Mackerel sneaked inshore last weekend under cover of a northerly swell, normally the conditions that produce the opposite effect and few anglers were expecting them. As the sea was still clear they were taken in large numbers from all of the region’s piers and those who were out reported bags of over one hundred fish from Roker pier and bags of over fifty from the Hartlepool piers. As usual most of these early fish are taking lures but a few have been taken on float tackle. The next day the sea picked up and they were gone as quickly as they arrived with just the odd fish reported from South Shields pier where the water is generally more settled. The plus side is that the rough seas produced cod up to 3lb from Seaham, Roker, South Shields and Tynemouth piers with crab the top bait. Until the sea settles down again and the mackerel return those anglers using worm baits have reported the ever present flatties out in force with the odd decent plaice amongst them, undersize coalfish, whiting and codling have been the other main species reported. There should be some decent eels in the dock and marina channels at Hartlepool but be aware that new rules mean they must be returned immediately.
There are plenty of sweepstake and club matches being fished now, and the rivers are the main venues for catch and release matches. The Wear has some big flounders showing, as does the Tyne, where there are also greater numbers of smaller cod present. Northumbria police fished the first leg of the Bob Strong memorial trophy at the Copthorne hotel on the Tyne with flounders, eels, coalfish, codling and whiting all showing on the day. Winner Steve Elliott had fourteen fish for 213 points ahead of Dave Nevin who had thirteen fish for 201 points, including the longest fish with a fine flounder of 41cm, and Steve Foster with five fish for 73 points.
The Tynemouth Sunday League match fished on Tynemouth pier saw Dave Hayley win with two plaice, one cod and a dab for 4½lb. In second, Ian Brown had a single cod of 3lb 12oz and Wilf Reed finished third with two plaice and a flounder for 2½lb.
St. Mary’s A.C. had a monster rover match with members travelling to Cumbria, S.W. Scotland and Filey. Alec Gate went to Scotland and won with six dogfish, four wrasse and a single pollack for 12¼lb, Mick Smith targetted the flounders at Silloth and landed six for 7lb 10z, George Wilson had six dogfish and one wrasse for 6¼lb and Paul Lobley took the heaviest fish with a cod of 4lb 4oz from Filey.
The Silloth Open last week saw twenty-eight out of sixty-six weigh in 253 flounders, 8 plaice, and 3 dabs for a total length of 8746cm. First place went to Brian Carter with twenty-six fish for 800cm while runner-up Simon Hartley had twenty-one fish for 609cm. In third place Steve Litt had nineteen fish for 580cm. Paul Lobley had the longest fish with a flounder of 44cm, top lady was Michele Smith with seven fish for 210cm and top junior was Mason Burton with eight fish for 279cm followed by C.Atherton with five for 175cm. Jim Dobie won zone A with thirteen fish for 403cm, Tom whitehead won zone B with sixteen fish for 541cm and Alan Burton won zone C with nine fish for 309cm.
Whitby is starting to establish itself as a shark venue with two porbeagles estimated at 300lb each landed recently. Another relatively unusual catch was a halibut of 37lb taken by Steve Green off Skinningrove.
Laurence Douthwaite fishing on Newcastle Quayside retrieved a lost rod and reel, if it could be yours contact him on 07584 414994