Another prolonged period of heavy seas has seen a few cod being taken, but only from the more sheltered marks at the North Gare, Middleton and Pilot piers at Hartlepool, and from the sheltered river marks. With massive seas over the weekend few anglers bothered to venture out, but just prior to this some reasonable mixed bags were taken from the lower Tyne and Durham beaches. Best catch reported was a five cod bag of 16.9lb, the best weighing 9lb, taken by Jon Coussons from the lower Tyne. Mick Adams fished the lower Tyne to win a Cleadon A.C. match with two cod totalling 6lb 6oz, including one of 4¼lb. South Shields pier was awash and unfishable over the weekend but a few days earlier Mark Robson won a local match with two cod weighing 6lb 3oz, and again the best was 4¼lb. The usual marks along the Durham beaches saw cod to 4lb landed; Seaham North Pier also produced a few cod as well as the odd dogfish that seem to favour this particular area.
Roker pier was also productive with a return of some big whiting, but until the sea dies down you can choose between either fishing the rivers, a small number of sheltered shore marks or waiting until later this week. When boats have been able to get out, they have reported reasonable numbers of cod just offshore. With big tides this week, and continuing Easterly winds forecast, some big cod are likely from the Hartlepool piers, if conditions allow. There is still a good chance of a big double figure fish showing well into next month, so saving your bait until the end of the week may be a good option.
The last Seaham match in suitable conditions saw 18 out of the 56 anglers land 25 fish for 26lb. Paul Westmoreland fished the Blast beach to take six for 9.10lb, the best a cod of 4.12lb. George Curry fished the North pier for a dogfish and whiting bag of 2.39lb, and Steve Simpson had a cod of 2.17lb from the Blast beach.
Barrie Stowells managed to find a cod of 5lb to win the last Ryhope Tuesday evening sweepstake, Chris Hossack had one of 3lb, and Bob Surtees had one of 2lb 10oz, all fish were taken from the base of South Shields pier, one of only a handful of places safe to fish anywhere along the N.E. coast during very heavy seas.
The upper Wear is a good bet for some flounder sport with specimens to 2lb reported from the Business Park, Claxheugh, and the Timber beach. In the lower Wear, Sunderland Council and Sunderland University have agreed to allow free access to the Glass Centre for fishing matches only after 6pm on weekends, clubs wanting to organise matches here should contact the appropriate authorities first to arrange access. Another piece of more affective good news is that a 40,000 square mile block of the North Sea between Scotland, Norway, and Denmark will close for cod fishing for 12 weeks starting February 12th 2014 to allow spawning cod peace to do so without being targeted.