Some of you who braved the recent gale force Westerly winds may have been pleasantly surprised to find a reasonable swell brought a few cod inshore with the piers and beaches all producing fish up to 7lb or more with several double figure bags reported. The Hartlepool piers are still short of whiting but some tides have produced cod around the 4lb mark with increasing numbers of fish around the 1lb to 1½lb range. Large numbers of quality winter dabs seem to have replaced the whiting. The low water marks along the Durham beaches from Crimdon Northwards have been productive as well as being reasonably sheltered. A night time session has usually been the most successful. The recent big tides have pushed a lot of cod into the Tyne where double figure bags continue to be taken on some tides with cod showing well upriver of the Tyne Bridge. The river Wear remains quiet, as does Roker pier where just the odd better sized cod have been taken amongst smaller specimens and the odd, very thin, and poor condition whiting. The various rock edge marks from Hendon up to South Shields beach have produced the better results with most of the better cod around the 3lb to 4lb mark.
S. Pearson won a Cleadon match on Roker pier with two cod for a total of 4lb 15oz, the best weighing 3lb, ahead of L. Jackson whose two weighed 3lb 14oz taken from Whitburn Steel. A Seaham match saw 27 out of the 86 anglers weigh in 73 fish for 68.66lb. Gary Pye fished the Blast Ledge to win with 21 fish weighing 18.59lb. Gary Blanchard had five cod at Ryhope for 7lb 9oz, including the best of 3lb 10oz, and Danny Swan had six for 6lb 10oz from the North pier. Paul Robinson won a Sunderland A.C. match with 10 whiting, a cod and a dab totalling 9¼lb.
The Seaham Boxing Day open saw 23 out of 72 entrants weigh in 52 fish for 81.28lb. First prize for the heaviest fish went to John Ward with his cod of 5.83lb taken from the Chemical beach. John Williams had one of 3.90lb from the Blast beach, and Kevin Robinson had one of 3.59lb from Hall beach. Garry Blanchard had the heaviest bag with eight fish totalling 10.11oz from Featherbed rocks and together with Peter Appelby won the team event with 10 fish for 12.71lb.
South Shields pier has seen a few better fish landed but as always some tides are better than others. Rob Oliver won a South Shields match with a cod of 7lb 14oz from the pier followed by G. Stobbs with three weighing 3lb 6oz. On the opposite side of the river Paul Brown won a Whitley Bay match with eight cod for a total bag of 15lb 3oz taken from the Haven. Adrian Breeze had three for 5lb 5oz from Hartley and Kev Burton had the heaviest fish at 3lb. Steve Williams won an Alberta match in the Tyne with 15 fish weighing 19lb 1oz taken at Smiths Dock.
Dave Hayley won a Tynemouth match with two cod totalling 5lb 3oz, including the best of 2lb 10oz at Sharpness Point. Chris Guthrie had five cod for 12lb 1oz in a Seaton Sluice match ahead of Andrew Stamford with three for a total of 11lb 2oz, and Ivan Stott with three for 11lb 4oz. Chris Potts had the heaviest fish of at 5lb 12oz. A Blyth match saw one of the better weigh ins of late. James Paterson won with six cod weighing 17lb 1oz, Ian Greenacre had a five fish bag of 12¼lb, and Nigel Howitt had the heaviest fish of 7lb 11oz. Gavin Brennan had a cod of 12lb 10oz in a 28lb bag at Alnmouth.
The Whitley Bay open is on Sunday January 11th with fishing from 10.30am until 2.30pm between Tynemouth pier and the Plantation at Druridge Bay. Basic entry is £12, juniors free if accompanied by a paying adult. Register at Whitley Bay clubhouse, The Links, Whitley Bay, opposite St. Mary’s approach road from 8.30am until 9.30am. Main prizes are £300, £200, and £100 for the heaviest bags, £150 for the heaviest fish plus supporting cash prizes down to 10th place.