Cod have been few and far between lately with the low water marks and the rivers offering the best chance to pick up any sizeable specimens. Whiting are still showing in decent numbers in the south of the region with all of the Hartlepool piers consistently producing double figure bags of whiting, dabs and flounders. Flounders are starting to increase in numbers and the odd early plaice have made an appearance. Club matches can still be won with double figure bags when the whiting are present but at other times bags around 5lb to 6lb are often enough for success.
Gary Pye won an Easington Welfare match with 13 fish weighing 15lb, the best a cod of 4.9lb. Dean Furness won a Seaham match with eight whiting totalling 5.76lb from the North pier. Danny Swan won a Seaham A.C. Lawson Cup match with 17 fish for 14.83lb including a cod of 2.77lb. Paul Westmoreland was second with 11 for 6.59lb, and together they both won the team event.
Good sized flounders are now starting to show in the local rivers; Lenny Davies took a monster of 3lb from the Tyne during a recent session.
The Ryhope Tuesday evening sweepstake saw 19 fishing. Ritchie Carr won with a cod of 2.65kg taken from Marsden, Lee Burton had a cod of 0.62kg from the Manholes, and Terry Mann had a whiting of 0.56kg from Roker. The Ryhope Sunday match saw 71anglers fishing with the majority of the fish being taken from the rivers. Chris Hossack used fresh crab bait to win with seven coalfish weighing 3.42kg from the Tyne, Paul Hossack fished the Wear to land five coalfish and a flounder totalling 2.38kg, Bob Surtees was third with four coalies for 1.68kg. Peter Wilkinson had the best flatfish of 0.65kg, best roundfish was a coalfish of 0.72kg taken by Tommy Tate, and top junior was Daniel Tate with 0.47kg.
Alberta A.C. had the first of their summer league matches in the Tyne where sport was a bit slow. Ian Hodgkinson won with six fish weighing a total of 6lb 7oz ahead of Peter Graves with seven for 5¾lb, and Andrew Hodgkinson had four weighing 3lb 9oz.
Dave Scrimageur won a Tynemouth match with five coalfish, three whiting, and a flounder for 6lb 3oz while runner-up Bob Gascoigne had five coalfish weighing 5¼lb. Third placed Wilf Reed had four coalies, three whiting and a dab totalling 5lb 3oz. Thirteen out of 26 weighed in.
S.B.R.A.A.C. fished in what should have been productive conditions with a nice swell running but only whiting and flounders were weighed in, mainly from Blyth beach. Michael Thompson only needed six whiting weighing a total of 2¾lb to win ahead of Kevin Moffat whose two flounders, one whiting and one coalies weighed 2lb 11oz. Kevin’s bag also included the heaviest fish; a flounder of 1lb 1oz.
The Bridlington European two day open saw Stuart Voase win the overall aggregate with a single fish of 4.88lg, worth a nice £4000, ahead of Ben Ray with a single fish of 3.68kg, and Elliot Heather with a single fish of 3.49kg. Sunderland anglers Ken McCoy and Steve Graham won the pairs event with 13.4kg ahead of another Sunderland pair of Chris Hossack and Ritchie Carr with 3.56kg. The team of four went to Pat Would, Simon Gilbert, Andrew Proudfoot, and Elliot Heather with 13.4kg, just ahead of Ken McCoy, Neil Cutler, Gareth Gardner, and Steve Graham with 11.30kg.
Boat angling is starting early this year with boats out of Hartlepool getting some decent results for the time of year. Rob Myles and Jim Glew fishing on the “Darlin” had 12 cod to 7lb, mostly taken on lures and squid baits. The Rising Sun Rodbenders A.C. had a trip out on the Famous taking 24 cod to 7lb, plenty of pouting and coalfish, a few early ling, and the inevitable whiting. The Sapphire out of Sunderland also reports good numbers of early cod and ling to 5lb. Arthur Smeaton in his own boat “Lazy Days” took 12 cod to 5lb just off from St.Mary’s Island.