Shore angling has been quiet lately with few club matches being held, most clubs are now waiting until the end of May for their summer season to start. The rivers continue to be popular for pleasure anglers with lots of smaller fish falling to light tackle methods using either fresh crab or worm and mackerel baits. Little has changed with a chance of a bigger flounder fishing well upriver in the Tyne or Wear, there are lots of smaller cod in the mid Tyne and lots of smaller coalfish in the lower Wear. Those using fresh crab in the lower rivers have picked up very scarce sizeable cod or coalfish. Steve Rackstraw won a recent sweepstake in the Wear with 18 fish totalling 388 cm fishing at the Glass Centre, Tommy Tate had the longest with a flounder of 31 cm as part of his 16 fish measuring 352 cm bag.
The open beaches have seen mainly undersize flatfish showing all the way down to Hartlepool where the piers have produced large numbers of smaller dabs with the odd bigger specimens amongst them. Dogfish continue to be reported from the Durham beaches with a few showing from the Hartlepool piers. Those anglers fishing Seaham South pier report taking up to 12 dogfish a session on mackerel, bluey, and sandeel baits. A good northerly sea at the time of writing should see an improvement in shore sport with at least some cod moving inshore over the weekend.
Despite the relatively cold weather plaice have been taken from the usual marks at Roker pier and South Shields pier. Tom Davidson had a fine specimen plaice of 3 lb from Roker during a recent pleasure session, and before the sea fell away the clean ground beaches along the Northumberland shoreline were producing turbot to fish baits.
Boat angling is starting to improve when conditions allow. Ray Miller landed a cod of 15½ lb on the Sarah JFK 2, part of a 100 fish recent trip. Another trip produced cod to 10½ lb plus early season ling to 9 lb with most anglers taking double figure bags of quality bigger fish. Blue Eye 2 has been taking some big bags of cod using the downtiding technique with a recent four hour evening trip producing 80 cod to 10 lb from the inshore ground. Bert Gray and Keith Brown won the last S.S.B.A.C. boat match on their boat Karm taking 49 cod to 6½ lb, each with bags of over 55 lb; Keith was just ahead by 2 lb. So there are obviously plenty of cod just offshore waiting for a good sea to push them within reach of the shore angler, or during calmer weather when they will slowly colonise the kelp beds and rock edge marks along the Northumberland shoreline, and between South Shields and Roker piers.
The Ryhope Tuesday evening heaviest fish sweepstake starts its summer season next Tuesday May 12th at Claxheugh in the Wear. Meet at 6pm, entry £5, contact Bob Surtees 0191 5237272 for details.