The heavy south easterly seas last week failed to produce anything of note in the south of the region where shore sport is still reliant upon the ever present flounders, dabs and whiting. Commercial boats out of Hartlepool report that the cod shoals that were chasing sandeels in mid-water during recent weeks have now moved well offshore following the shoals of bait fish. Best fish reported was a fine bass of 9lb taken from a Durham beach mark by Tom Bazley on his first cast of the day.
North of the Tyne codling have shown on occasions from the rock edges and there is a local concentration of cod around the Sunderland and Ryhope areas. Shaun Jones fished Ryhope to land nine cod up to 3lb during a recent pleasure session. A lot of club matches are still being won with just a single fish weighed in, some have suffered with all the entrants blanking, and a lot of anglers are now heading for the local rivers where a good population of winter flounders can be relied upon for a bit of success. Simon Todd and Dave Cruddace fished at Newbiggin and had 11 cod to 5lb between them while Gary Tulley fished Cresswell and had four cod to 4lb.
Norman Spour won a Cleadon A.C. match with two cod weighing 9½lb, best a fresh run specimen of 8lb taken from South Shields pier. Geordie Cooper won a South Shields A.C. match from the pier with three for 6lb 9oz, the best of which weighed 4lb 11oz. Across the river, Dave Wood won a Longbenton match with a two cod bag of 6lb 2oz, including a fresh run fish of 5lb 2oz and Steve Alexander won a S.B.R.A.A.C. match with a single cod of 4½lb from Collywell Bay.
Last week’s Ryhope match saw 40 out of 95 weigh in 60 flounders and four cod. Andy Rutherford fished South Shields pier to win with a single cod of 1.45kg while runner-up Paul Richardson fished the Targets to land two for 1.42k. Third placed Ken Haley had two flounders for 1.04kg from the Glass Centre. Louise Ross had the best flatfish weighing 0.71kg and top junior was Oliver Redpath with two flounders for 0.76kg.
The last Eastenders sweepstake on Wednesday evening saw 19 fishing but only Ernie Hunter weighed in with a single coalfish of 13oz taken from Panns Bank.
South of the Tees cod are also scarce with the humble rockling and flounders being the main target for match anglers. St. Mary’s A.C. fished two recent matches; the first saw nine out of 16 weigh in, John Fairbridge winning with 18 rockling weighing 3¾lb taken from Whitby harbour. Russell Miller and Tony Barker tied for second place each with two flounders weighing 1lb 1oz, followed by Julie Smith with four rockling for 14oz. The second match saw 15 out of 17 weigh in with slugs again the main target. Darren Lister had 12 rockling to weigh-in 2lb 7oz from Cowbar and was followed by Chris Woods with four flounders for 2lb 6oz. The last Redcar Navy and Gentleman’s Club match saw the top two weights taken at Hartlepool where Stan Dowse won with three whiting weighing 3lb 14oz, the best making 1lb 10oz. Frank Harrison took second place with two whiting, a flounder and a dab weighing 3lb 5oz and Vanessa Barker had a flounder of 9oz from Saltburn pier to finish third.
There will be a series of open boat matches held out of Hartlepool over the coming months for private and charter boats. The dates are as follows, the second date is a back up if bad weather cancels the first one. April 9th (23rd), May 7th (28th), June 11th (25th), July 9th (23rd), August 6th (20th), and September 10th (24th). Prizes will be presented to the top three heaviest fish on the day, which must be weighed gutted. Prize money will be 90% of entry with 10% donated to the R.N.L.I. Fishing is from 7am till 5pm, basic entry is £10, register at the Friarage Tackle shop or the Tees and Hartlepool Yacht Club from 6am till 6.30am. Weigh in from 5pm till 6.30pm at the Friarage Tackle shop. No members of the shark family can be weighed in. For up to date information go to www.worldseafishing.com and visit the North East forum, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org, tel: 07814009701 or 01642 769435.