There were still plenty of mackerel around the Hartlepool piers up until late last week when a bit of a northerly sea put some colour into the water. North Gare fished well with lures taking double figure bags, and the other piers produced mackerel to float tactics. Bait fishing has produced big mixed bags of flatties and whiting during late evening and night time tides, and some anglers who have had an all night session report cod showing just before daylight. With a little bit of a bump on the sea at the time of writing some early autumn cod should move within reach of all of the local piers and beach marks. Cod are slowly increasing in numbers from the Northumberland rock marks where double figure bags are starting to win club matches.
Tony Taylor won a Newbiggin match with six for 12lb 11oz, including a fish of 5lb 12oz, Joe Lindsay had five totalling 8lb 12oz, and Gary Tulley five for 8lb 7loz. Jim Dunn won a Seaton Sluice match at Alnmouth with five weighing 10lb 13oz. Mick Dellin won an Alberta match at Dunstanburgh Castle with seven for 8lb 13oz, Mike De-Jong had the best, a coalfish of 2lb 7oz. Pleasure anglers fishing the Craster area report taking bags up to around the 20lb mark with fish averaging around 2lb taken every cast when they can be retrieved from the very heavy ground in this area.
The Tyne is fishing very well now with the big tides pushing a lot of smaller but in size cod and coalies into the river with a big specimen plaice expected as a bonus. Fresh crab is essential for the river and lots of anglers report mixed bags of over 20 fish from the Walkway area. The first Tynemouth winter league match produced cod all around from the lower Tyne. Steve Harper had three weighing 9lb 4oz, Tony Anderson had three for a total of 7lb 5oz and Alan Wood had three for 3lb 3oz.
The Wear also has plenty of fish present with flounders dominating, but some tides can be a bit hit or miss, and flounders in particular are now present all year round. The last Ryhope Tuesday evening sweepstake saw those with fresh crab head for the rock edges in the hope of an early cod. There were good numbers present but most were just undersize around the 33cm mark, Bob Surtees managed to land 12 cod all undersize. Lee Burton won with a cod of 1lb 3oz taken from the Manholes. Roker has also improved with plaice, flounders, and coalfish being taken in daylight hours, and cod up to 4lb during night sessions.
Small boat and kayak anglers are having a good year with specimen pollack taking various lures from the inshore hard ground marks, sometimes just a few hundred metres offshore. Colin Dawson on his own boat fishing just off Amble had many pollack up to 10lb with the fish following a redgill lure almost to the surface before taking and crash diving back to the bottom. The Sarah JFK out of the Tyne has taken both cod and ling to 19lb, George Richardson had one of the better catches with 17 bigger fish including six doubles up to 16lb, 17lb, and 19lb. As with previous years the heavy ground just off from the Wear is full of cod, pollack, coalies and small ling. The Sapphire fishing very close inshore out of the wind took many cod around the 3lb mark, and pollack to 6lb. Richard Roll on the Stingray had a personal best ling of 14lb 5oz. All of these fish, which now seem to be quite widespread, should move within range of the shore angler over the next few weeks but fresh crab bait will be essential to pick up these early fish.