The first really heavy seas of the winter last week brought plenty of cod inshore all along the north east coast, as predicted; most cod are still on the small side averaging from 1½lb to 2lb, with the odd bigger fish to 5lb among them. Those anglers hitting it right have had double figure bags of up to 20 cod with some fine specimen whiting to 2lb also evident. Crab bait is still the most productive, especially from the low water marks, but worm and cocktail baits are taking fish from the piers and clean ground beaches. When the sea was at its heaviest the sheltered marks at North Gare, the Pilot Pier at Hartlepool, Rathouse Corner in the Wear and the river Tyne all fished surprisingly well. It’s been a number of years since any angler has had double figure bags of cod from the Pilot Pier. The river Tyne has been on superb form with club matches now expected to be won with double figures, and pleasure anglers are reporting bags of over 20lb. Word gets around very quickly and a lot of the more popular marks are quite crowded at times. The rock edges north of the Tyne have also been producing plenty of fish and double figure bags are being reported from the Amble and Lynemouth areas.
Cleadon A.C. had an excellent weigh in for their last match with 18 out of 38 weighing in 102 cod, mainly from the Tyne where John Taylor won with 13 fish weighing 18lb 7oz. John was followed home by Steve Williams who landed 14 for 17lb and Andy Grieff with nine for 11½lb. Fourth placed Paul Wastell had eight for 9lb 14oz. Bedlington Station also found plenty of fish showing, Darren Shields winning with 10 for 20lb, the best of which weighed in at 5lb 9oz, taken from Cresswell. In second place Keith Armstrong had seven for 12lb 10oz from Lyne Burn and Darren Jobling finished third with two fish weighing 6lb 3oz from Cresswell.
The Tynemouth A.C. Sunday League match also produced the fish for Steve Childs who won with 11 cod and a single dab for 17lb 5oz, Neil Garner had eight for 14lb 8oz, with a best of 3lb 9oz, and Paul Foster had nine for 10lb 5oz. In the Tynemouth Winter League match the fishing was not so productive and Steve Hardy only needed three cod for 6lb 5oz, best weighing 3lb 3oz, to win ahead of Dave McGloughlin who weighed in three for 3lb 10oz.
Gary Appleton won a Seaton Sluice match landing six fish weighing 10lb 10oz from Lynemouth, followed by Brian Clennel with five for 6lb 14oz and Dave Cruddas had the heaviest fish, a cod of 4lb 9oz. Mal Watts won a Seaton Burn match with two cod weighing 4lb 2oz from the Crag, James Patterson had a single cod and flounder for 3lb 7oz taken from Blyth pier to win a Blyth A.C. Match.
Smaller tides over the weekend saw cod in short supply again, Bob Surtees won the Ryhope club match with five whiting for 1800 grams from Roker Pier. Runner-up John Lovett had two cod from the Tyne weighing 1270 grams ahead of John Hutchinson who brought four whiting weighing 1125 grams to the scales from the Wear. Bill Kennedy had the best flatfish at 640 grams and junior Oliver Redpath had the best round fish with a cod of 535 grams. Next match takes place this Sunday from 3pm till 7pm.
The main population of cod have still not reached south of the Tees where they remain scarce and lots of undersize coalfish are dominant. The last Redcar Navy and Gentleman’s club match saw John Nixon win with three cod for 6lb 9oz, best 2lb 14oz taken from Sandsend. Vanessa Barker took second spot with a single whiting weighing 13oz from Saltburn Pier where Tony Barker also had a dab of 9oz to finish third. A St. Mary’s rover match saw Terry Dalton win with three cod for 4lb 6oz taken from Whitby west pier and Craig Dalton was second with a coalie of 15oz.
The Newbiggin open last Sunday saw 65 out of 391 weigh in during good conditions which resulted in 104 cod, 12 flounders, two coalfish, two pouting, a wrasse and a pollack being brought to the scales. Jim Dobie fished at Amble to win with two cod and the wrasse for 10lb 1oz ahead Sean Scrimengeur who weighed in seven for 9lb 3oz from Dulce Carrs. Sean Herman finished third with six fish weighing 7¼lb. Steve Potts had the heaviest fish, a cod of 5lb 11oz, E. Riches had one of 4lb 13oz and Andrew Moore on at 4lb 11oz. Darren Taylor had the heaviest flatfish of 15oz, and top junior was Jordan Gunn who weighed in one cod of 3lb 11oz.