Last week’s comments regarding the possibility of being too early to travel to the west coast for thornback rays and dogfish might have been slightly unnecessary as they are already showing on this coast quite early this year, and have been increasing in numbers over the last several years with a double figure specimen not an unlikely goal.
The recent Seaham Night Hawk match produced a classic mixture of late winter and early spring/summer fish which saw 11 out of the 27 anglers weigh in 13 dogfish, 12 whiting, eight cod, two dabs and two thornback rays for a total weight of 53.61lb, all taken in a flat calm sea and fresh westerly winds. Gary Pye won with a nice bag of 13 fish taken from the Blast Ledge including the heaviest fish with a cod of 4.75lb. Dean Furness had seven weighing 8.29lb, and Gary Blanchard had four for 6.64lb.
The Seaham Good Friday Heaviest Fish open also produced a few smaller cod but most anglers struggled on the day with only four out of 28 weighing in five cod and three whiting for 13.56lb. Paul Hossack fished the Blocks to win with a cod of 3.45lb, Danny Swan had a cod of 2.16lb from the Blast Ledge, and Gary Blanchard had one of 1.73lb from Featherbed Rocks. Danny Swan had the heaviest bag with five fish totalling 5.34lb.
The mid-Tyne marks have some in size cod among lots of undersize fish, and some anglers have taken up to four bigger cod to 3lb on fresh crab, mussel and ragworm cocktail baits. Coalfish and the odd plaice continue to show on South Shields pier and the lower Tyne has small numbers of early plaice starting to appear.
Elsewhere sport is quiet with mainly lots of undersize flatties and whiting from the Durham beaches down to Hartlepool though some bigger whiting are still being taken on late evening and night time tides.