Just two days of westerly winds were enough to flatten the sea off, clean up the water, and allow the huge shoals of mackerel that have been offshore to move within reach of the shore angler almost overnight. Even with small tides, the mackerel appeared in massive numbers with all of the Hartlepool piers producing double figure bags to lures. One angler reports taking 80 fish during one session, all on a single lure. Most of these early fish will take fast moving lures, a few have been taken on float tackle but it will be a few weeks yet before float fishing becomes the preferred method. Some of the mackerel are huge this year, many anglers report taking fish around the 2lb mark, the best and a new northeast record at a massive 3½lb was taken on a single lure by Paul Edwards fishing on Seaham North pier, which is only open to members of Seaham A.C.
Now that the mackerel invasion has begun, the piers will be crowded during daylight hours but a late evening and night-time sessions will see some big summer whiting moving into the Hartlepool piers. Roker and South Shields piers have both produced cod to 4lb on fresh crab baits with some big plaice taking ragworm baits.
The rock edges north of the Tyne are fishing well now that settled conditions have arrived. Keith Smith fished at Embleton and landed a monster wrasse of 4lb 1oz to take the heaviest fish prize in a Blyth A.C. match won by John Herron with three cod weighing 8lb 6oz. As with previous years, some bigger summer cod are also starting to move into the lower Tyne. Brian Clennel landed one of 3lb 6oz in a winning bag of 4lb 15oz during a recent Longbenton match.
Both the rivers Wear and Tyne have plenty of summer fish to catch. Andy Rutherford won a recent sweepstake at the Glass Centre in the Wear with 13 fish measuring 439cm, including a lovely coalfish of 45cm. Fresh crab is taking the better fish now but many anglers are reporting good bags on black lugworm baits.
Small boats fishing the inshore hard grounds are having another good year for quality cod, along with small ling, and increasing numbers of pollack and coalies. The hotspot seem to be anywhere between Crimdon and Ryhope, and north of the Tyne up to Amble where cod to 9lb have been taken just a few hundred metres offshore in some cases. Boats have managed 50 or more cod per trip. Dave Lycett on his own boat Olivia had a ten minute steam out from Hendon and found masses of cod mainly around 2lb with the two biggest at 7lb and 6lb. Keith Brown on the Shady had cod to 10lb just off from St. Marys Island. The Bon Ami fishing less than a mile off Craster had 147 cod to 5lb. The Warlord out of Amble found a dense shoal of cod taking three at a time mostly around 2lb to 3lb with the best at 7lb 3oz.
With plenty of inshore cod present this year, the coming winter months should see some good results for the shore angler if we get favourable weather, which unfortunately has not been the case in recent years.