With the hot, summer weather, mackerel anglers have been out in force, but small tides and high pressure always seems to put the mackerel off, and a lot of dredger activity around Hartlepool and the Tees has kept the water coloured at the North Gare and other Hartlepool piers. As a result, catches are well down but lure fishing has still accounted for bags into lower double figures. Further north where the water is cleaner, the piers at Seaham, Roker, and South Shields have seen better numbers showing with the added bonus of a decent pollack, coalfish or cod.
Anglers are now targeting pollack by float fishing with either ragworm or sandeel baits and specimens to 6lb have been taken from several marks around the Tyne and Wear shoreline. It looked a promising start to the year for summer plaice but they seem to have been quite scarce lately with only the lower Tyne marks producing them in any numbers. Big tides this week should see a big difference with mackerel back inshore in numbers and the beaches producing plaice, bass, turbot, and possibly the odd ray or spurdog.
North of the Tyne the rock edge marks have also slowed down a little bit but Eyemouth and St. Abbs have both produced double figure bags of cod, pollack, coalfish, mackerel, and wrasse with a lot of anglers now realising the potential using a float for these species. The last Whitley Bay summer league match at Newton saw eight out of the 28 entrants weigh in as they struggled to find fish. Steve Williams managed two for a total of 6lb 7oz to win the event while Chris Potts finished second with a single fish of 5lb 15oz, and John Hepton in third had two weighing 4lb 11oz. Andy Robson won an Eastenders match in the same area with two fish totalling 7lb 14oz ahead of Leon Stewart whose two fish weighed in at 7¼lb and included the heaviest fish of 4lb 15oz. Blyth A.C. fished at Dunstanburgh Castle where Chris Kell won with two cod weighing 6½lb.
Good numbers of plaice showed in the last two Tynemouth A.C. matches. Their Sunday league match saw 12 out of 26 weigh in a mixture of plaice, dabs and flounders. The winner, Mick Bell had seven plaice, the best making 1lb 13oz, and three dabs for a total of 9lb 1oz. Dave Hayley finished second with six dabs and a plaice for 3lb 14oz, and Jeff Mole had the best plaice of 2lb 3oz. Their retired members match saw 14 out of 22 find fish with mackerel and pollack showing among the flatties. Wilf Reed won with six mackerel and four plaice totalling 9lb 3oz ahead of Tom Sawyer whose five plaice, two dabs and single mackerel weighed 5lb 15oz. The heaviest fish was a pollock of 4½lb taken by Doug Spivey.
With plenty of fresh mackerel around boat anglers are picking up some better-sized cod and ling. Best cod reported was one of 22½lb taken by visiting Australian angler David Lamb aboard the Sarah JFK out of the Tyne. The Upholder out of Amble produced a cod of 13lb for Tony Crawford, a ling of 15lb for Andy Mackie, and a ling of 12lb 10oz for Rick Fisher. Boats fishing the hard ground off from Roker continue to take good numbers of smaller fish with anything less than 4lb now being returned, and most trips have produced the odd better specimen to 10lb or more. The Sapphire had three productive recent trips averaging around 30 better-sized fish per trip including a ling of 13lb for David Lamp, and one of 15lb for Kevin Ritchie.
The Bedlington Station Summer Open is on Sunday August 11th with fishing from 10.30am until 2.30pm between Tynemouth pier and Seahouses South pier. Basic entry is £10 and juniors are free if accompanied by a paying adult. Top prizes are £200 for the heaviest bag, £100 for the heaviest fish, £50 for the heaviest flatfish, plus a supporting prize table. Register at the General Havelock, East Sleekburn, from 8am until 9am.