Shore sport has slowed down considerably over the past week, particularly south of the Tyne where large sprat and sandeel shoals are reported just offshore. Sandeels, sprats and herring shoals are known to overwinter every year close in along the north east shoreline. This year is reportedly an excellent breeding year for sandeels and they are present in huge numbers giving any hungry cod an easy food supply which deters them from hunting down the angler’s bait. The Farne Islands Nature Reserve yearly report is an interesting one, as it records a very good year for many sea birds chicks surviving in good numbers due to the large sandeel population, and also records that those species of dolphins, porpoises and whales etc. that prefer colder water are now being replaced by rarer warm water species.
The best cod catches have been north of the Tyne where some anglers continue to pick up the odd double figure bag and the rivers Wear and Tyne where some smaller codling are still being taken. Elsewhere it is the reliable whiting, dabs, flounders and small coalfish that are being taken on worm, mackerel and squid baits. The Pilot pier at Hartlepool produced a cracking surprise winter plaice of 4lb 2oz for one angler last week that was sportingly returned after being weighed. Big spawning cod should be moving into the Teesbay area over the coming weeks and these fish can turn up at any time. The first reported possible encounter was from an angler fishing the promenade at Hartlepool who reported losing a fish of well over 20lb which stripped nearly all of the line from his reel whilst making its escape.
Lynemouth Beach was productive again early last week where Ivan Stott had a 25lb bag of cod, the biggest brace of which weighed 5lb 7oz and 5lb 6oz. Richard Noble’s 16lb catch included a prime fish of 9lb 2oz. The Amble area has produced the odd better specimen where Ally Robinson had one of 11lb and Robert Hall one of 6lb.
With a few exceptions club competition results now demonstrate how difficult it is to find sizeable fish. The Tynemouth Christmas match saw eight out of 50 weigh in and Graham Bennet won with a superb winter flounder of 3lb from the Tyne, followed by Dave Hayley with a pouting and a flounder for a total weight of 1lb 14oz. The Tynemouth retired member’s match was won by Ken Robinson with two dabs and one flounder for 1lb 14oz. Dave Cruddas was the only one to weigh in during a Seaton Sluice match landing a single fish of 6oz from the Tyne. Cleadon A.C. normally have a good weigh in but only three out of 30 weighed in for their last match. Andy Grieff took first place with a cod of 2lb 6oz from the Tyne and John Newcombe also had a cod of 1lb 7oz from the Tyne to take second. Bedlington Station had a better result with winner Darren Shields landing a single cod of 6lb 5oz.
There are plenty of sweepstake and open events on over the holiday period including the Seaham Boxing Day Open which is fished from 11am till 4pm, basic entry is £8, plus optional pools, team event, and sealed weight. Register at the clubhouse from 9am till 10am.
The Easington Colliery Rovers Open is on the 27th fishing from 10am till 3pm between the Green Wall at Seaham to the Heugh (excluded) at Hartlepool. Register from 8am till 9.45am at the Easington Colliery Club. Basic entry is £8 plus optional pools. First prize is £400 for the heaviest fish and £300 and £100 for the top two heaviest bags. Juniors and ladies each win £50, plus there is a supporting prize table worth £1100. One prize only per competitor.
Sunday January 23rd sees the Barry Tweddle Memorial match fished from 9.30am till 1.30pm between Tynemouth pier and Amble pier. Basic entry is £10 plus the usual pools. Juniors are free but must be accompanied by a paying adult. First prize is £1000 for the heaviest bag, and £500 for the heaviest fish, plus a full supporting prize table including a one week fishing trip to Iceland. Register at the Bank House Club Newbiggin from 7.30am, weigh in same venue until 3pm. Tickets are also available from selected tackle shops. Contact Mick Bell 07974 369897