Some bigger cod continue to be reported this week but most seem to be in the north of the region. South Shields pier once again is a favoured mark for mixed bags with a chance of one of the bigger cod showing. Best fish reported was a cod of 12lb 10oz taken by James Sanderson from the pier end, and Rob Hargreaves managed to land four cod for a total weight of 16lb, the best weighing 5lb 14oz. Mark Igo landed a cod of 10lb 3oz from Cullercoats where Keith Ryder also had cod of 8lb and 5lb oz, and Paul Gallon had four cod of similar size. Another session at Cambois saw Paul land another six cod with the best making 7½lb. Down at Roker Dave Redford landed 13 cod, with the two best weighing 8lb 1oz and 6lb, together with two whiting and a pouting for a nice bag total of 40lb, Dave sportingly returned the bigger fish. Alan Robinson had eight cod to 6lb 10oz from Ryhope cliffs.
The lower Tyne has also fished very well on some tides with good numbers of dabs, flounders, whiting, and the odd decent cod to 6lb showing among the smaller ones. The mid river marks are generally quiet, but further upriver the winter flounders are evident in some numbers. The upper Wear is fishing very well for winter flounders with mackerel and worm baits producing bags of up to 40 fish on some tides. In the lower Wear whiting, small codling and coalfish are present on most tides.
The Durham beaches have lots of whiting showing with some specimens topping the 2lb mark, a nighttime session is the most productive and some of the low water marks producing cod to 6lb. The Hartlepool piers once again are overwhelmed with whiting and dabs most of which are on the small side unless there is a bit of sea running to bring the bigger fish inshore. Hartlepool angler Bob Coates travelled to South Shields pier to get a session away from the whiting and landed a best of season cod weighing 6¾lb taken from the clean ground at the base of the pier.
Steve Sanderson won a Seaham Christmas match with two cod totalling 7.66lb, one of 6.93lb taken from the North Pier. No fish of this size were taken during the recent Seaham Town Council Open that saw 26 out of the 83 entrants land 60 whiting, 16 cod, five flounders and a pouting for a total weight of 86.60lb. First prize for the heaviest fish went to S. Paxton with a cod of 5.92lb taken at Noses Point. Runner-up P. Moore had one of 3.24lb from the Blast Beach, J. Coyle had a cod of 3.21lb from the North Pier, and Brian Lee had one of 2.62lb. Fishing from the Blast Beach, Paul Westmoreland had the heaviest bag with his 18 fish weighing 12.48lb. S. Stanlick was top lady with a whiting of 0.86lb, junior winner J. Stoker had a whiting of 0.92lb and D. Wood won the disabled section with a whiting of 1.12lb. The team event went to Paul Westmoreland and Darren Swan with a good total weight of 22.96lb.
The Moonfleet Two Day Open in the river Tyne saw most anglers struggle to land anything of great size with flounders, whiting and the odd smaller cod being the main species landed. On day one G. Smith with 11 fish measuring 244cm, B. Buckley with 13 for 345cm, M. Bell with 15 for 398cm, and B. Gascoigne with 14 for 382 cm all won their respective zones. On day two, the zone winners were G. Gardner with 15 fish for 351cm, J. Dobie with 18 for 423cm, S. Potts with 13 for 319cm, and Bill Buckley with 15 for 375cm. Having won his zones on both days Bill Buckley was the overall winner followed by Bob Gascoigne and Steve Potts.
There are obviously large numbers of cod just offshore, unfortunately without a good sea running they will stay out of reach of the shore angler. The Sapphire out of Sunderland has taken up to 40 cod a day. Uptiding continues to be the favoured technique with cod up to 7lb taking worm and mussel baits.