Northern Bites – 29-05-2013

by Steve Walker

Many years ago, a good northerly sea at this time of year would have seen anglers fishing for the spring run of fresh cod, lovely well-conditioned, gold spotted specimens, with fresh peeler crab taking double figure bags of fish. The Hartlepool piers in particular always fished very well for cod during April and May. Unfortunately the spring run of cod has long since failed to appear, and it is so cold that any crab wanting to peel are still buried deep down in the mud and rocks waiting for warmer weather to arrive.

Despite the continuing unseasonal weather and rough seas, plaice are now showing in larger numbers from all areas, a lot are still undersize, but the more productive marks at South Shields pier and Roker pier have seen specimens up to 2½lb landed in double figure bags. Ragworm and crab, if you can get it, are the most productive baits. Both piers have also seen increasing numbers of coalies, up to 2lb, as well as the odd cod of the same size being landed, again best baits are ragworm or crab.

The upper Tyne has plenty of smaller flounders and cod showing and there is always the chance of a specimen flounder over the 2lb mark as well. Darren Browne fished the British Airways car park to win an Alberta A.C. match with nine measuring 191cm; Ian Hodgkinson had the longest fish of 35cm. Further upriver at Scotswood Bridge, Jordan Hunter landed 27 for a total length of 464cm, and Ken McCoy had 31 for 455cm during a recent sweepstake match. The lower Tyne has many undersize codling and coalfish present this year with just the occasional in size fish among them. The Wear has plenty of mainly smaller flounders from the upriver marks at the Timber beach and Claxheugh. There are some bigger fish mid-river from the White Wall marks, and lower down, as with the Tyne, there are a lot of smaller codling and coalfish.

Boat angling is improving when conditions allow with increasing numbers of cod moving onto the inshore, hard ground marks. In some areas, particularly from Tynemouth Northwards, the welcome cod are to be found just a few hundred metres offshore. The Sarah JFK, out of the Tyne, has been taking up to 50 cod a trip with the better ones topping 8lb. The Upholder at Amble reports many smaller cod from the inshore reefs, mostly being returned, with the better ones around the 4lb mark. Private boats fishing between Tynemouth pier and St. Mary’s Island have taken double figure bags of cod up to 5lb mainly on bait. The Famous out of Hartlepool took forty cod mostly around the 2lb to 4lb range, with the best at 12lb.

The dates have been announced for the 2013 Rutherford’s Conoflex Sweepstake League –

  • 16th June 7pm to 10pm Copthorne Hotel
  • 14th July 5-30pm to 8-30pm Copthorne Hotel
  • 11th Aug 4pm to 7pm Tyne Business Park (Penn points)
  • 25th Aug 4pm to 7pm Tyne Business Park (Penn points)
  • 8th Sept 3pm to 7pm Tyne Business Park (Penn points)
  • 22nd Sept 3pm to 7pm Tyne Business Park (Penn points)


All legs are all measure and release and all fish, other than Game fish, count with eels being allocated 25cm. Baits are restricted in that crab, whites and maddies are prohibited. A minimum hook size of 6 applies.

Entry fee for each leg is £10 and further detailas are available from Andy on 01915654183.

The Rutherford’s Cono-flex Open two-day competition takes place on Saturdays 29th and Sunday 30th of June 2013. Entry fee £30 for two days with 100% payout and the match will be pegged over two zones. The first at Copthorne Hotel will host pegs 1 to 40 with 41 to 80 at the Tyne Business Park.

The minimum hook size for this measure and release match is size 4 with all fish counting and eels allocated 30 cm.

Fishing times are 5pm to 9pm on the Saturday and half an hour later on Sunday. Registration is at the Copthorne Hotel car park.

Zone prizes for each day 1st Cono-flex beach quiver rod (value £200), 2nd £50 cash. Overall prize will depend on entry will be paid out to top five over two days last year’s prize fund reached £2250.

More details Andy on 01915654183 or SIR BOB on 07711091491

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