Popular fellow angling writer Jack Melton who wrote a column for the Sunderland Echo for many years passed away recently. Although Jack was well known for his catches of coalfish off Roker Pier which earned him the nick name “coaly king” many may not know that many years ago Jack landed a huge whiting of 4lb 10oz from Roker pier, although this earned Jack many accolades, the one Jack missed out on was having his catch recognised as a British Record, which would still have stood today, simply because he was not a member of the then NFSAS.
Whiting continue to be the dominant species by a huge margin over anything else, one angler reports taking 78 of them from the Pilot pier during a recent night time session. Even when there has been a sea running to produce ideal cod conditions, few cod have been reported simply because the hungry whiting are getting to any baits long before anything else has a chance, so if you have failed to get any cod during the recent seas, don’t despair, as few other anglers have managed to find any either.
Club matches continue to be won with big 20lb plus bags of whiting from the hotspots at the various Hartlepool piers, some of the Durham beach marks, Roker pier, South Shields pier and Blyth beach. The best chance for any cod is to fish the rock edges or low water marks with big baits where there is a slightly better chance of finding any cod. The rivers, although also full of whiting, have produced a few cod to those lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, and the rock edges north of the Tyne have started to see the odd bigger double figure specimens showing. Big double figure spawning cod often move into the Teesbay area during January to March but if the whiting remain in their present numbers then the chances of hooking one of these look to be very remote.
The first Hartlepool Workingmen’s S.A.C. match saw Mal McGeorge win with a mixed bag of whiting and dabs totalling 19¾lb while Paul Blair had a similar bag of 14lb 5oz to take second. Third placed Paul Hornsey weighed in 9lb 3oz, including the heaviest fish; a whiting of 1lb 6oz. Their second match saw Mal win again with the inevitable bag of whiting weighing 11¾lb, Alan Howe had a cod of 3lb 5oz, the heaviest fish plus a whiting for a 4lb 6oz total and Andy Boagey had a single cod of 1¾lb. Next match is Sunday 22nd fishing from 12 noon until 5pm.
Whiting featured in the Ryhope match with 58 out of the excellent entry of 83 weighing in. John Topliffe had 7.20 kg of whiting from Hendon Wall to finish top ahead of Ken Haley with 5.66kg/ Third placed Dave Raymond had 4.3kg and Bob Bland had 4.01kg in fourth. Top junior was Lauren Haley with 2.17kg, Lee Brown had the best flatfish at 0.72kg, and Chris Hossack took the best round fish prize with a cod of 0.82kg.
A Tynemouth Winter League match saw Steve Harper win with seven whiting, five flounders, and one coalfish weighing 8lb 5oz taken from Blyth beach, just ahead of Glen Campbell with 11 whiting totalling 7¾lb from the same mark. John Storey managed to find a cod of 5lb 14oz from Tynemouth beach for the heaviest fish.
South Shields A.C. saw 10 out of 15 land 69 fish for a total of 58½lb, mainly whiting from South Shields pier. Paul McIntyre had 18 weighing 14lb 11oz, Robert Lees had 12 for 10lb 11oz, and Phil Coates had a cod of 2lb from the Tyne for the heaviest fish. Alberta S.A.C. went whiting bashing from Roker pier where 19 out of 20 anglers weighed in. Mark Daglish had 41 weighing a total of 30lb 7oz, Paul Farrell had 28 for 25lb 15oz and Darren Browne had 28 weighing 17lb 15oz. Cleadon A.C. also found the whiting showing at Roker with winner Mark Shotton landing 23 totalling 17lb 10oz, Steve Gordon had 12 for 12lb 10oz, and Trevor Green had seven weighing 5lb 10oz. Terry Wood fished the rock edges to land the heaviest fish, a cod of 4lb.
S.B.R.A.A.C. took all of their whiting from Blyth beach, with a few bonus cod also showing. The winner Gary Wilson had four cod, the best weighing 6lb 5oz, and four whiting for a total bag of 17lb 7oz. Second placed Kevin Moffat had two cod and two whiting for 6lb 2oz, and Tony Gray had a single cod of 3lb 14oz. A Whitley Bay match produced a nice cod of 11lb 3oz for Mick Clark taken from Hartley, which together with a single whiting produced the winning bag of 12lb 1oz, ahead of Gary Wilson with eight whiting weighing 4lb 10oz from Blyth. A Northumberland Sea League match fished at Amble surprisingly only produced the odd fish for most of those fishing. Chris Guthrie landed a fine cod of 9lb 14oz, and Geoff King managed one of 6½lb.