Durham angler Sam Bland had an interesting trip recently. Taking the mainline train to Newcastle with all of his gear he ended up at South Gosforth having got on the wrong metro train. Backtracking to Felling he then collected his bait, getting back on the Metro to South Shields where he walked to the beach, rather tired by now. Casting out a ragworm and crab bait he relaxed only to then have to sprint down the beach to stop his rod being pulled out of the rest, and after a bit of a struggle managed to land the biggest North East shore caught record halibut of 4½lb.
Sport from the pier and from the lower Tyne marks has improved a lot over the last week with quality coalies, cod, plaice and flounders all showing in good numbers on some tides, with eels and whiting also present. Steve Ratcliffe had a cod of 6lb from the Lifeboat Hut on the pier, with other anglers taking cod to 4lb and coalfish to 1½lb, mainly on crab and mussel baits.
Roker pier has also fished well, and at times has more coalfish present than at South Shields, with anglers taking bags of up to 10 bigger fish as well as bags of up to six cod, best around 4lb. In the Wear, Andy Rutherford won a sweepstake match with 15 fish measuring 316cm; Dave Mould had the longest, a blenny of 31cm. The Ryhope Tuesday evening heaviest fish match fished at Claxheugh saw all 24 anglers land numerous flounders all under the 1lb mark. Dave Alderson had the best at 1lb, Alan Burton had one of 15oz, Jim Dobie one of 14oz, and Derek Ross and Barrie Stowells both had flounders of 13oz.
The Durham beaches have been quiet with just the odd flounders and whiting being the main species to expect. The Hartlepool piers have plenty of smaller dabs showing as usual, with the odd bigger ones among them, flounders, whiting, coalfish, and various other smaller species are present, and dogfish have been reported from the local beaches.
Small boats fishing close inshore between the Tyne and Seaham with worm baits report large numbers of plaice to 3lb over the clean ground marks, and those fishing the rough ground have taken up to a dozen cod to 4lb sometimes just a few hundred metres from the shoreline. The Lone Shark out of Hartlepool had one of the better results taking cod to 10lb and ling to 12lb. The Sapphire out of Sunderland has been taking up to 30 bigger cod, the best around 6lb. North of the Tyne at Amble the Upholder fishing the very heavy ground just offshore has taken up to 80 bigger cod per trip, biggest around 5lb, with many smaller specimens returned.
If you fancy having a trip away then thornbacks have started to show in bigger numbers from the various Cumbrian marks, mainly around Silloth, with dogfish and bass among them. The Withernsea and Holderness shoreline has seen smoothhounds to 8lb landed as well as thornback rays, cod and bass.