A bit of a northerly swell early last week scattered the mackerel shoals, but only temporarily, as they were soon back inshore as the sea settled, with some anglers claiming bags of over 40 fish from the Hartlepool piers on early morning tides. That bit of movement saw some nice cod move inshore however, and the first signs of winter produced specimens up to 6lb from many of the Region’s pier, beach and rock edge marks. Whiting continue to show after dark in large numbers with fish up to 2lb again reported among lots of other quality specimens around the pound mark. As the greedy hordes of whiting will take just about any bait presented to them as soon as it hits the bottom the best results for the cod angler have been from the relatively whiting free marks over hard ground and other low water marks. Some clubs are now starting their winter league matches and will be looking for a good heavy sea to wash the summer weed growth out and bring the expected cod inshore in greater numbers.
The early autumn and winter cod are just starting to move within reach of the shore angler to the north of the Tyne. Chris Stringer won the last Whitley Bay summer league match with seven for a total bag weight of 10lb from Whitley Bay beach. Mick wood had a single cod of 4¾lb from Hartley, and Ian Galbraith had three totalling 4lb 3oz from Whitley Bay beach. Cod showed up in a recent Tynemouth retired members match with 10 out of 19 weighing in. Doug Spivey had a single cod of 4lb 7oz to win ahead of Tony Anderson whose bag of two mackerel, a plaice and a dab weighed 3lb 13oz. Stu Ford finished third with three whiting and two mackerel for a total of 3lb 6oz.
A recent Blyth match saw cod showing up and Dave Carss won with three cod, including the heaviest of 3lb 9oz and a wrasse weighing 8lb 15oz from Hauxley. Runner-up Chris Kell had four flounders for 3lb 6oz from Amble where Nigel Howitt’s single cod of 1lb 15oz was enough for third place.
There are still plenty of fish in the rivers with flounders, eels, coalfish, plaice, whiting and the occasional in size cod putting in an appearance. A recent Amble match on the Aln saw Tony Cook win with nine flounders for a total of 6lb 10oz, the best weighing 1lb 2oz, followed by Norma Urwin with three for 2lb 13oz and Kevin Rutherford with a single fish of 14oz. Lots of small flounders around the five to six inch mark have moved into the Wear in recent weeks and are a good sign of a healthy river and bodes well for good sport next year. The Ryhope Tuesday evening sweepstake saw 21 fishing in the Wear. John Blanney had the heaviest fish, a flounder of 1lb 3oz, and Bob Surtees and John Lovett tied for second place each with eels of 1lb 2oz.