Mackerel continue to dominate catches, weather permitting, with all of the Region’s piers producing double figure bags on at least some tides. Lures continue to take most fish but float fishing is starting to produce some decent bags also. Pollack, coalies and the occasional shad have been taken by those anglers mackerel fishing. At other times there are good numbers of whiting moving inshore under cover of darkness with the Hartlepool piers and Durham beaches being productive on the bigger tides. Bait fishing during daylight hours has produced various flatfish species and mainly small coalfish and codling, though fresh crab baits have produced the odd better cod, mainly from the rock marks.
Sixty members fished the recent Seaham Richardson Trophy match which saw 18 weigh in 26 fish for 19.39lb. Lee Burton won with a cod of 2.77lb taken from the Targets, Bob Gascoigne had one of 2.54lb from the North pier, and John Blaney had three for 2.44lb also from the pier.
With settled conditions and clean water there are plenty of various flatfish species in the lower Tyne. Plaice are the most sought after with specimens being landed from all of the lower river marks along South Shields beach, the first gate on the pier, and across the river at the Middens, Lifeboat station, and Fish Quay. Ken Robinson won a retired members Tynemouth match with three plaice, the best weighing 1lb 10oz, three flounders and a single dab for a total of 6lb 11oz ahead of Tom Sawyer whose seven flounders weighed 5lb 5oz, and Tony Anderson with two plaice, two dabs and two mackerel for 4lb 15oz.
A Tynemouth rover match also had a good weigh in. Paul Foster won with two wrasse, two pouting and a cod of 3lb 5oz, in a bag total of 8lb 10oz taken from St. Mary’s Island. Daryl Bell had a cod of 4lb 6oz from the pier, and Steve Harper had two wrasse weighing 3lb 14oz from St. Mary’s. The South Shields monthly sweepstake match produced a great weigh in with double figure mixed bags taking the top three places. P. Coates had 24lb 13oz, the best a cod of 1lb 14oz, M. Jewitt had 22¼lb, and R. Lees weighed in 17lb.
The Northumberland rock edges have also been productive for those in the right place at the right time, fresh crab has taken cod, wrasse, pollack and coalfish, and lures and float fished baits have taken mackerel, pollack, coalfish and wrasse from the deep water marks around Dunstanburgh. Les Henzell had a cod of 7lb 2oz in a bag total of 8lb 6oz to win a recent East End match at Seahouses, followed by Nicky Robson with two cod for 4lb 3oz from Newton.
Boat anglers fishing the inshore ground off Craster are taking up to 100 cod each, best around the 5lb mark, with lures and baits all taking fish. A prolonged period of calm weather should see some of these fish move within reach of the shore angler and the summer cod season around Northumberland looks like being quite good this year.