Both shore and boat fishing are slow at present with few fish of any size showing, though boats out of Whitby have been taking some decent pollack into low double figures. Shore anglers are struggling with just the occasional in size flounder, dab, plaice and coalfish showing from various areas for those wading through the hordes of undersize fish. When the water has been clear South Shield pier has produced large numbers of smaller coalfish and the odd pollack to both lure and baits, though few have been over the 1lb mark. Small coalfish are taking lures on Steetley pier by those fishing somewhat optimistically for early mackerel. Anglers travelling to Eyemouth have taken numbers of small pollack but it is a little early for the bigger fish to show to the north yet. Fresh peeler crabs are in short supply with water temperatures still below normal for the time of year with just the odd ones showing from the rivers. There is little club activity at present with few sizeable fish to catch but there are regular sweepstakes fishing a 20cm limit in the local rivers for those who feel the need to get out.
If you want some sport with a few better sized fish then you will either need to travel to the Holderness coast where thornback rays, dogfish, bass and the odd smoothound are showing in increasing numbers, or travel to the various Cumbria marks for good numbers of flounders, dogfish and the odd bass.
Hartlepool W.C.S.A.C. have finished their winter league and will re-start in September. Top angler was Steve Brown with a total of 37lb 12oz. Steve fished consistently throughout the winter with few blanks. Paul Blair was second with 27lb 15oz, Paul also had the heaviest fish; a cod of 6¾lb. Mal McGeorge finished in third with 26lb 2oz and Marc Wallace had the second heaviest fish with a cod of 5lb.
The Seahouse Open fished along the Cumbrian shoreline between Harrington and Maryport saw forty-five out of one hundred and thirty-two anglers weigh in sixty-one plaice, twenty-eight flounders, nineteen dogfish, four rockling and a single cod. Maryport angler John Fleming won £684 for the heaviest fish; a dogfish of 2lb 5oz. Steve Smith had the heaviest bag with five plaice, and three flounders for 8lb 1oz ahead of Joe Pattison who weighed four dogfish and a plaice for 7lb 10oz. Third placed Peter Wilkinson had two dogfish and two plaice for 6lb 2oz. Only one junior weighed in, Dan Kirkbride with a flounder of 8oz.
The recent Rutherford’s Open at Seaham saw very few in size fish landed. Andy Little took the top prize of £500 with a scarce cod of 1.06lb from Featherbed Rocks while second placed Neil Martin was £300 better off with a coalfish of 0.83lb taken from the Blast beach. There was a tie for third place with Jason Brown and Mick Quayle each having a flounder of half a pound taken from the North pier. Jason also had the heaviest bag with two flounders for 1.38lb. Andy Little and Gareth Gardner took the team event with a total of 1.42lb.
A recent sweepstake on the Tyne at the Copthorne Hotel saw all of the thirty-nine competitors land fish on a measure and release basis. Bob Gascoigne won zone A with fifteen fish for 353cm followed by Pauline Ferry with fifteen for 346cm and Matt White had fourteen for 310cm. In zone B I. Brookes had eight for 203cm to take top place. In second Brad Hill had seven for 156cm while third placed Peter Stewart landed six for 147cm.
Durham Police also fished a measure and release match in the upper Tyne at British Aerospace where some decent flounders and a couple of rare smelt made an appearance taking ragworm and mackerel baits. Winner Peter Chadwick had six fish for 118 points piping Ian Ainsley who had nine fish for 91 points. Third placed Bill Huscroft had four fish for 80 points while Derrick Surret finished fourth with four fish for 49 points. Top junior was Calum Stewart with two fish for 21 points.
Westoe A.C. fished their first summer league match last week but only two managed to weigh in. Mick Jewitt had a 15oz plaice from South Shields pier and John Mac had a flounder of 14oz from the river.
Saturday May 8th sees a heaviest fish sweepstake for boats out of Hartlepool, register at the Tees and Hartlepool Yacht Club or the Friarage tackle shop. Boats leave port at 7am and fish until 5pm with the weigh in at 6.30pm. All fish must be cleaned before weighing. Entry is £10 per angler with a 90 percent payout spread over the top three heaviest fish. The remaining 10 percent going to the RNLI. Contact the Friarage tackle shop on 01429-273145 or email@example.com.