If it was not for the humble flounder, north east shore sport would be non existent. There are plenty of them around at the present but most are small with the bigger ones tending only to show when there is a bit of colour in the water or when there is a bit of surf running onto the beaches. Parton beach, Crimdon and most of the clean ground Durham beaches have a population of flounder present. Turbot are also being reported from several areas; mainly north of the Tyne, but any clean ground beach can produce them. Anglers are now starting to target them as there is little else to pursue, most are small but some of the bigger specimens have topped the 2lb mark. Ragworm baits tipped with mackerel is generally the most productive bait, both for turbot and flounders. Multi hook rigs cast just at the back of the surf can produce fish two or three at a time. Other than this there is little else to report, the odd whiting and dabs are showing after dark from Steetley and Roker piers, the odd sizeable cod to 3lb has been reported from some of the low water rock edge marks and from South Shields pier and the lower Tyne. Increasing numbers of coalfish are also starting to show around the Tyne area. Gary Wilson and Neil Pringle report taking cod to 3lb during recent sessions on South Shields pier. Dave Swift won a Newbiggin match with a cod of 2½lb, and John Bell won another with two cod and a flounder for 4lb 15oz, a massive weight given the recent reports.
Some clubs are now cancelling the remainder of their winter matches and fishing catch and release in the local rivers where there are at least plenty of smaller specimens to be caught. Hopefully this is just a blip and the comps can get back to normal rules. Barry Wright won an Eastenders match in the Wear with forty-three fish for 853cm, ahead of Andy Rutherford with forty fish for 785cm. John Clark had the longest fish with a blenny of 29cm and the match raised £100 for the “Help 4 Heroes Fund”.
South of the Tees rockling continue to be the main species to be targeted in club matches. The last St. Mary’s match saw eleven out of twenty-two weigh in. Andrew Burton won with five rockling, best 12oz, and one pouting for 2lb 2oz while second placed John Fairbridge had nine rockling for 1lb 15oz. Emma Miller took third spot with four rockling for 13oz. You may think that this result represents pretty desperate fishing, but note that twenty two members turned out and anglers can only fish for what is there and that there is still sport to be had on suitable tackle. Many methods have been tried to “protect” fish stocks over the years, such as the quota system, but really tougher measures now need to be introduced before there are no longer any worthwhile fish to catch. The introduction of Marine Conservation Zones do not seem to be tough enough as these are merely methods to protect what we now have, rather than trying to retrieve what we have already lost. So, to repeat myself, are the above catch reports really where sea angling is going?
There are now several clubs in the Hartlepool area who are unable to decide what to call themselves. If the relevant match secretaries contact me through this site then the situation can be clarified and you can see your match results in print.
The Rutherford’s Seaham Good Friday Open is on April 2nd fishing from 1pm till 6pm between Hendon Groyne (excluded) and Hawthorne Hive. Seaham North pier will have one hundred pegs available, weather permitting. Basic entry is £12 all classes plus optional pools and team events. Top prizes for the first three heaviest fish are £500, £300, and £200. There is a supporting prize table of £2000 based on heaviest bag. Register at the Seaham clubhouse from 10:30 to 12:30; weigh in at the same venue from 6:15 to 7:15.