Mackerel are still showing from the piers when the clarity of the water is good, particularly from Hartlepool where they tend to stay a lot longer than elsewhere, and where double figure bags continue to be reported by late season mackerel enthusiasts. Those bait fishing around Hartlepool during daylight hours report lots of undersize flatfish, coalfish and whiting with the odd bigger specimens amongst them, and also some nice sized autumn plaice as a bonus. A late evening or night time session has seen a big change with large numbers of quality whiting quickly moving inshore. Mackerel have also been reported to be taking bottom fished baits and last year some very late mackerel were still being landed in November. Hartlepool Pirates had their first Winter match recently and reported lots of undersize dabs from the pier marks. Bill Bradley travelled to the Wear to land five flounders for a total of 3lb 11oz, Steve Swales fished at Hartlepool to take a four fish mixed bag of 2lb 14oz, including a coalie of 1½lb, J. Watts had three fish weighing 1¼lb, and Adam Dendrickson had a single dab of 6oz. Hartlepool W.M.C.S.A.C. also fished their first winter match which saw Paul Blair win with three plaice totalling 2lb 3oz, ahead of Marc Wallace whose two dabs weighed 9oz and Paul Howard with a single four ounce dab.
Cod, wrasse, coalfish, and pollack are showing from most of the rock edges north of the Tyne with double figure bags winning various club matches. Scott Davidson won a recent Seaton Sluice match with eight fish weighing 11lb 11oz, well ahead of Peter Stuart with a single fish of 1lb. Tynemouth A.C. had a match at Seahouses where Doug Spivey won with a mixed bag of cod, wrasse and coalfish for a total bag of 8lb 5oz, Ritchie Muir had 8lb 1oz which included the heaviest fish, a wrasse of 3lb.
Blyth beach is very much like Crimdon beach at Hartlepool and can fish very well at this time of year on a late evening and night tide. A Whitley Bay match saw Chris Stringer win at Blyth beach with 15 whiting, three dabs and a single flounder for 9lb 2oz, ahead of Iain Galbraith whose three cod and a coalie weighed in at 5lb 7oz from Rocky Island. Gary Wilson had the heaviest fish; 1¾lb. A Blyth A.C. match saw P. Smith win with three whiting, a flounder, and a specimen bass of 3lb 3oz, for a 5lb 5oz total. S.B.R.A.A.C. also fished at Blyth where Iain Galbraith won with four flounders weighing 4¼lb, ahead of Phil Smithson with two coalfish and one cod for 3lb 7oz and Steve Haliburton with a mackerel and a flounder for 1lb 15oz.
South Shields pier and the lower Tyne are producing some big mixed bags of cod and coalfish with some late season plaice and specimen coalfish to over 3lb among them. A local Tynemouth match saw David Craig win with a bag of cod and coalfish totalling 4lb 13oz from the Middens in the Tyne, Doug Spivey had four coalies for 3lb 15oz from the Tyne, and George Charlton had a very nice specimen coalfish of 3¼lb to finish in third place. Chris Potts won a Bedlington match with four cod for a weight of 6lb 13oz from the Tyne, Barry Ord had three for 5lb 12oz from St. Mary’s Island, and Steve Surtees had four weighing in at 5lb 6oz from Amble.
There are lots of mainly smaller flounders in the Wear with coalfish in the lower stretches, and masses of whiting showing after dark on Roker pier. The last Ryhope Tuesday evening sweepstake saw Wayne Harriman win with a surprise bass of 3¼lb from a rock edge mark.