There are still plenty of whiting around the Hartlepool piers and Durham beaches, but with settled conditions the night tides have been the most productive. During the day small whiting, dabs, flounders, the odd early plaice and small bass have been reported. The rivers Tyne and Wear have some specimen flounders showing from the upper marks and there are lots of coalies in the lower estuary marks with the odd cod to 5lb taken from both rivers during the last few days. Roker pier has been quiet with just the odd sizeable coalfish and whiting taken on night time tides although lots of small undersize codling have also been evident. South Shields pier is a little better with cod to 7lb taken recently amongst coalfish, flounders, dabs, whiting, and as with other areas, the odd early plaice.
With sea temperatures allegedly on the increase some species that were unheard of several years ago are now becoming more common. Pollack in particular are on the increase, and thornback rays are also being reported, although there were plenty of these around in the 1950’s and earlier. Arthur Smeaton and Ken Robinson fishing in Arthurs boat “Lazy Days” just off from St. Mary’s Island landed a few cod to 7lb fishing at anchor before having a few drifts over a local wreck when Arthur landed a monster pollack of 13¼lb. There are rumours that mackerel were taken from both Seaham pier and from the back of Coquet Island off Amble at the weekend, if true this is the earliest that they have ever been recorded. Another unusual catch was a haddock of 1½lb taken by Ralph Stevenson from the White Wall in the river Wear.
David Maughan landed a cod of 7½lb from South Shields pier last week, and Duncan Smith had a surprise cod of 5lb 3oz at Panns Bank in the Wear. The upper Tyne has produced some big flounders where junior angler Lenny Davies had one of 45cm, and Ryan Woodhouse had one of 43cm, both well over the 2lb mark. Gordon Grear fished Blyth beach for a night session and landed four specimen flounders plus a nice turbot of 39cm, all taken on mackerel strip. Turbot also seem to be increasing in numbers over recent years and if more anglers used fresh mackerel and sandeel baits some bigger specimens might be taken.
Hartlepool Pirates found plenty of undersize whiting and dabs showing for their last heaviest fish match. Steve Swales managed to find 17 fish totalling 14lb 15oz, including the heaviest whiting 1lb 7oz, Bill Bradley had 15 weighing 10lb 6oz, S. Shields had 10 for 8lb 1oz, and P. Shields had eight weighing 5lb 13oz.
The Ryhope Tuesday evening heaviest fish sweepstake saw Lee Burton win with a flounder of 0.50kg, Ritchie Carr had one of 0.485kg, and Chris Hossack had one for 0.480kg. The Ryhope Sunday club match saw better results for the 58 fishing when Lee Burton had four coalies totalling 1.86kg from the Tyne, Paul Hossack had four coalfish and one flounder for 1.84kg from the Wear, Frankie Terry had four coalfish weighing a total of 1.64kg. Mason Burton had the best fish, a cod of 1.05kg from the Tyne, and top junior was Keiron Jenkins with 0.38kg.