Northern Bites – 04/05/10

by Steve Walker

Shore sport has improved slightly and plenty of flounders now showing from the piers and beaches with some anglers reporting bags of over fifteen fish, though most are still small, nevertheless the chance of a bigger specimen around the 2lb mark makes a session worthwhile as there are also good numbers of dabs and a few plaice to expect.

There are increasing numbers of plaice around the 1lb mark taking ragworm baits from South Shields pier although anglers are plagued with large numbers of small coalfish taking both baits and lures. There are plenty of small fish in the Tyne with the odd bigger coalfish in the lower river, and increasing numbers of sizeable flounders amongst lots of smaller ones upriver of the Tyne Bridge. Durham police had a recent match at the Baltic Quay on the Tyne which produced small flounders and codling. I. Jackson won with three fish for 81 points, including the longest fish with a cod of 31cm, ahead of G. Heckles with three fish for 63 points and M. Anderson with four fish for 52 points.

Although the Wear also has good numbers of smaller fish in the lower estuary the Tyne remains the favoured venue for match anglers and sweepstake events. The last Ryhope club match saw all twenty-eight members find fish at the Copthorne Hotel on the Tyne where Bill Bell won zone A with forty fish for 812cm ahead of Andy Rutherford with nineteen for 609cm, junior Thomas Rutherford with 507cm, and John Lovett with 400cm. Longest fish in this zone was a cod of 34cm taken by Alan Burton. In zone B John Bryan won with 379cm which included a superb flounder of 45cm, well over the 2lb mark. Kevin Robinson had 242cm, Keith Carter had 193cm and Barry Stowells had 186cm.

The Rutherford’s Cono-Flex sweepstake league starts on Saturday June 5th at the Copthorne Hotel in the Tyne; all matches are fished from 7.30pm till 10.30pm and are catch and release. Entry is £10 with a 100% pay out. The remainder of the matches are on Saturday June 19th, Monday July 5th, Monday July 19th, Wednesday August 4th and Wednesday August 18th. Contact Andy on 0191 5654183 for details.

Those who travel to the St. Abbs area during the summer months for the pollack, coalfish, cod, and wrasse fishing should be aware of plans to turn the area into a statutory no take Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ), the area is already a voluntary MCZ. The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) are recommending that all interested parties work together to establish a full no take zone within the existing voluntary area. Further details and where you can make comments can be found at If you fish here regularly you should certainly make yourselves aware of the proposals. This should not affect anglers too much as the extreme difficulty in getting to some of the marks makes returning any fish almost compulsory.

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