Mackerel have moved back inshore in good numbers now that the westerly winds have flattened the sea off. All of the Hartlepool piers have produced mackerel, mainly over high water, but dredger activity is still keeping the water coloured when working. Lure fishing continues to be successful but float tackle is now taking a lot more fish. All of the other piers have seen mackerel showing in good numbers, and they have now moved into the Tees, Wear, and Tyne estuaries. Those fishing an early morning or late evening session from the Hartlepool piers with worm, mackerel, and crab baits have seen huge numbers of dabs showing, with the odd coalie, flounder and plaice among them. Some anglers fishing an all-night session have reported cod up to 3lb.
Shore anglers continue to target pollack from the Region’s piers, either on lures fished close in to the pier sides or by float fishing with ragworm, mackerel or sandeel baits. Sam Osborne took three all around the 5lb mark, Paul Scott had specimens to 5lb and John Berwick had one of the best landed at 7lb. Many bigger fish have been reported lost on the lift as a drop net is essential for these bigger fish. Calmer conditions have brought the plaice back inshore with the hotspots along the Durham beaches, Roker pier, South Shields pier and the lower Tyne all producing specimens to 3lb on ragworm baits. Some big dabs topping the 1lb mark, and the odd better cod to 4lb have also been taken this way, particularly from South Shields.
A recent Tynemouth match in the lower Tyne saw pollack and plaice in the top bags. John Pearson had two pollack totalling 8lb 5oz, the best weighing 6lb 2oz and Tony Anderson had two plaice weighing 2½lb.
The Northumberland rock edges, up as far as Eyemouth, have seen some nice mixed double figure bags of cod, pollack, coalfish, wrasse and mackerel reported. Unless you are targeting cod with bottom fished crab baits most anglers are now seeing the advantage of float fishing for most other species, and some big cod have also been taken this way. P. Smith won a recent Blyth match at Boulmer with two cod weighing 7lb 5oz, followed by P. Kell with three for a total of 4lb 13oz.
There were some big specimen flounders in the upper Wear at the Golden Lion during a recent Ryhope Tuesday evening match when all anglers landed quality fish over the 1lb mark. Paul Hossack had the best fish of 2¼lb, Jim Dobie had one of 1¾lb and Dave Stokoe had one of 1lb 11oz. The Ryhope club match fished in the Tyne at the Business Park also produced plenty of fish with the odd bigger flounder among them. John Blayney won zone A with 20 measuring 352cm, Terry Mann had 17 for 241cm, Bob Bland had 11 totalling 209cm, and Lee Burton had nine for 201cm. Abigail Redpath had the best in this zone at 36cm. In zone B Steve Harriman had 24 for 489cm, Paul Craig had 27 measuring 410cm, Derek Ross had 19 for a total of 362cm, and Alan Burton had 14 for 334cm. Aung Win had the best at 42cm, and Matthew Win was the best junior with seven fish for a total length of 213cm.
The Bob White Memorial Boat Open saw Gary Allan take the heaviest fish award with a cod of 13½lb, taken spinning gear while fishing for pollack. Colin Dawson took the specimen prize with a pollack of 6lb 11oz, best lady was Ruth Henderson with a cod of 3lb 14oz, and top junior was Cody Armstrong with a cod of 6lb 7oz. Bob Maw fishing on the Topline out of Sunderland had a cod of 21lb, Peter McFarlane fishing in his kayak just off from Cambois had five cod, including two specimens of 14lb. Another kayak angler, Wayne Thompson, landed a cod of 12lb just off from Souter Point. The Sarah JFK out of the Tyne reports trips averaging around 50 to 60 better fish, mostly cod around the 8lb to 10lb mark, topped by one of 14lb taken by Michael Fleming. The Sapphire out of Sunderland has been taking around 100 cod per trip; best around 10lb, and a few ling to 15lb.