Cod have been in short supply lately with just the odd decent fish reported, mainly from the hard ground marks at Roker and South Shields piers, and from various rock edges and other low water marks throughout the region. The river Tyne has many undersize cod present with the occasional bigger fish to 3lb among them. Whiting have also been relatively difficult to find with lots of spent thin specimens showing in daylight hours with the better sport after dark, particularly from the Durham beaches and Hartlepool piers where double figure bags are still possible together with large numbers of dabs, flounders and early plaice.
Plaice are showing very early this year, as are bass and thornback rays. Shaun Golightly took a thornback ray of 4lb 13oz on frozen crab from Seaham North pier. The Durham beaches, Crimdon, and Saltburn pier are all well-known thornback producing marks for those willing to try.
With sizeable whiting scarce in daylight hours, match anglers have been fishing the upriver marks in the Wear and Tyne for flounders. Best baits continue to be worm baits tipped with mackerel, and small bass have also been reported from these upriver marks. South Shields pier seems to have been the best place for a variety of species with cod, whiting, dabs, flounders, plaice, early pollack, and some big coalfish all being taken at various times.
Seaham A.C. saw 66 members fishing the beaches with the pier closed due to heavy seas. Eleven weighed in 11 fish, five cod, four coalfish, a whiting and one bass. Andy Clegg had a single cod of 3.48lb; Dean Furness had one for 2.46lb, and Jim Dobie one of 2.41lb.
The Ryhope Tuesday evening sweepstake saw only three weigh in four flounders while fishing the Wear. Paul Hossack had one of 1lb 9oz to win, Paul Riley took second and fourth place with 1lb 5oz and 14oz, and third place went to Lee Burton with 1¼lb. The Ryhope Sunday match prior to this saw 70 anglers fishing, with flounders once again the main species. Junior angler Jake Smith dominated the seniors by taking two flounders and a bass for a total weight of 1.28kg, Chris Hossack had two flounders for 1.01kg, and Stu Bland also had two weighing 0.97kg. The most recent Ryhope Sunday match saw the juniors on top form with flounders again.
Twelve year old Tony Smith had two nice flounders totalling 1.38kg from the Wear, followed by another twelve year old, Daniel Tate with two for 1.16kg. Third placed Paul Richardson had two for 1.14kg, and the only roundfish weighed in was a coalfish of 0.52kg taken by Chris Hossack. Tony Smith and Paul Craig shared the best flatfish with 0.78kg, both good specimens equal to 1¾lb.
Be careful when digging bait; do not be too keen to dig out big metal objects. A bait digger at a beach in Essex managed to unearth a bomb recently; a bomb disposal team were alerted who then discovered more than 20 further bombs, which were destroyed in controlled explosions. The bait digger allegedly filled his bucket with some very distressed worms.
The European open beach championship is on Friday March 8th to Sunday March 10th at Bridlington. Total prize money is £35,000 with a Peugeot 107 car for the overall winner. Match headquarters is the Sand-le-Mere Holiday Village, Tunstall. Further details Paul Roggeman 01482-391668 or e-mail email@example.com