With the heaviest seas of the autumn so far at the time of writing signalling the start of the winter season, most anglers will have long forgotten about the summer species and will be keen to get out amongst the expected cod when the seas drop off. Those who can’t wait will be fishing the sheltered river marks where there are good numbers of smaller cod, coalfish together with the odd flounders and eels. The river Tyne is on top form with double figure mixed bags of cod and coalfish, both averaging around the 1¼lb mark, and club matches are now regularly being won with double figure weights. The river Wear has lesser numbers of cod and coalfish but usually more flounders and the odd eels as a bonus from the lower river marks. The Durham beaches and Teesbay marks should all produce fish this week; most of the summer weed growth should be long gone and present few problems, although the promenade at Hartlepool might prove difficult at times. Fresh crab will be the prime bait for all areas but anglers are starting to pick more of the bigger fish up on worm baits.
The last Tynemouth A.C. Winter League match saw a third of the thirty anglers weigh in and Gav Owen took an excellent bag of eight cod for 13lb 1oz from the Tyne where Brad Hill also had five cod and three coalfish for 9lb 5oz. Dave Hayley had two cod, a coalie and a wrasse for 8lb 2oz to take third place from the Lobster Potts. Paul Foster had the heaviest fish, a cod of 3lb 10oz from Rocky Island. The Whitley Bay sweepstake saw Brad Hill win with twelve cod for 13lb 13oz beating Ken West who had five for 8lb 11oz into second place. Ken’s best fish went 3lb 7oz. In third place Paul Brown withed in seven fish for 7lb 9oz while fourth spot went to Chris Stringer with three weighing 3lb 9oz.
Cleadon A.C. saw most of the members fish the Tyne and seventeen out of the thirty-seven entrants weighed in. First placed Steve Williams had eleven cod for 13½lb ahead of Steve Elliott who weighed seven for 11lb 14oz. Mark Shotton finished third with ten weighing 10lb 1oz and Richard Landsbury had the heaviest fish with a cod of at 4lb 1oz. Seaton Sluice A.C. also saw the Tyne as the place to fish where Peter Stewart took eight cod for 9lb 15oz and Scott Davidson had five for 7lb 9oz.
Ryhope A.C. had their first winter match on Sunday and found plenty of small codling showing from all areas and a creditable fifty out of seventy weighed in fish. John Topliffe won with six cod for 4195 grams from the Tyne and Lee Burton had three for 3130 grams from the Targets to take second spot. Junior angler Thomas Rutherford had three cod and two flounders for 2410 grams from the Wear, including the best flatfish at 605 grams to finish third. The heaviest fish went to John Nesbitt with a cod of 1110 grams. Next match is Sunday October 3rd from 10am till 2pm.
There are also plenty of cod around the Northumberland rock edges. The first Blyth Winter League match got off to a good start with Nigel Howitt landing ten cod for 17lb 10oz, best 4lb 5oz from Hauxley to finish ahead of the pack. Runner-up Peter Smith fished Druridge Bay to land five for 8lb 10oz while third placed Chris Hall had two cod, two flounders and one a for 6¾lb. D. Taylor won an Amble match with six cod weighing 8lb 6oz, followed by I. Harrogate with four for 5lb 3oz, best of which weighed an ounce over two pound.
None of these fish seem to have reached south of the Tees yet where shore anglers are struggling to find cod in any numbers. Terry Dalton managed three for 5lb, best 2lb 6oz to win a St. Mary’s A.C. match where only three out of twenty found fish, runner up Josh Beckett had a single whiting weighing five ounces. The Redcar Navy and Gentleman’s Club match saw Denis Waring win with a single flounder of fourteen ounces followed by Alex Connell with one at half a pound.
The Seaton Sluice open is on Sunday October 10th fishing from 10am till 2pm between Amble pier and Tynemouth pier. Basic entry is £10, juniors free if accompanied by a paying adult, plus optional pools and team events. First prize is £500 plus a £3000 prize table. Register at the Bank House Club Newbiggin from 8am till 9.30am; weigh in from 2pm till 3pm.