The heavy seas of late have scattered the mackerel shoals with just the odd fish reported from the north of the region. The plus side is that codling have made an appearance in reasonable numbers with the odd bigger fish to 5lb reported on crab baits from the rock edge marks, and fresh run specimens around the 3lb to 5lb mark are also evident. This is very early for these fresh fish, there are plenty of smaller fish around the 1lb mark being taken from all areas, and bodes well for the winter season.
Both the rivers Tyne and Wear are full of small cod around the pound mark and match anglers are enjoying some decent results. The Eastenders sweepstake at Panns Bank saw junior Mason Burton win with a cod of 1¾lb, Lee Brown had one of 1lb 9oz and also took third place with a shad of 1lb 7oz in his winning bag of 7lb.
Neil Carter won a Tynemouth Doris Pearson Cup match with three mackerel and a plaice for 4lb 7oz ahead of Brad Hill who weighed two cod for 2lb 10oz. Third spot went to Jai Thompson with a cod and a plaice weighing 2¼lb. The Tynemouth retired members match saw John Cain win with two mackerel and a plaice for 4lb 13oz, his superb plaice of 2lb 13oz was the heaviest fish. Runner-up Tony Taylor had two flounders, two dabs, a cod and a plaice for 4lb 7oz and Neil Carter finished third with three flounders and two mackerel for 3lb 5oz. Dave Heron won a Seaham A.C. match with four fish for 5.11lb, including the heaviest fish, a pollack of 1.66lb.
South of the Tees the last Saltburn A.C. Summer League match saw a good weigh-in at the river Esk where Nick Westgarth won with twenty coalfish and three flounders for 712cm. Andrew Clark had nine coalfish, two eels and a single flounder for 385cm to take second. In third, Bernard Westgarth had thirteen coalies for 347cm and Michael Gray had the heaviest fish, an eel of 1lb 13oz.
Boat anglers are getting some specimen cod and ling when conditions allow them to put to sea with fresh mackerel taking the bigger ling and the larger cod falling to lures. Beginners luck is not a myth, it happens quite often that an angler on his or her first fishing trip hooks into a big fish, but it is the inherent skill that lands this first time monster. Tom Lowe was the latest recipient of this accolade when fishing from the Sarah JFK out of the Tyne. After catching a few small cod he changed to a fresh mackerel bait which was immediately grabbed by a monster ling of 28lb. An unknown angler on the Miranda out of Sunderland had a ling of 29lb, John Rae on the Upholder out of Amble had one of 21lb and Matty Walker on the same trip had one of 15¾lb. Some big cod have also made an appearance; Terry Cleary had one of 16lb 14oz on the Barracuda off Sunderland.
The Terry Woods Open Boat competition did not see any fish as big as these but Jason Bainbridge took a ling of 16lb 1oz to win the over 20 ft section from the Swordfish, and Richard Roll won the under 20ft section on his own boat Stingray with a cod of 13lb 1oz.
There are plenty of quality fish from the inshore hard ground north of the Tyne. Walter Turnbull and Paul Conroy fishing on the Charlotte off Burnmouth had cod and ling to 8lb, pollack to 10lb, and wrasse to 4lb.