Mackerel seem to be scarce still with just a few double figure bags reported from the piers at Hartlepool, and fewer fish reported from elsewhere. Big tides this week might make a difference as long as the water remains clean and settled. The flounders in the Wear and Tyne seem to have disappeared also, with the better fish in the Wear and lots of very small specimens in the Tyne, some anglers are now using size 10 hooks to try to catch the tiddlers.
The last Ryhope Tuesday evening sweepstake in the Wear saw 26 fishing with Chris Hossack taking the best at 1lb 2oz. Fresh crab is essential in the Wear but worm and mackerel baits are productive in the Tyne where Ryhope A.C. had their last Sunday match with all 21 anglers catching some of those smaller fish. Paul Craig won zone A with 20 measuring 303cm, Bob Surtees had 15 for 213cm, Alan Marsh had 5 totalling 110cm, and Bill Bell also had five for 101cm including the longest at 35cm. In Zone B Lee Burton had 10 for 183cm, Tommy Tate had eight for a total of 143cm, Daniel Tate was also top junior with five measuring 126cm, John Lovett and Steve Harriman tied each with five for 113cm.
Settled conditions and nice clean water have brought some of the inshore cod population within reach of the shore angler from the rock edges north of the Tyne up to Eyemouth and St.Abbs where there have been several double figure mixed bags of cod, pollack, coalies and wrasse landed in club matches. A Tynemouth away trip to Eyemouth saw Steve Harper win with 12 cod and a wrasse weighing 23lb 15oz, Chris Robson had five mackerel, two wrasse and one pollack for 10½lb, Mick Davis had four mackerel, two pollack, and a coalfish for a total of 7½lb, and the heaviest fish was landed by Paul Forster, a cod of 4lb 14oz. Float fished baits, bottom fished baits and lures all took fish. Andy Crow landed 11 pollack totalling 20lb 13oz from Craster to win the recent Bedlington summer open. Second placed John Blayney had five weighing 14lb at Beadnell, Scott Davison had the heaviest fish, a cod of 6lb 1oz, and top lady Norma Urwin had a turbot of 1¼lb. Darren Browne fished Burnmouth to win an Alberta S.A.C. match with 11 fish weighing 15lb 1oz and Andrew Hodgkinson had the best with a pollack of 4lb 3oz.
Cod are also evident from the piers south of the Tyne with South Shields, Roker and Seaham piers all producing fish to 4lb, some anglers reporting double figure bags of cod on late evening tides.
Plaice have also made reappearance with South Shields pier, Roker pier and some of the Durham beach marks producing specimens over the 2lb mark. Alan Ramsey had a plaice of 2lb 3oz to take the heaviest fish prize in a Sunderland S.A.C. match, and Alan Mitchison had one of 1¾lb in a recent Tynemouth match. Dogfish continue to be taken from the Regions piers after dark with ragworm, mackerel and sandeel baits taking up to six or seven fish during a full night session.
Boat anglers are taking bigger cod and ling now with plenty of fresh mackerel bait for the bigger ling available. Lures are taking the better cod from the offshore marks with baits producing the better fish from the inshore ground to small boat and kayak anglers. Best cod reported was one of 22lb taken by David Woods on the Sapphire out of Sunderland, he also had two others over the 10lb mark, all taken on baited Hokkai lures. Michael Newton had a ling of 18lb and cod to 10lb. Paul Davison had a ling of 30lb on the Sarah JFK, Ken Horne had one of 28½lb on the same trip which also produced other ling to 19lb, cod to 15lb and coalies to 8lb. Ian Wiles had a cod of 14lb 15oz taken from his kayak fishing just off Tynemouth. Down at Hartlepool Colin Setterfield took a ling of 15lb 6oz on the North Star during a trip that also produced many cod over the 3lb mark with the smaller specimens being returned.