match also took advantage of a nice S.E. sea with 17 weighing in 25 cod, five whiting, and a lone flounder. Ivan Stott won with three cod totalling 11lb 11oz from Lynemouth, Kev Moffatt had four weighing 8lb 10oz, and Paul Coe had two for 8lb 9oz, best 7lb 6oz. Lots of clubs have had double figure winning bags. A Blyth match saw P. Stewart win with six cod weighing 11lb 7oz, Dave Cruddas had three totalling 10lb 12oz, and S. Brannon had four for 9lb 13oz.
If you don’t fancy a trip in either direction then a good middle ground mark would be Roker pier when conditions allow, which has seen cod to 8lb landed in some double figure bags with black lugworm seemingly the better bait. A Cleadon match fished in very heavy seas saw most of the local Sunderland shore marks unfishable. D. Browne travelled to the shelter of Cullercoats harbour to win with four cod for 13lb 2oz, the best weighing 6lb 14oz, all of the other top weights came from inside Hendon Docks where Gareth Gardner had seven for 12lb 3oz and Tommy Tate a single cod of 5lb 7oz.