Northern Bites – 11-04-2011

by Steve Walker

Shore sport has improved slightly over the past week with increasing numbers of smaller fish in the Wear and Tyne and some better sized flounders and dabs showing from the clean ground beaches at Parton and Crimdon. Bigger flounders are starting to move back into the Wear, although a lot of small coalfish have invaded the river in recent weeks attacking the flounder baits. The Tyne has started to produce a lot more of the smaller cod and coalfish with fish to 2lb among them. Fresh crab is now the most productive bait when fishing the rivers with worm and mackerel baits mainly picking up smaller fish. Darren Browne and Steven Coyle had a recent session in the lower Tyne taking numerous undersized codling but both managed to land fish around the 4lb mark.

A recent sweepstake in the Tyne at the Copthorne Hotel saw Craig Ogilvie win zone A with seven fish for 153cm while I zone B Steve Richardson had eight fish measuring 191cm to take top spot. During the match Garrie Foster landed a cod of 3lb, an unusual fish for this far upriver, and Gavin Owen landed a smelt of 31cm, a previously rare fish which is becoming increasingly common in the Tyne.

The early summer plaice are starting to show from the piers at Roker and South Shields together with some of the clean ground Durham beaches. Most are undersize at the present and ragworm the most productive bait to use. A recent Tynemouth A.C. match saw only two out of 19 weigh in; the winner, Dave Collins had one of those early plaice weighing 13oz while runner-up Neil Garner landed a 10oz flounder.

An Eastenders sweepstake at Panns Bank in the Wear saw Jim Dobie win with nine fish measuring a total of 2011cm followed by Chris Hossack with eight for 1077cm. Mal Sopp had a flounder of 37cm to lift the longest fish prize. Another Eastenders heaviest fish sweepstake at the Student Accommodation saw Ernie Hunter win with a flounder of 1lb 11oz, Steve Rackstraw took the next three places with flounders weighing 1lb 7oz, 1lb 3oz and 1lb 1oz respectively.

At Seaham only six weighed in during their Hudson Cup match. Kevin Barass won with a single flounder of 0.51lb followed by Mel Anderson with one of 0.47lb.

South of the Tees the Holderness shoreline is starting to produce thornback rays, smoothound and bass. All of these species are increasing in number every year and are slowly starting to migrate further north. Reports suggest that several smaller thornback ray have already been landed from Saltburn Pier recently. Flounders are still the main target of match anglers however, the last St. Mary’s A.C. match saw six out of the 16 entrants weigh in an all flounder catch. Chris Woods won with five weighing 2¼lb from Sandsend while runner-up Paul Close fished Skinningrove and landed a single flounder of 12oz. Third place went to Terry Dalton with a 7oz fish from Cowbar.

Boat angling is starting to improve with some good results reported both from the offshore wrecks and the inshore hard ground marks. The Evelyn Jane was out on Sunday fishing four miles off from Skinningrove and took around 60 fish, mainly cod, with the best around the 8lb mark.

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