Still no confirmed reports of any numbers of mackerel from any of the regions piers and with a bit of movement on the sea again they will not be in any hurry to arrive. Those who have lure fished, when there has been a brief period of settled weather, have reported mainly small coalfish, pollack and cod taking various lures. The more fortunate anglers have taken pollack to 4lb, cod to 3lb, and coalies to 2lb on lures from Roker pier, South Shields pier. From the deeper rock edge marks north of the Tyne spinning can be productive while hitting the kelp beds with fresh crab for the red cod. Many anglers are now targeting pollack, by either float fishing or lure fishing and they are showing up in increasing numbers every year. A four-pounder is a realistic target and reports suggest a 13lb specimen was taken from the lower Tyne last week. Plaice are now a well-established species and ragworm baits continue to take specimens up to 2lb or more from any of the Region’s clean ground marks. A big flounder, dab or a bass can be seen as a bonus, and those fishing fresh mackerel or bluey baits can expect turbot to show up.
South Shields pier is always a good choice of venue for a variety of species with coalfish and plaice the main species to expect. A South Shields A.C. monthly sweepstake saw Mark Robson win with six coalies weighing 3lb 15oz. Second placed Mark Wilkinson had a single cod of 3lb, and Nigel Gemmell finished third with 1lb 11oz. Tynemouth A.C. retired members fished Tynemouth pier where Bob Gascoigne won with a pollack of 2lb 3oz, Ken Robinson had two flounders and a dab for a total of 2lb 2oz and Tom Sawyer had the same for 1lb 15oz. Pollack up to 5lb were reported being lost trying to land them on the pier.
There are plenty of fish in all of the Region’s rivers, flounders are the main species of course, but cod, coalfish and the odd whiting or bass can also be expected. Eels have just started to show in numbers and when they are out in force even the masses of small flounders do not have much chance of finding any bait first. Nearly all club matches are now fished on a catch measure and release basis with weights estimated by length.
A recent Ryhope evening heaviest fish sweepstake in the Wear saw 27 fishing. Derek Ross won with a coalfish of 1¼lb and runner-up Bob Surtees had a flounder of 1lb 2oz. Third placed Barrie Stowells had a coalfish of 15oz. Their club match last weekend in the Tyne only saw 23 fishing due to the shortage of peeler crab that are now selling for £1 each. Tommy Tate won zone A with 15 fish measuring 292cm, Daniel Tate had 14 for 278cm, Bob Surtees had 12 for 268cm, Stu Bland had seven for 144cm. The longest fish in this zone was a flounder of 30cm taken by Abigail Redpath. Alan Marsh won zone B with 10 for 182cm, Paul Craig had 10 for 167cm, Paul Richardson had eight for 139cm, John Blayney had six for 126cm, and John Lovett had the longest at 30cm. Lots of smaller fish were taken on the day but the monster flounders of the upper Tyne failed to show.
East End A.C. had a match in the Wear that produced some nice flounders. Patrick Farrier had three totalling 2lb 5oz, Nick Robson finished one ounce behind, and Dave Delaney took third place with 1¼lb. S.B.R.A.A.C. fished the Tyne and found lots of small eels evident on the day. Ian Galbraith had 12 fish for a total length of 361cm, Steve Alexander had 10 for 282cm, and Phil Smithson had seven measuring 212cm.
Seaton Sluice fished one of the regions smaller rivers, the Coquet at Amble, and found plenty of flounders there. Marty Pagnal had 10 for 10¼lb, the best measuring 40cm, Adam Burns had 10 weighing 9lb 1oz, and Dave Price had nine for 9lb 1oz.
The popular Silloth Open saw 25 out of the 54 entrants weigh in 270 fish consisting of flounders, dabs, plaice, eels and bass. All anglers had fish though some with smaller bags did not attend the weigh in. Bill Lindfield won with 26 fish for a total of 195 points, Chris Stringer had 28 fish for 188 points, A. Cole had 14 fish for 180 points. P. Crellin had the best fish, a flounder of 40cm. Individual zone winners were I. Crowther winning zone A with 15 fish for 170 points, Phil Skinner zone B with 17 fish for 109 points, M. Taylor zone C with 19 for 97 points, and B. Shepherd zone D with nine for 115 points. Top woman was Heather Lindfield with seven fish for 104 points. All of the popular Cumbria and Solway estuary marks have large numbers of flounders showing with Port Carlisle a popular venue for bags of over 30 fish taken by pleasure anglers.