One or two cod around the 2lb to 3lb mark are still showing from various marks along the North East coast but the majority of anglers are still reliant upon the seemingly ever present flounders, dabs and plaice for their catches. The odd turbot are showing from some of the clean ground beaches north of the Tyne. Most of the other species around at the moment are small and undersize, with coalfish, codling, whiting and rockling showing from all areas.
The river Tyne has a lot of small codling present and is popular with club matches fishing measure and release on a 20cm limit. A few coalfish to 2lb have shown from South Shields pier, as has the odd early plaice around the 1lb mark and small bass have been reported from Durham beaches.
North East anglers are now starting to travel over to S.W. Scotland, where dogfish are showing in numbers, and to the various marks either side of the border along the Solway where good numbers of flounders are now starting to show; club matches are being won with bags of thirty plus fish. Anglers are reminded that catch and release is expected and that all litter must be removed as complaints have already been received by landowners.
Tynemouth A.C. fished a match on Sunday with Neil Garner only needing a flounder, dab and a coalfish for a total of 2lb to win ahead of Dave Hayley who weighed two dabs for 15oz and Wilf Reed with a 13oz coalie. South Meadowell S.A.C. managed to weigh in a few pounds during their last match. Shaun Herman had 2lb 14oz to finish first ahead of John Wood with 2lb 10oz. Third placed Brian Telford weighed in with 15oz. A lot of angling clubs have finished their winter matches and are now waiting until May before the rivers hopefully improve for summer species.
Boat angling should start to pick up in the north of the region soon with good numbers of cod expected from the hard ground marks with fish slowly migrating south to the Teesbay area by the end of May when mackerel, which seem to show earlier every year should be well established a few miles offshore.
The Whitby Charter Skippers Association Spring Festival runs from April 3rd until April 18th, after day one the leader board is topped by Paul Bradshaw with a cod of 8lb 9oz taken on Sea Otter 2, Richard Anscombe has a cod of 2lb 15oz on Shy Torque followed by Clemantine Barrow with a cod of 2lb 6oz, also on Shy Torque.
Saturday May 8th sees a heaviest fish sweepstake for boats out of Hartlepool, register at the Tees and Hartlepool Yacht Club or the Friarage tackle shop. Boats leave port at 7am and fish until 5pm with the weigh in at 6.30pm. All fish must be cleaned before weighing. Entry is £10 per angler with a 90 percent payout spread over the top three heaviest fish. The remaining 10 percent will be donated to the RNLI. Contact the Friarage tackle shop on 01429-273145 or email@example.com.