Big bags of cod with plenty of quality specimens into double figures continue to be taken, particularly in the north of the region, even in relatively settled conditions. Sean Hildrew had one of the better specimens at 16lb 14oz taken at Dead Mans Bank, Blackhall. After loosing one big fish, Chris Hopkins managed to land the next one of 11 – 12lb at Craster. Ivan Stott had a personal best cod of 8½lb also from Craster. John Brooks fishing South Shields pier landed one of 11lb 11oz. Greg Humphrey had eight cod for a total of 20lb at Hadston, whilst fishing partner Dave Greatrix had four for 12lb. John Hepton had three totalling 12½lb, including one of 7¼lb from Seaham pier.
Graham Sidney won a Bedlington match with nine fish weighing 15lb 10oz, Bill Foster won a Newbiggin match with four for 17lb 15oz, ahead of Graham Foster with three for 13lb 9oz all taken from Boghall Rocks, and Jamie Davison had the heaviest fish of 9½lb from Cambois. Ian Greenacre won a Blyth match with five fishing totalling 17lb 4oz, the best weighing 7lb 3oz. If you fancy a trip slightly further afield the rock edges north of the Firth of Forth offer excellent prospects. Paul Bainbridge travelled to Arbroath recently and landed 22 cod to 10lb.
Good mixed bags of cod, whiting and dabs have been taken from the Durham beaches, but down at Hartlepool it is whiting all the way with any other species having little chance of finding the bait first. St. Mary’s A.C. members based in Redcar travelled to Hartlepool to take advantage and were not disappointed. Winner Craig Dalton had 30 whiting and three dabs in a bag of 28lb 3oz. Runner-up Russell Miller had 22 whiting and a dab weighing 18lb 10oz, and Mick Smith finished third with 21 whiting, the best at 1lb 7oz, and two dabs for a total of 18¼lb.
Codling are back in the Tyne after the recent floodwater and debris has largely subsided. Most fish are around the 1lb to 1½lb mark but there are the odd bigger ones among them. Mark Shotton won a recent Cleadon match with a four fish bag of 8½lb ahead of Norman Spour whose five weighed 5lb 11oz.
The Ryhope Tuesday evening sweepstake was disappointing with only a single cod weighed in, a fish of 1lb 3oz taken by Chris Hossack. The Ryhope Sunday match competitors fared slightly better with 30 out of 73 weighing in. Paul Richardson fished the Tyne to land 20 whiting for 8.24kg, Wayne Harriman had five whiting and a cod weighing 2.66kg, John Porteous had two cod for a total of 2.45kg, including the best fish of 1.70kg, Bill Bell had the best flatfish at 0.45kg, and top junior was four-year-old Kian Ashton with two fish weighing 1.12kg. Next club matches are on Sunday January 27th from 2pm until 6pm, and then on Sunday February 3rd from 2pm until 6pm.
Several species of fish have seen population explosions over recent years including pipefish, flounders, and plaice. Commercial boats out of Hartlepool report large numbers of the usually extremely rare tadpole fish being landed in pots, as they are obviously feeding on the baits intended for crabs and lobsters. Even sizeable cod have managed to get themselves caught inside pots.
The 18th Dave Jobson Memorial sweep match is on Sunday January 27th with fishing from 8am until 12 noon between the Ice House in the Tyne to Patterson’s Garage at Beadnell. Basic entry is £10 that includes £2 for the heaviest fish pool. Juniors under 16 are free but must be accompanied by a paying adult. Top three prizes are 50%, 30%, and 20% payout of income. Register from 6.30am at the Sea Horse pub, 415 Plessey Road Blyth. Weigh in 12.30pm until 1.30pm in the rear car park.