With spring refusing to turn into summer the mackerel seem a long way off yet, though in previous years they have been taken as early as mid-May from the piers at Blyth, South Shields and Roker. Occasionally they do arrive early at North Gare in Hartlepool. None has been reported from any of the charter boats, and those anglers lure fishing from the shoreline have reported taking small coalfish, pollack and herring. Until they do arrive, the piers are producing increasing numbers of plaice, dabs and flounders with whiting showing after dark. The rivers Wear and Tyne are producing flounders but still not in the numbers that should be evident at this time of the year. Peeler crab are still in short supply and sport will remain quiet until the crab show in numbers and entice the bigger flounders to feed.
As a bit of fun NESA organised a crabstick only match at South Shields pier that produced some nice flounders and plaice, including one of 1½lb taken by David Collier. South Shields has produced a lot of coalfish with the better ones topping the 2lb mark and specimen dabs over the 1lb have been taken lately.
East End A.C. fished the Wear with seven out of the 22 anglers finding fish. Bob Maughan had three flounders for a total of 2lb 1oz and Les Henzell two for 1½lb. Northumbria Police fished the Tyne and it produced 11 fish measuring 302cm for Ian Ainsley, including the best fish, a 33cm cod. Second placed Ian Jackson had five fish for 123cm.
The Ryhope Tuesday evening sweepstake at the Glass Centre saw Lee Burton take the top two places with a cod of 1lb 2oz and a coalie of 14oz. Friday evening saw the Seaham Blenny Hill open fished at the White Wall in the Wear. Jim Dobie won with 36 fish for a total length of 873cm ahead of Mick Davison with 19 for 453cm and Jack Clark with 14 totalling 352cm. Seaham also fished a club match on Sunday with five out of 42 finding fish of size. Mark Bresnan had a bag of 2.67lb including a spotted ray of 2.12lb, and Adam Smith had a single fish for 0.89lb.
The Ryhope Sunday league match at the Copthorne Hotel saw Barrie Stowells win zone A with 20 fish for 329cm, the best a flounder of 37cm. Tommy Tate had 18 totalling 320cm, and Paul Richardson had 15 measuring 275cm. Lee Burton won zone B with 22 fish for 510cm, mostly small cod, Bob Surtees had 15 measuring 257, and Alan Marsh had 12 for a total of 181cm. Junior Oliver Redpath had the longest fish, a flounder of 30cm.
The South Shields monthly match saw eight out of the 17 fishing weigh in. Harry Elliott won with two coalfish and a dab weighing 2¼lb, followed by Simon Felstead with the heaviest fish, a plaice of 1lb 6oz. Ken Robinson landed three plaice for a total of 2lb 12oz to win a Tynemouth retired members match, John Pearson was second with two plaice weighing 2lb 8oz and Dave Collins had two flounders for 2lb 3oz. Lots of small undersize plaice were caught on the day.
Boat angling is improving with most of the inshore hard ground marks producing cod to 3lb plus the usual whiting and pouting. The “Sarah JFK” out of the Tyne has taken bags of up to a dozen fish to around the 6lb and 7lb mark. Boats fishing off Eyemouth have taken better numbers of smaller cod and “On a Promise” from Berwick took 103 cod during a recent trip. These cod should now be within reach of the shore angler from all of the popular rock edge marks around St. Abbs and Eyemouth. At Hartlepool the “North Star” reports reasonable numbers of cod to 3lb taking baited lures.
The Rutherford’s Conoflex sweepstake league starts its first of six matches on Saturday June 5th fishing from 7.30pm until 10.30pm at the Copthorne Hotel on the Tyne. Entry is £10 per person with one hundred percent payout catch and release. The remaining matches are on Saturday June 19th, Monday July 5th, Monday July 19th, Wednesday August 4th, and Wednesday August 18th, all at the same venue. Contact Andy 0191 5654183 for details.
The Rutherford’s two-day open match on Saturday June 29th and Sunday June 30th will also be at the Copthorne Hotel and will be measure and release. Entry is £30 for both days with full payout. Fishing is from 5pm until 9pm Saturday and 5.30pm until 9.30pm Sunday.