The prospects for the autumn cod season are looking good with fish starting to show over a wider area. However to have a better chance of some bigger fish and bigger bags you will still have to travel north of the Tyne or down to the Yorkshire coast with a good supply of crab bait. South Shields pier has started to produce a few more cod on daylight and night time tides; there are cod in the lower Tyne, and from the rock edge marks between the Tyne and Wear. The rock edges at Ryhope have seen a few more fish showing, Hendon Wall has produced cod on night time tides, the Durham beaches are still relatively quiet during daylight hours but again night time tides have seen cod landed by those anglers fishing at distance over high tide or into the various holes and gullies over low water.
Only the occasional smaller specimens have been taken from the Hartlepool area where mainly smaller species, usually whiting and dabs, have dominated catches. A good northerly or easterly sea is needed to bring any fish inshore to these areas, Easterly winds are forecast at the time of writing, and if the sea is really heavy then Middleton pier can often produce cod at this time of year casting well out into the tide off the pier end with a big fresh crab bait. When conditions allow, anglers continue to take pollack to 4lb or more float fishing down the side of South Shields pier, and from Seaham South pier. Settled conditions last week saw large sandeel shoals move onto the former pier and produced some big bags of coalfish and the odd cod to 5lb all taking lures.
Castle Rocks produced a personal best cod of 7lb for Stefan Karmazan; he followed this up by taking cod to 5lb at Cullercoats. James Sanderson had six cod to 5lb on South Shields pier, and G. Stobbs fished here to land four cod for a total of 5lb 1oz to win a South Shields A.C. match. Michael Thompson had three cod weighing 8lb 13oz, the best at 4lb 2oz to win an S.B.R.A.A.C. match. Dave Milne won a Tynemouth match with six cod totalling 9lb 3oz. Nicky Robson had eight cod and a flounder for 12lb 4oz to win an East End match at Whitley Bay beach. Ian Greenacre had six cod, including the heaviest fish of 5lb 14oz, and one flounder for a total bag of 23lb 7oz to win a Blyth match. Keith Smith won another Blyth match with four cod and one coalfish for 10¼lb. Chris Potts had seven cod weighing 15½lb, the best making 4lb 14oz, to win a Seaton Sluice match at Hadston. Terry Wood won a Cleadon match with four cod for 7¾lb from the Tyne. Best club winning bag recently however was taken by Chris Stringer who had 13 cod totalling 26lb 2oz to win a Whitley Bay match on Whitley Bay beach.
Surprisingly, the Ryhope Tuesday evening sweepstake only saw six out of 25 find fish. Andy Rutherford had the best fish at 3lb 9oz, Walter Yardley had 3lb 7oz, and Dave Mould had 1lb 12oz.
The Ryhope club match on Sunday saw a good turnout of 60 anglers. John Blaney won with two cod weighing 2.53kg, Colin Stead had a cod and a wrasse for 2.24kg, Paul Hossack had four cod totalling 2.17kg, Alan Burton had the best flounder of 0.49kg, and top junior was the consistent Matthew Win with 0.85kg.
Boat anglers have been having a good end to the summer season with quality cod and ling reported from all areas, sometimes less than a mile offshore. Steve Simm had a cod of 20lb on the Upholder out of Amble, Stuart Beadle had a ling of 20lb on the Sarah JFK 2 out of the Tyne, on a trip which produced many cod up to 16lb, and averaging a good 7lb to 8lb. Geoff Ayre took a ling of 23lb on a private boat out of Sunderland.
Looking slightly further ahead, the Sunderland sea angling festival is on Sunday November 9th. Basic entry is £12; top three prizes for the heaviest fish are £500, £300, and £200. Full details nearer the time.