With continuing movement on the sea there have been some good mixed bags taken from most areas over the previous few several days. Steetley pier remains a favourite for big bags of quality whiting taking worm, clam, squid and mackerel baits, with some specimens topping the 2lb mark. At other times cod to 5lb have shown in reasonable numbers and there is always the chance of a double figure specimen. The promenade at Hartlepool has produced mainly smaller cod around the 2lb mark on bigger tides with some nice deep holes now showing at the Northern end. The Durham beaches have seen similar results with most anglers managing to land at least a few whiting over high water with the better chance of cod showing from the low water marks.
Roker pier and South Shields pier have generally been quiet with only smaller cod and whiting showing mainly after dark, though at other times double figure specimens have been reported, and it is this inconsistency that is catching anglers out at the moment. The Tyne has a lot of smaller fish present but there are reports of a cod of 12½lb taken upriver at Hebburn last week. Rathouse Corner in the Wear continues to produce a few cod, and there are some specimen flounders showing further upriver. Dave Mould got onto the re-opened Roker pier as soon as conditions allowed and was rewarded with a nice cod of 14lb taken on old frozen lugworm. Roker also produced a specimen of 12lb 5oz for John Tench. Best cod reported was one of 15lb 3oz taken by Simon Davidson from Lynemouth, staying North of the Tyne Brian Harrison had a “double” double, taking cod of 11lb 8oz from the Bathing Pool Skeer and then landing one 2oz smaller from the Private beach the following day.
South of the Tees shore sport has been unusually quiet, though Saltburn pier did produce cod to 5lb during last midweek, however these sort of fish did not show for the last Saltburn A.C. match which only saw two weigh in, winner Andy Oliver only needed a rockling of two ounces to triumph over adversity. St. Mary’s A.C. made a wise decision to have a rover match, Terry Dalton travelled to Steetley pier to land three cod for 11lb 7oz, best weighing 5lb 3oz. There are plenty of fish in the river Tees but access is severely restricted due to industrial activity and Russell Miller fished one of the few accessible areas at the Cranes to land four nice flounders, best making 1lb 5oz, for a 4lb total to take second and Alec Gate was third with two whiting for 1lb 13oz.
When shore sport has been a bit unreliable some clubs are now fishing catch and release matches in the local rivers where there are good numbers of smaller cod, flounders, coalfish, and whiting on nearly all tides. S.B.R.A.A.C. Fished the Tyne and found plenty of smaller cod present with winner Phil Smithson landing five for 123cm, Paul Roper had two cod and a whiting for 64cm and Gary Wilson had two cod for 52cm.
Some club matches have produced no fish at all, even when conditions looked to be favourable. Hartlepool W.C.S.A.C. had a recent blank match with all prize monies being donated to Hartlepool lifeboat. The last match was a bit better with six weighing in mixed bags of cod and whiting for 11lb 10oz. Steve Brown won with 4lb 7oz while second placed Paul Hornsey had 4lb 1oz, including the heaviest fish with a cod of 3lb 7oz. Third placed Paul Blair weighed in two whiting for 2lb 2oz. Next match is Saturday February 20th from 11am till 3pm.
Hartlepool O.M.A.C. also saw six weighing in mixed bags of cod and whiting. Ian Palmer Snr. won with six fish for 5lb 10oz, including the heaviest fish with a cod of 1lb 14oz. Steve Sweeney in second had five fish for 3lb 10oz and Steve Wilson had two for 1½lb in third.
Hartlepool Pirates fished Friday; John Mekins only needed a flounder of 1lb 6oz for the heaviest fish. Steve Gibbins had three fish for 2¾lb for the heaviest bag and Jamie Pearce finished second with two weighing 1lb 5oz. Next match is Friday February 19th from 7pm till midnight.
The last Tynemouth Sunday league match saw eight out of forty-five land fish. Gavin Owen won the event with a single cod of 3lb 10oz ahead of Steve Elliott with three flounders weighing 2½lb, and Bill Ashcroft had a single flounder of 2lb.
Westoe A.C. only saw one member find fish when Mick Jewitt landed a single cod of 2.9lb. Mal McIntyre won a Seaton Sluice match with three fish for 3.14lb, Grahame Slesser won a South Shields match with a coalfish and a flounder for 1lb 15oz, and Peter Smith had one of the better sessions winning a Blyth match with six cod for 8lb 7oz, best 2lb 6oz, from Druridge Bay.