Shore sport continues to improve, albeit slowly, with most anglers picking up smaller mixed bags of whiting, flounders, dabs and coalfish. There are some specimens among the catches with whiting to 2lb reported together with some fat winter dabs and flounders. The majority of the fish have come at distance on the Durham beach marks. Cod are still scarce but some anglers have taken smaller fish to 2lb from the low water marks after dark, and from the rivers Wear and Tyne. There are reports of an 8lb cod taken from Crimdon early last week. Roker Pier, South Shields Pier and the rock edges north of the Tyne have seen cod landed but even here they are few and far between.
A recent Hartlepool Pirates match saw Steve Swales win with a mixed bag of whiting and dabs weighing 4lb 15oz while runner-up J. Watts had a similar mixed bag of 4½lb, which included the heaviest fish; a nice whiting of 1lb 11oz. Aaron Dixon took third spot with a single cod of 1¼lb and fourth placed Bill Bradley had a single cod weighing 1lb 1oz.
The club have a meeting in the Stranton Social Club on January 27th at 7.30pm, and their next match is on January 28th fishing from 7pm till midnight.
A Tynemouth Sunday League match saw plenty of fish landed although none were cod. 11 out of 22 competitors weighed in coalfish, dabs, whiting and flounders. Steve Harper brought three dabs and one each of coalfish, whiting and flounder weighing 3lb 15oz to the scales to finish in first. Second spot went to Paul Foster with two whiting and a flounder for 3lb 1oz. Dave Hayley took the heaviest fish prize with a coalfish of 1lb 7oz.
A recent South Shields match saw some smaller cod taken from the pier where R. Lees had two totalling 3lb 7oz and K. Oliver had one of 2lb 7oz. Lyneburn continues to produce a few codling, and Phil Smithson won a S.B.R.A.A.C. match with one of 1lb 13oz from here. Brad Hill won a Northumbria Sea League match with four for 7lb 2oz from Cambois while Bob Ferguson won a Newbiggin match with four for 8lb 3oz when fishing at Hadston. There are flounders in the Wear but umbers remain low; Tommy Tate won an Eastenders sweepstake with a specimen of 1lb 10oz and Malcolm Sopp won an Eastenders club match with four weighing a total of 4lb 3oz.
Seaham A.C. fished for the Coronation Cup with 21 out of 41 landing a total of 30.36lb. John Morrow fished the Blast Beach to land five for 4.44lb ahead of Mel Anderson who fished the pier and weighed in a single cod of 3.38lb. Next home was John Forsyth with four for 3.14lb followed in fourth by Geordie Hope who weigh in two for 2.18lb.
South of the Tees sport is poor with flounders and rockling the main target species. John Hannan did manage to beach two codling weighing in at 2lb 13oz from Port Mulgrave to win a recent St. Mary’s A.C. match. Their previous match saw Terry Dalton win with two flounders, two dabs and a single rockling for 2lb taken from South Gare. John Fairbridge landed eight rockling for 1lb 10oz for second place. Redcar Navy and Gentleman’s Club had two recent matches, the first saw Vanessa Barker win with a flounder of 15oz and the second produced a winning flounder of 1lb 1oz for Fraser James.
The Durham Open on Sunday was fished in calm conditions but the result was a lot better than expected with some double figure bags weighed in when the whiting moving onto the beaches in the last hour of the match. 51 out of 261 weighed in 181 fish for 170.66lb. The £2000 first prize for the heaviest fish went to Hugh Talbot with a cod of 4.64lb. Ray Hutton took second with a cod of 4.11lb and M. Peel was third with a superb whiting of 2.06lb. Fourth placed Jimmy Huntington had a nice whiting of 1.85lb and Jay Kelly finished fifth with a whiting of 1.67lb. Caroline Allmond was the only lady to weigh in, G. Wilkinson won the disabled prize and top junior was Nathan Rudkin with a flounder of 0.87lb. The top three heaviest bags went to Darren Allmond with 11.18lb, N. Gemmel 11.06lb and Jay Kelly 9.79lb.
Sunday January 23rd sees the Barry Tweddle Memorial match fished from 9.30am till 1.30pm between Tynemouth pier to Amble pier. Basic entry is £10 plus the usual pools. Juniors are free but must be accompanied by a paying adult. First prize is £1000 for the heaviest bag, and £500 for the heaviest fish, plus a full supporting prize table including a one week fishing trip to Iceland. Register at the Bank House Club Newbiggin from 7.30am, weigh in same venue until 3pm. Tickets are also available from selected tackle shops. Contact Mick Bell 07974 369897