The recent heavy seas did not quite produce the expected influx of cod, even the whiting were in short supply on some tides, and the previously fat spawning whiting are now being replaced by out of condition thin specimens. The clean ground pier and beach marks are producing a lot of dabs among the whiting and occasional cod, and some of the better ones are approaching the 1lb mark. Spring flounders are starting to show but most are small at present and some anglers report the very early arrival of small plaice. As with previous weeks the Hartlepool piers and Durham beaches are usually producing big bags of whiting on nighttime tides, and the better, though scarcer bags of cod, are to be expected in the north of the region, mainly from Roker pier northwards.
Roker and South Shields piers have seen the odd better cod to 6lb reported, as well as whiting, coalfish, dabs and flounders. The upper Wear has the bigger population of flounders and the lower Tyne has seen the better bags of mainly small cod, though cod up to 6lb have shown in the mid river at Jarrow.
Paul Hossack won a recent Sunderland S.A.C. match with two fine flounders for a total of 3lb 7oz, followed by Henry Antliff who also had two fish for 2lb 10oz. A recent sweepstake in the Wear saw 24 anglers take part. Jim Dobie won zone A with five fish measuring 170cm, best a monster of 45cm. Neil Cutler won zone B with 10 for 318cm, followed by Steve Rackstraw with nine totalling 263cm.
Big spawning cod can still be expected until mid to late March and may turn up at anytime, particularly in the south of the region. Best specimen reported lately was taken well to the north by Callan Stevens who landed a monster of 18½lb from the Knacker Hole at Beadnell, once again the big fish have fallen to a cocktail bait of bluey and razor. Unconfirmed reports also suggest a cod of around 18lb was landed at Mucky Bay last midweek. Bill Foster had a cod of 9lb 10oz in a three fish bag of 13¼lb to win a recent Newbiggin match; runner up Rob Thirlwell had five weighing 9lb 3oz from Druridge Bay. Kev Moffat had two for 10lb 1oz, the best weighing 6lb 13oz, to win an S.B.R.A.A.C. match. Brad Hill won a Tynemouth match with five cod plus a coalie for a 12lb 1oz total.
The Seaham Friday night Heaviest Fish Badger open saw 26 out of the 65 anglers weigh in 47.77lb. John Williams had the best fish, a cod of 3.14lb, Paul Hossack had one of 2.07lb, and Kevin Gallagher had one of 1.88lb. Mark Bates had the heaviest bag with six for a total weight of 7.54lb.
Paul Riley won the Ryhope Tuesday evening sweepstake with a cod of 2lb 7oz from Ryhope; Dave Mould had one of 1lb 6oz from Souter Point to take second place. Cleadon A.C. had one of the better recent match results with 23 anglers fishing. Mark Shotton fished the Tyne to land seven fish totalling 12lb 9oz followed by Norman Spour with four weighing 8lb 13oz, including the heaviest fish of 3lb, taken from South Shields pier.
Boat anglers continue to take cod just off Whitburn where the Samson 2 took 12 cod to 3lb on ragworm, squid, and bluey baits as well as large numbers of quality whiting. The Sapphire fishing the same ground had 12 cod to 5lb.
The European Open Beach Championship is on Friday March 8th to Sunday March 10th at Bridlington. Total prize money is £35,000 with a Peugeot 107 car for the overall winner. Match headquarters is the Sand-le-Mere Holiday Village, Tunstall. Further details Paul Roggeman 01482-391668 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org