A bit of an offshore lift late last week, just before the sea built up, brought about a big improvement in shore sport, in particular if you like lots of whiting. The Hartlepool piers saw huge numbers of quality specimen whiting to 2lb plus being landed two or three at a time. Most of these fish were lovely, fat, well-coloured fish in prime condition, a very welcome catch for most anglers. Both Roker pier and South Shields pier have seen similar results on the whiting front. Both piers have also produced the occasional decent cod; the best reported from Roker was one of 7lb taken by Trevor Green from the pier end with others to 6lb taken from the first steps. South Shields pier has also produced a few small haddock around the 2lb mark. With so many whiting showing, and the influx of dabs appearing on some tides, few cod have had any chance to get to a bait first and the best chance of picking up any cod has often been to fish the low water marks or rock edges where the odd fish to 6lb have been reported. However the heavier seas over the weekend saw better numbers of cod about, mainly in the north of the region, from Roker and South Shields piers when fishable, and from the lower rivers at other times. Dave Cruddass had a cod of 11lb 2oz from Blyth pier with two other double figure specimens reported from the same tide.
Both the rivers Wear and Tyne are also full of whiting, with the odd cod, coalfish and flounders among them in the lower river marks. The upriver marks are all heavily populated with flounders looking for the classic winter bait of ragwom and mackerel, and the move to catch and release matches over recent years is now starting to pay off with flounder numbers now well up after a few years of poor results.
The Tuesday Ryhope Heaviest Fish sweepstake saw Bob Surtees win with a whiting of 1lb 3oz followed by John Lovett with one of 1lb 1oz. The Ryhope club match on Sunday saw 72 fishing and Tommy Tate won with two whiting and two flounders for a total of 1.58kg ahead of Abigail Redpath also with two whiting and two flounders weighing 1.35kg. Ken Hailey and Steve Moore tied on 1.33kg, Craig Smiles had the best flatfish at 0.76kg, Dave Mould had a cod of 0.98kg to lift the heaviest fish prize, and top junior Jake Smith had 1.21kg. Next match is on Sunday February 10th with fishing from 1pm until 5pm.
Seaham A.C. had a good weigh-in for their Dawes Trophy match with 41 out of 58 landing 440 fish, mainly whiting, totalling 446lb. Paul Westmoreland won with 35 fish weighing 32.8lb just ahead of R. Clark whose 34 fish weighed 29.1lb and D. Davison with 29 for a total of 26.6lb. M. Tate managed to find a nice cod of 7.46lb for the heaviest fish prize.
Last Sunday saw the 18th Dave Jobson memorial match when12 out of 69 weighed-in but the top weights were all decent bags of cod. First place went to Paul Hossack with eight cod totalling 23lb 2oz. Runner-up Rob O’Hagan had two for 15lb 12oz, including the heaviest fish of 8lb 2oz, Ritchie Carr finished third with 14lb 10oz. Forth placed Chris Stringer had five weighing 14lb 1oz, and M. Rich had two for a total of 12lb 2oz.
A slight break in the weather saw a few boats out, fishing just off from Marsden where the Sapphire took 22 cod to 5lb. The Topline fishing the same area saw 14 cod fall to uptide tactics with the best a good 20lb specimen taken by Jeff Ayres. Another trip out for the Topline saw cod up to 9lb landed.
Sunday February 10th sees the John Wylie Open organised by Seaham A.C., with fishing from 12 noon until 5pm between Hendon Groyne (excluded) and Saddleback Rock at Hawthorne Hive. Seaham North pier will have 100 pegs available weather permitting. Register from 10am until 1.30am at Seaham clubhouse. First prize is for the heaviest fish is dependant upon entry that is £10 for all classes plus optional team, heaviest bag, and sealed weight pools. Further details 0191 5810321