With settled conditions, shore sport is relatively quiet during daylight hours with flatties, small whiting and coalies making up the majority of catches. Few cod have been reported in the south of the Region with the better results again mainly north of Seaham, though they have not been evident in any great numbers. The best of the catches have been coming from the rock edge marks after dark and from the rivers Wear and Tyne. Down at Hartlepool and along the Durham beaches, a slight bit of surf running after dark has resulted in a big improvement with large numbers of sizeable whiting and some big winter dabs moving inshore, and many anglers continue to report double figure mixed bags. As with previous weeks any worm, mackerel, or squid based cocktail baits have taken fish two at a time. Those anglers who can cast decent distances over the sandbars have reported the odd cod around the 4lb mark. South of the Tees some cod are starting to show at last to give anglers a break from the usual whiting and rockling. Paul Lobley landed a cod of 10lb 1oz from Cowbar Jetty taken on fresh crab bait during a pleasure session. Paul then went on to win a St. Mary’s A.C. match with two cod totalling 4¼lb taken from Runswick bay.
Darren Welsh won a Ryhope sweepstake with a cod of 2½lb taken from the Targets, followed by Terry Mann with a nice specimen whiting of 1lb 7oz and Ritchie Carr with a cod of 1lb 6oz. An earlier Ryhope club match last Sunday saw a good turnout of 64 anglers, Bob Surtees being the top rod with a five fish mixed bag of 2.85kg taken from the Tyne which included a superb fat winter flounder of 2lb 5oz. Chris Hossack had six for 2.40kg, and Lee Burton had six for 2.10kg. Junior angler Matthew Winn was on top form again from the Tyne landing six fish for 1.74kg, which included the heaviest roundfish, a whiting of 1lb 2oz.
The last Ryhope match again saw 64 fishing with 30 weighing in cod, whiting, and flounders. The better bags came from the Tyne where Barrie Stowells winning bag of two cod and two flounders weighed in at 3.82kg. Barrie cleaned up by taking the heaviest fish prize with a cod of 1.23kg, and the heaviest flatfish, a super flounder of 0.89kg (2lb). Bill Bell was second with six whiting and one flounder for 1.74kg, Lee Burton had six whiting weighing 1.60kg. Matthew Winn was top junior and well up the weights with six whiting for a total of 1.26kg.
The Longbenton and Seaton Burn Ronnie Houston Memorial match on Tynemouth pier produced a good weigh in with all 17 anglers taking mixed bags of cod, whiting, coalfish, dabs, and flounders. Brian Clennel won with 11lb 3oz, Dave Jones Snr. had 9lb 13oz, Paul Batey had 7lb 14oz, and Terry Brennan had 7lb 13oz. Barry Smith won a Blyth match with two cod for a total of 7½ lb, the best of which weighed 4lb 9oz, landed at Amble. Alan Naisby won a Bedlington Station match with a mixed bag of 9lb 11oz, including the heaviest cod of 2lb 2oz.
The 28th Seaham Town Council Open last Sunday saw 33 anglers out of 139 weigh in 66 fish for a total weight of 125.5lb. First prize of £350 went to D. Mould for a cod of 5.75lb, ahead of S. Golightly with one of 4.51lb, and D. McReady with one of 4.02lb. S. Golightly also had the heaviest bag with four fish weighing 6.74lb and shared the team event with partner C. Stringer. D. Mould fished by himself but still took second place in the team event with two fish for 6.71lb. Top lady was Rita Clark with a whiting of 0.80lb.
Anglers are urged to complete a sea angling survey to give more data regarding the regions fish stocks. Sea Angling 2012 is the biggest survey of its kind. I hope that by taking part we can give an accurate assessment of how our sport is doing and allow the monitoring of fish stocks.