There were some nice individual fish and heavy bags of fish reported during the early part of last week with double figure cod, and bags of over 20lb taken from many areas. The heaviest seas of the winter so far, which appeared over the weekend, made most areas unfishable, but the more sheltered areas at Hartlepool, particularly the Pilot pier and Middleton pier, and around the lower Wear and Tyne all produced cod to 6lb or more. Some anglers report lots of loose feed washed out and when this happens any cod are usually reluctant to take any hook baits when there is plenty of free food about. Hartlepool Pirates fished before the sea built up but still found a few small, but welcome, codling about. Steve Swales had a mixed bag of nine fish for a total of 9¾lb, P. Shields had 10 weighing 9lb 7oz, and Bill Bradley had 11 for 8lb.
Paul Golightly had one of the better bags when he won an Easington Welfare match with six cod totalling 27¼lb, the best weighing in at 7lb 10oz and 7lb 1oz. Paul reports loosing one of around 14lb just seconds away from landing it. The Ryhope area has produced several fish around the 9lb to 10lb mark and Dave Redford, had eight cod to 6lb 10oz from Roker. Steve Harvey had a cod of 10lb from Roker beach. Paul Rogers won a Cleadon match with a single cod of 7lb 7oz taken from the very productive Marsden beach.
The Ryhope Tuesday evening sweepstake was won by Mick Davison who was the only angler to weigh in with three cod from Featherbed Rocks at 2lb, 1¾lb and 1½lb. Lots of fish showed up for the Ryhope Sunday match with 58 out of 74 weighing in. The winner, Wayne Harriman, fished the Blast beach to land six whiting and a cod of 1.42kg for a total bag of 4.66kg. Steve Swinhoe finished second with eight whiting weighing 3.49kg from Hill 60, and third placed Paul White had four whiting and two cod for 3.32kg from Marsden. Ken Haley had the best flatfish of 0.88kg, and top junior Lauren Haley had six whiting for an excellent total bag of 2.13kg.
South Shields pier has been productive, when the weather permitted access, with good numbers of cod around 5lb to 8lb reported. Best fish of late was a cod of 17¼lb taken by Mark Tait, and one of 9lb landed by Bill Olly. Mick Dellin won an Alberta match with a 16 fish bag weighing 12lb 7oz. Brad Hill won a Tynemouth match with 10½lb, including a specimen coalfish of 4¾lb. Peter Marshall won a Newbiggin match with 8lb 10oz, including a cod of 7lb 6oz while Billy Foster won another Newbiggin match with 13lb 15oz taken from Bog Hall. Darren Shields won a Bedlington match with five fish weighing 14lb 14oz.
There are plenty of small cod in the Tyne and they are often difficult to avoid, and the Wear still has a good population of winter flounders in the upper river where match anglers continue to fish measure and release tactics. Bob Gascoigne won a match at Claxheugh with 23 for 557cm; ahead of Ken McCoy with 18 for 418cm. Ross Carr had the best at 38cm.
South of the Tees John Nixon won a Redcar Navy and Gentleman’s Club match with a cod of 6lb 5oz taken at Staithes, runner up John Atherton travelled to Hartlepool to take seven whiting for a 5lb 13oz total. Paul Lobley won a St. Mary’s match with a cod of 4½lb from Port Mulgrave, and down at Whitby cod to 10lb have been taken from the piers.
Alberta S.A.C. are holding the Reg Francis Memorial open in the Tyne on Saturday 29th December with fishing from 10am until 4pm between Jarrow Riverside Park at the Police HQ, Church Bank, the Mesh, and Hebburn Marina. Basic entry is £5 plus optional sweeps, register at Jarrow Alberta Social Club from 8am until 9am.
The ever-popular Amble Open is on Sunday January 13th where fishing is from 8am until 1pm between Seahouses South pier and Lynemouth pipe. Basic entry is £12, which includes the heaviest fish sweep. Register at the Radcliffe Club Amble from 6am. All rivers are excluded but disabled anglers may fish from Amble pier. All flounders must be presented for weighing in buckets of water preferably with aerators attached, no plastic bags. Top prizes for the heaviest bags are £400 plus a rod, £300, and £150. Top prizes for the heaviest fish are £300, £200, and £100; the heaviest flatfish get £150, £100, and £50. The ladies and junior top three will get £50, £30, and £20. There is the usual quality supporting prize table. Contact Jim French on 01665-711007 for details.