For some anglers the winter cod season has already started, but only for those fishing from South Shields pier northwards into Northumberland and up to Eyemouth and St. Abbs where double figure bags are becoming increasingly common. South of the Tyne there is a clear divide between the productive clean water marks to the north and the required cod conditions of rough seas, northerly winds, and coloured waters of the Durham beaches into Hartlepool and Teesbay. It might be a while before these areas get those conditions but the signs are that this coming winter will be very good for the cod angler.
A Tynemouth summer league match saw John Robson land seven fish for 13½lb, the best weighing 3lb 13oz, at St. Abbs to win ahead of Chris Robson with six weighing 9lb 2oz, and Dave Hayley with three totalling 5lb 10oz. Peter Smith won a Blyth match with five cod weighing 10lb 14oz at Seahouses followed by Mick Hardy with five for 9lb 1oz, and Keith Smith with three for a total of 7¼lb. Nigel Howitt had the heaviest fish, a cod of 3lb 1oz. Richy Dodsworth fished at Craster to win the last Whitley Bay summer league match with a two cod bag of 9lb 10oz, the best a nice fish of 6½lb, Garry Appleton had three for 8lb 3oz, and Mick Clark had two weighing 6lb 11oz. Darren Gains won an East End match with a single cod of 4lb 10oz.
If you want to travel a bit further in the opposite direction then the Skegness shoreline has been popular with N.E. anglers seeking to catch the smoothhound that frequent this area with some anglers taking up to 12 fish to 12lb in a single session.
The river Tyne has some nice cod showing with fish up to 6lb reported from the mid river marks with smaller cod, coalfish and plaice showing from the lower estuary. South Shields pier continues to be productive for a variety of species. A Fishermans Locker heaviest fish sweepstake saw Robert Lees land a cod of 4lb 11oz, and Andy Rutherford had one of 3lb 3oz.
The river Wear has lots of small coalies in the lower river with anglers fishing measure and release matches taking over 40 fish a session. The Glass Centre is a popular venue and has seen some big flounders landed among the coalfish. The Ryhope Tuesday evening sweepstake saw Neil Smith win with a flounder of 11oz followed by Micky Davison with a coalfish of 10oz. The Blenny Hill sweepstake fished at the White Wall in the Wear saw Paul Edwards win with three fish measuring 100cm, Geordie Heron had three for 99cm, the best a cod of 44cm, and Peter Moir had one of 35cm.
Seaham North pier is now closed for construction work and the previously closed South pier is now open only to anglers who have passes, being a very heavy ground mark it may produce some surprises over the coming months.
Boat anglers have struggled with the recent strong winds but the Lone Shark out of Hartlepool had a good recent trip taking plenty of mackerel, cod, and ling. Declan Gordon had the best cod at 10lb and Steve Tate the best ling at 15¼lb.