Once again severe westerly winds have affected shore sport with few anglers fishing the more exposed pier or rock edge marks. Instead most have been heading towards the shelter of the rivers or Durham beaches. However, when there has been a break in the winds, some decent bags of cod have been taken. In addition the occasional bigger double figure specimens that often show at this time of the year, particularly in the South of the region, are becoming evident. At other times though, shore sport has generally been poor with lots of small undersize cod, whiting, and poor condition, recently spawned dabs. A Blyth match produced a good weigh in with nine out of 10 anglers all landing cod. Keith Smith had a good evening session taking five cod for 25lb 4oz, the best a nice specimen of 11lb 1oz to win ahead of James Patterson whose four fish weighed 7lb 1oz, and Barry Smith with four for 6lb 2oz. South Shields pier, a bit hit or miss over recent days, has produced some bigger cod to 9lb on night time tides.
Hartlepool O.M.A.C. saw 13 out of the 16 entrants weigh in 16 cod, 18 whiting and 2 dabs during their last match with fish coming from both the Hartlepool piers and from the river Tyne. Mick Robinson had the heaviest bag with six whiting for a total of 6lb 5oz, John Stainsby had the heaviest fish, a cod of 3lb 2oz, Ian Palmer Jnr. had the second heaviest fish, a cod of 2lb 2oz, and Chris Smith had the second heaviest bag with six whiting for 5lb.
A Seaton Sluice match produced a double figure winning bag of five cod weighing 12lb 7oz, the best of 3lb 10oz, taken by Ivan Stott, ahead of Chris Potts with five for 5½lb. Most matches have been won with much smaller weights. Mark Callender only needed a single cod of 3lb 10oz to win a Whitley Bay match, and S. Brannon managed four cod totalling 7lb 6oz to win a Bedlington Station match.
A recent Ryhope Tuesday evening sweepstake saw smaller cod take the top three places for the heaviest fish John Cousins had the best at 1lb 12oz followed by Terry Mann with 1lb 7oz, and Gaz Watson with 1lb 6oz. The Ryhope club match on Sunday saw a good turnout of 62 members, though fish were scarce on the day with most coming from the Wear. Andy Rutherford was the exception with a cod of 1.10kg taken at Marsden. George Crawford had two flounders from the Wear for 0.89kg, best 0.55kg. Paul Richardson had a cod of 0.79kg, and top junior was Matthew Winn with 0.74kg.
The popular Amble Open is on Sunday January 25th with fishing from 9.30am until 2.30pm between the South pier at Seahouses (excluded) and the Pipe at Lynemouth. Basic entry is £12, register at the Radcliffe Club Amble from 7.30am on the day. The top three prizes for the heaviest bag are £400, £300, and £150. The top three heaviest fish win £250, £150, and £100, and the best flatfish win a Yuki rod, £100, and £50. The top ladies and juniors receive £50, £30, and £20, and there is the usual comprehensive prize table that make this open event one of the best in the country. All flatfish must be presented in buckets of water, preferably with aerators attached, and edible crab bait in any form is banned as it is now illegal. Contact Craig on 01665 604577 or Tony 01665 602034 for details.