Some big cod are starting to show now, with the better fish in the north of the region where there are slightly fewer numbers of whiting present. Some big cod should also show in the Teesbay area, but only if you can avoid the hungry whiting, which, unfortunately, is almost impossible. Huge numbers of whiting continue to be taken from the Durham beaches and Hartlepool piers where bags of over 30 fish can easily be expected with whiting being taken two or three at a time.
Best cod reported was taken by Tony Hindmarch with a specimen of 17lb from the lower Tyne, Garry Appleton had one of 15½lb on the same night at the same venue, Chris Hossack had one of 16½lb from Roker Pier where Ian Bellfield also had one of 14lb, and Stu Carr had one of 11lb 10oz. Alan Robinson had one of 12½lb from Seaham Pier, his eleven year old son John had a surprise thornback ray of 5lb the same session. Brian Hudson had a cod of 12lb 2oz also from Seaham Pier. North of the Tyne, Garry Humphries had a cod of 10lb 6oz from Cambois, Paul Gallon had one of 9lb 9oz from Cullercoats, and James Binyon had one of 8lb 9oz. Ian Galbraith had four cod totalling 20lb from the Tyne, the weighed 9½lb and 6lb 10oz. Don Nicholson had three cod for 24lb 5oz from Cullercoats, the best of which went 11¼lb. Chris Stringer had three for 16lb 6oz from Whitley Bay, and Ivan Stott had two for 11lb 1oz including one of best 8lb 2oz to win a Seaton Sluice A.C. match. A recent Horden Surfcasters heaviest fish match produced a specimen cod of 13¼lb for Mark Thompson, followed by Darren Almond with one of 5lb 14oz and Ron Smith with one at 4lb 10oz.
The last Hartlepool Pirates match was dominated by the ever present whiting as expected. Bill Bradley had 52 for a total weight of 41lb 13oz, just ahead of Steve Swales whose 46 fish weighed in at 39lb 14oz, including the heaviest fish of 1lb 6oz. Third placed J. Watts had 14 weighing 11¼lb and fourth was S. Shields with four for 3lb 5oz. Hartlepool W.M.S.A.C., who have a high size limit for whiting, also fished recently when Paul Hornsey won with 4lb 10oz, and Paul Blair had 3lb 5oz. Another match saw Alan Howe win with 21lb 6oz, Paul Hornsey had 20lb 1oz, and Paul Blair had 14lb 9oz.
Members of Seaton Sluice A.C. travelled to Arbroath for a recent weekend match to try to find some of the big winter cod that the area is known for. Simon Todd won the Saturday match with seven cod totalling 20lb 6oz followed by Ivan Stott with four for 14¼lb, and Chris Guthrie with two for 13lb 11oz. Sunday saw Garry Appleton win with five smaller cod weighing 11lb 2oz, Brian Clennell had two for 9lb 3oz, and Simon Todd with 5lb.
A Seaton Sluice local club match saw Simon Todd win with three cod for 6lb 15oz taken from Haven Rocks followed by Peter Stewart with two totalling 6¾lb, including the heaviest fish of 4lb from Dulce Carrs.
A recent Ryhope Tuesday evening sweepstake saw 23 fishing, hoping to pick up a cod for the heaviest fish prize among the whiting. Steve Swinhoe did manage to find a cod of 1.06kg to finish top and Paul Richardson had one of 0.79kg for second. Third place went to Steve Harriman with a flounder of 0.36kg and Steve Moore in fourth had a whiting of 0.32kg. Another Tuesday match saw Paul Hossack win with a cod of 1.39kg, and Darren Donnelly had the next two heaviest fish with whiting of 0.60kg and 0.51kg.
The Ryhope club match last Sunday saw 70 fishing for whiting in a heaviest bag match. First placed Gary Dunn had 28 weighing 8.20kg from Rathouse Corner and runner-up Ken Hayley had 21 for 8.1kg. Ritchie Carr finished third with 6.38kg and fourth place went to junior Lauren Hayley whose 15 fish totalled 4.99kg. John Robson had the heaviest round fish; a cod of 1.47kg, and Bob Surtees had the best flatfish at 0.62kg. Sunday passed saw 80 fishing with the whiting surprisingly absent and most of the fish weighed in came from the Tyne and Wear. Andy Rutherford had four coalfish and two flounders from the Tyne for 3.32kg to win ahead of John Lovett with a coalie, a whiting, and a flounder weighing 2.24kg. Third placed Lee Burton had a cod of 1.37kg, plus a flounder for a 1.55kg total, and Paul Hossack had two coalfish and two flounders for 1.27kg, including the best flatfish at 0.63kg. Top junior was Kian Ashton with his two flounder limit bag of 0.61kg.
Gary Wilson won an S.B.R.A.A.C. match with three cod, a whiting and a pouting for a total of 7lb 11oz taken from Whitley Bay Pipe. Norman Spour won a Cleadon match with a cod of 4½lb plus a coalie for a 6lb 4oz total from S. Shields Pier.