Here in the north east big tides and a nice northerly swell usually mean plenty of fish and the chance of a big double figure cod, but such conditions over the last few days have failed to produce, even the usually reliable whiting have disappeared. Some anglers report fishing for several hours without even a bite or seeing any fish landed. Those who have caught fish have only reported the odd smaller cod, whiting or flatfish, the exception being a nice cod of 9lb 11oz taken by John Wilson from a Hartlepool pier and a cod of 9.51lb taken by Gary Pye in a Durham County match at Easington. Club matches continue to be won with just the odd fish and many clubs have suffered total blanks, some are now fishing catch and release in the local rivers where at least small fish provide some sport. Large sprat and sandeel shoals are offshore just now and the fish seem pre-occupied with this easy source of food. Those who are prepared to experiment with big fish baits might be lucky enough to pick up a bigger cod as this technique has certainly produced specimen fish before.
South Shields pier is poor with just the odd sizable fish present and Roker pier is only producing the odd flounder and whiting, with some bigger specimens showing in the lower Wear. Anglers fishing the Tyne have found small cod, along with flounders and whiting from the upper river. Eddie Hackett fishing a charity match in the Tyne landed a potential record European smelt weighing 7oz, an ounce over the existing record.
Club results once again give a clear indication of what to expect. Hartlepool O.M.A.C. had two recent matches, Chris Smith won the first with three whiting for 5lb 2oz, including specimens of 2lb 1oz and 2lb, and Kenny Gooding took second spot with a cod of 2lb 6oz. The second competition saw Jay Kelly win with five whiting for 5lb 3oz, best 1lb 10oz followed by Ian Palmer who weighed in 3lb 6oz and Chris Smith who had 3¼lb. The next match takes place on Sunday March 14th fishing from 11am till 5pm. The Friarage Friday evening sweepstake saw John Readman win with a superb spring flounder of 1lb 10oz with runner-up Robbie landing a cod of 1lb 2oz. Hartlepool Pirates have changed their name to Hartlepool and District S.A.C., their last match saw Adam Dendrickson finish top with two flatties for 1lb 1oz ahead of John Readman who had a whiting of 1lb and Jamie Pearce with a single flatty of 9oz.
G. Copper won the last South Shields A.C. match with two fish for 2lb 2oz. In the last S.B.R.A.A.C. match Steve Alexander landed a single cod of 1lb 11oz from Cambois to lead the field. Nigel Howitt won a Blyth match with two fish for 3lb 13oz from Hauxley. Both Seaton Sluice A.C. and Cleadon A.C. suffered total blanks; a sure sign that fish are few and far between. Only one angler weighed in for Cleadon’s last match when Neil Cutler had a single cod of 1lb 5oz from South Shields pier.
The Ryhope match on Sunday saw eight out of eighty-two find fish with the top two weights taken from South Shields pier where top rod Wayne Harriman had three coalfish for 1590 grams. Second place went to Barry Stowells with a cod of 1035 grams. Stu Bland took third with two flounders from Roker weighing 415 grams and was followed by John Wilson who had a coalfish of 410 grams from the Tyne walkway. Top junior was Nathan Stevenson with a flounder of 260 grams.
Tynemouth retired members saw one of the more productive matches with winner Tony Taylor taking six coalfish and one flounder from Tynemouth pier for 6lb 2oz. In second Alan Wearmouth had three coalfish and one flounder for 3lb 5oz while third placed Doug Noble had two coalfish and one flounder for 2lb 6oz. Bob Blackhall had the heaviest fish, a coalie of 1lb 2oz. The Tynemouth Sunday League match saw eight out of twenty-seven weigh in. Steve Elliott had three flounders and one dab for 2lb 10oz to win the event. Dave Hayley in second spot had a coalfish and a flounder weighing 1lb 11oz and Steve Harper took third with two flounders for 1lb 9oz.
Pleasure anglers have reported the odd bass to 3lb from some of the beaches south of the Tees but nothing this big showed up in the last Saltburn A.C. match when scratching for the ever reliable rockling was the successful method. Nick Westgarth had fifteen of them for 2½lb taken from Whitby pier and all returned alive. James Southwick had two flounders, best 9oz, plus seven rockling for 2lb 2oz, all reportedly taken on chunks of octopus from Whitby pier, to finished second and third placed John Dixon had a single flounder of 8oz from Saltburn pier.
The Angling Development Board, (ADB), have secured funding for current level 1 angling coaches who wish to progress to level 2. The cost of the level 2 course is £437 and the ADB have secured 66% funding equating to £288.42, resulting in any potential candidates being required to pay the remaining £148.58. There are 10 available places and anyone interested in applying must contact Ben Thompson on 07854240177 or email firstname.lastname@example.org by 30th March 2010.