Shore sport remains very quiet but flounders are increasing in numbers from the open beaches and piers and once the sea settles down plaice should start to show in greater numbers. Best bet for a bit of sport is to stick to the clean ground marks and fish light with ragworm and mackerel baits for a bit of flattie action and possibly pick up the odd bass among them. A thornback ray of 7lb was landed from Steetley pier recently and once the seas drop away they should certainly become an occasional visitor to the local beaches and piers. The rays move inshore throughout May and June to deposit their familiar egg sacks which are often found washed up on the beaches. The odd dogfish should also be possible as they too move inshore.
The rivers Tyne and Wear are full of smaller coalfish but flounder sport is improving slightly in the Wear although the fishing is still weeks behind the norm due to the low water temperatures. The mid-river marks around Claxheugh are producing some nice flounders around the 2lb mark, but the lower river seems to be dominated by small coalfish. Eleven year old Callum Ord had two nice specimens of 2lb and 1¾lb, both photographed before being returned and Thomas Lee also had one of 2lb, all taken on ragworm and mackerel baits.
Club match activity is almost non existent, however, a recent Eastenders sweepstake in the Wear at Panns Bank saw three hundred and sixty-eight coalfish, twenty cod and two flounders measured and returned. Bob Gascoigne had thirty-six fish for 796cm and Jim Dobie also had thirty-six measuring 774cm. The last Eastenders heaviest fish club match held at the Business Park saw Chris Hossack win with a fine flounder of 1lb 11oz and Lee Brown had one of 1¼lb.
The only club bothering to fish the open shoreline recently was Tynemouth A.C. and they found the fishing extra tough in heavy seas at Seahouses when only Marty Elliott managed to weigh in with a single cod of 1lb 5oz. Tynemouth member Wilf Reed had a pleasure session at Blyth Beach and landed seven size flounders for 7lb 2oz with the two biggest at 1¾lb, this is probably the biggest bag of size fish taken from anywhere over the last several weeks.
South of the Tees flounders are starting to take over from rockling as the target species for club matches. The last St. Mary’s rover match saw eight out of eighteen weigh in. Mick Smith fished Cowbar to land five flounders for 3½lb to top the list while runner-up Terry Dalton went to Whitby to land two for 2lb 14oz, best 1lb 8oz. Third placed John Hannan landed two dabs and a plaice for 1lb 13oz from Steetley pier. Another St. Mary’s local match saw the Smith family take all of the honours with Phil Smith having one flounder and a rockling for 1¼lb, wife Julie had two flounders for 1lb 3oz and brother Mick had two flounders for 1lb 2oz.
For those anglers waiting for the mackerel to arrive, they too are very late this year, boats fishing well offshore just reporting the very occasional specimens taken on rod and line and in commercial nets. The Sarah JFK out of the Tyne had a fishing party out last week and they managed forty five size fish with cod and ling to 9½lb taken on baits and lures.