A change to summer like conditions at last, and a period of south westerly winds to flatten the seas off brought an instant response from the vast mackerel shoals just offshore. They moved within reach of the shore angler, and all of the region’s piers have produced some big bags of over 40 fish a session. Early morning tides have been the best with Roker pier in particular producing a lot of fish to lures. The more traditional method of float fishing is starting to pick up a few more fish, but those anglers lure fishing over the hard ground at Seaham, Roker, South Shields, and the deep water rock edges north of the Tyne have had the bonus of coalfish, pollack and the odd cod all taking various lures. Dunstanburgh Castle has produced big bags of coalies as well as pollack approaching the double figure mark. These bigger pollack will also take float fished baits and several rock edge marks north towards Eyemouth and St. Abbs have been particularly productive for pollack and the coalfish. Down at Hartlepool where float tackle is more traditional all of the piers have seen double figure bags taken with the bonus here of a rare shad taking small lures or small strips of mackerel. At other times a late evening and night time session has produced the inevitable hungry whiting and various flatfish species with dabs, flounders, and plaice all taking ragworm and mackerel baits from the Hartlepool piers and Durham beaches. Those fishing fresh mackerel baits have reported taking small turbot and the even rarer brill.
The region’s rivers of course are full of flounders, coalfish, whiting, eels, and the occasional cod all seeking fresh crab baits but the upriver marks continue to produce lots of smaller fish to ragworm and mackerel baits.
The Ryhope Tuesday evening sweepstake in the Wear saw Barrie Stowells win with a nice flounder of 1lb 14oz, followed by a tie for second place with John Lovett and Alan Burton each with flounders of 1½lb.
The Ryhope club match in the Tyne on Sunday saw plenty of flounders showing. Bob Surtees won zone A with 14 for a total length of 334cm, Derek Ross had 10 measuring for 252cm, Bill Bell had seven for 189cm and Chris Hossack had seven for 182cm. Best fish in this zone was a flounder of 36cm taken by junior angler Michael Allison. Stu Bland won zone B with 10 measuring 244cm, Wayne Harriman had 10 totalling 228cm, Terry Mann had eight for 188cm, and top junior Jordan Lowes had eight for 179cm, best fish was taken by another junior when Oliver Redpath landed a flounder of 36cm.
Tynemouth A.C. travelled to Seahouses but the expected fish were unusually quiet in very windy conditions, Dave Hayley did however manage to find two nice cod for a weight of 7lb 13oz, the best weighing 4lb 9oz, to win ahead of Doug Spivey whose single cod weighed 1lb 1oz. Seaton Sluice also fished at Seahouses where Mick Bell won with three fish for 3lb 15oz, and Mal McIntyre had a single cod of 2lb 6oz.
The Whitley Bay summer league match at Newton had much better results with some nice bags of red kelp cod that the Northumberland rock edges are famous for being brought to the scales. Geoff King had a superb bag of four cod totalling 19lb 14oz, including fish of 8lb 9oz and 6lb 10oz, Steve Williams had four weighing 9lb 13oz, Garry Appleton had three for 8lb 7oz and Chris Potts had three weighing in at 5lb 10oz.