After a mild winter inshore boat angling has started early this year with cod up to 8lb and small ling being landed in the north of the Region, while down at Whitby ling to 15lb are already starting to show. Arthur Smeaton fished just off from Cullercoats in his boat Lazy Daze taking several smaller cod then one of 8½lb to finish the day off nicely. Allan Kelly had cod to 9lb on the Dogs B, returning many smaller fish. The North Star out of Hartlepool saw skipper Jim Glew and wife Denise take around a dozen bigger fish to 6lb to keep, again returning many smaller specimens, mostly taken on frozen squid. The Sapphire out of Sunderland fishing a late evening trip took good numbers of cod around the 2lb to 5lb mark just off Roker.
There are the very occasional better bags of cod around for the shore angler, mainly north of the Tyne where Mick Bell won a Seaton Sluice match with four for a total weight of 10lb 6oz, the best weighing 4lb 11oz. Dave Delaney had two cod for 7lb 10oz, including one of 5lb 10oz taken at Cullercoats to win an East End A.C. match.
Seaton Sluice A.C. fished the lower Tyne on a measure and release basis for their most recent match with good numbers of coalfish, dabs, and smaller cod showing on the day. Garry Appleton won with 14 fish measuring 401cm, Chris Guthrie had 13 for 371cm, and Mick Bell had 10 totalling 291cm, the best a coalie of 39cm.
The upper Wear still has plenty of flounders to fish for with specimens to 2lb always possible. The mid-Tyne marks have lots of small cod showing but those anglers using crab bait have taken some bigger coalfish to 2lb. The occasional cod to 5lb has been taken from the rock edge marks between Roker and South Shields on a night time tide, and plaice continue to show from most of the clean ground marks, from South Shields pier, Roker pier, Seaham North pier. The plaice are also off the Durham beaches down to Crimdon and Parton at Hartlepool where the odd bigger flounder or smaller school bass can also be taken on ragworm baits.
The last Ryhope Tuesday evening sweepstake saw Chris Hossack win with a cod of 2lb 3oz from Roker pier. The Ryhope club match on Sunday saw 54 fishing with most anglers heading for the upper Wear to fish for flounders. With a bag limit of two flounders per match Pete Wilkinson had two totalling 0.76kg, the best weighing 0.53kg. Top junior Matthew Win had two for 0.74kg, John Porteous had two weighing 0.71kg, and Aung Win had two for 0.53kg.
The recent Bridlington European Open attracted anglers from all over the country but a lot struggled in the relatively calm conditions. Those anglers who could cast the distance were the ones who tended to get among the better fish with cod, bass and thornback rays being the bigger species weighed in. The overall winner was Phil Harrison with 3.71kg, followed by Phil Tong with 3.38kg and Paul Medd with 3.36kg. The pairs match on Saturday was won by Paul Medd and Steve I’Anson with 5.71kg. Top lady was Cheryl Robinson with 1.89kg, and top junior B. Byford had 0.93kg. The best local anglers were Mick Rich from Sunderland with 1.77kg in 18th position, followed by another Sunderland angler Scott Paxton with 1.74kg in 19th place, and Hartlepool angler Martin Booth was 24th with 1.57kg.