Mackerel are still only showing in limited numbers with the ideal conditions of calm seas and clear water almost impossible to achieve with persistent onshore winds. Those who have fished for them have only taken a handful of fish even on the better days, although some anglers bottom fishing are picking them up on baits tipped with mackerel intended for the whiting and flatties. When there has been a bit of white water hitting the beaches, whiting and flounders have shown in reasonable numbers, with bass reported from some areas. Night time sessions have seen large numbers of bigger whiting moving inshore all along the north east shoreline.
The river Wear has flounders showing all the way along its tidal reach with the odd bigger specimens among them, and with the occasional bigger coalfish, whiting and cod from the lower river marks at the Glass Centre and Rathouse Corner.
The lower river Tyne seems to be full of undersize whiting on some tides then lots of size specimens the next, despite the heavily coloured flood water that has been a feature over the last several weeks. The upper Tyne has a good population of flounders and the occasional eel, with some of the flounders topping the 2lb mark. Flounders once again have been the main species to fish for in a lot of club matches but whiting are now starting to dominate.
A recent Tynemouth match saw Chris Potts win with 12 flounders for 8lb 10oz taken from the Middens beach, a mark where plaice are usually the target in clean water conditions. Kenny Patterson fished the same mark to land 10 flounders for 7lb 10oz and Steve Elliott had a mixed bag of whiting, dabs, coalfish, and mackerel taken from the pier weighing 5lb 9oz. Simon Johnson managed to find a plaice of 1¼lb for the heaviest fish in a match that saw 20 out of 25 weigh in.
A Tynemouth Sunday league match saw 11 out of 17 find fish. Dave Hayley won with eight dabs, three flounders, a coalfish and a whiting totalling 7lb 11oz. Runner-up Ken Robinson had a similar mixed bag weighing 5¼lb, including the heaviest fish; a coalie of 1lb 15oz, and Tony Anderson was third with 4¼lb.
The latest Tynemouth retired members match had a good day and found the fish in the lower Tyne feeding even in floodwater conditions with 16 out of 22 weighing in. The now unavoidable whiting decided to show up and it is not even winter yet with Tony Taylor landing 32 whiting and four dabs for 24lb ahead of Tony Anderson whose 24 whiting, four dabs and coalfish weighed in at 18lb. Third spot went to Bob Gascoigne with 16 whiting, four dabs and a coalfish for 14lb 10oz and fourth placed Dave Scrimageur finished with 18 whiting, two dabs and a cod weighing 13lb 10oz. Doug Spivey’s plaice of 2lb 9oz was the heaviest fish landed.
Seaton Sluice had a measure and release match on the Aln where the small flounders were out in force. Mick Bell had 23 for 9½lb, Neil Lindsay had 15 for 9lb 3oz, with the best at 41cm, and Bryan Clennel had 15 for 8½lb.
Alberta S.A.C. had a trip to Seahouses in far from perfect conditions with settled conditions needed for the best results here. Nevertheless nine out of 27 did well to weigh in. Mark Daglish only needed a single cod of 2¼lb to tie with Darren Browne in first place.
Boats fishing well offshore have encountered huge shoals of mackerel and on some trips it has been difficult to get any bait or lure past them to hit the bottom for the preferred cod and ling. The TJ Gannet out of Hartlepool managed to avoid the mackerel long enough to take cod up to 10lb on red Hokkai type lures during a recent trip.