Mackerel remain generally scarce with few reports of any numbers of fish showing. Early morning tides seem to be producing the best results with the occasional double figure bags reported from Steetly, Roker, and South Shields piers. Roker and South Shields continue to produce the odd herring, coalfish, and bigger pollack in among the mackerel. Anglers bait fishing have mainly taken undersized flatfish and coalfish with only the odd better plaice and flounder amongst them. The beaches have fished better with a bit of surf running and some bigger whiting continue to be taken on night tides.
Float fishing and lure fishing for pollack from the deep water rock edges north of the Tyne are gaining in popularity. Dave Cruddas taking one of 5lb 8oz at Beadnell while Andrew Stanford took one of 5lb 2oz on a spinner.
The river Tyne is a hotspot for match anglers fishing 20cm size limits with plenty of flounders and eels showing from the various upriver marks where worm, crab, and mackerel baits have all taken fish. The Wear is a bit less productive but still has bigger flounders and eels showing. Both rivers continue to produce enough specimen flounders and eels over the 2lb mark to make a visit well worthwhile.
The Rutherfords Conoflex League saw sixteen fishing the Tyne at the Copthorne Hotel with everyone landing fish. Paul McIntyre won with eleven fish for 279cm. Paul was followed by Bob Gascoigne who had eight for 198cm and Steve Potts with eight for 194cm.
The Ryhope sweepstake on Tuesday saw thirteen fishing the Business Park in the Wear where only three managed to weigh in. Darren Welsh had a flounder of 1lb 4oz for top spot. Second went to Wayne Harriman with one of 1lb and in the final placing was Anthony Lowther with one of 12oz.
The Eastenders sweepstake at Claxheugh in the Wear on Wednesday also saw all sixteen anglers weigh in. Paul Howard had the heaviest fish, a flounder of 1lb 7oz to finish first. The other places were filled by Steve Moore with 1lb 6oz, Ernie Hunter on 1lb 5oz and Dave McReady with one of 1lb 3oz.
The East End and Hendon sweepstake on Thursday saw Brian Turnbull win with a coalfish of 1lb 8oz from the Timber Beach. Paul Hossack in second had a flounder for 1lb 6oz and Geoff Moon was third with a flounder of 1lb 1oz.
The Ryhope club match on Sunday moved to the Tyne and those twenty-seven fishing were well rewarded with some quality flounders showing on the top of the tide and all the anglers weighed in. Bob Surtees won zone A with eight fish for 162cm, Michael Allinson also had eight for 152cm, Gary Warwick had 132cm, Bill Kennedy had 129cm. The longest fish was a flounder of 33cm taken by junior angler Lauren Haley. In zone B John Bryan fished mackerel strip to take twelve fish for 410cm, Bob Bland had 342cm, John Lovett had 309cm, Paul Richardson had 284cm. The longest fish in this zone was a superb flounder of 42cm taken by John Surtees. Top junior was Jordan Laws with 186cm.
On Sunday eleven anglers weighed in at the Eastenders Open at the Business Park in the Wear. Jim Dobie had four fish for 137cm, Chris Hossack and Dave McCready tied for second with two fish for 67cm and Chris Stringer was fourth with two2 fish for 64cm. Chris Hossack had the longest fish, a nice flounder of 47cm.
Davey Foster took his four year old daughter Molly to Panns Bank in the Wear for her first angling trip, Molly baited up the best she could and cast out a couple of yards, while her dad cast right out. Molly’s rod soon started to dip down with a bite and she soon had a plump flounder on the bank. Re-baiting and casting out again Molly had to wait ten minutes for her next fish, another nice flounder to beat her dad two nil.
Mackerel fishing has also been quiet south of the Tees at North Gare and Saltburn piers. The last St. Mary’s club match was a mackerel only event with four out of the ten anglers weighing in fourteen fish. Terry Dalton had seven for 7lb 15oz and first place, best 1lb 5oz. Mick Smith was second with four for 4lb and Darren Lister had two for 2lb 2oz.
The Redcar Navy and Gentleman’s catch and release club match saw a few surprises turn up. Nine out of fifteen weighed in ten flounders, three bass, three weavers, two coalfish, a spurdog and a thornback ray. Dave Allinson won with five flounders, two coalies and a weaver for 137cm. Second placed Fraser James had the lone thornback for 76cm which was also the longest fish and Rob Jackson Snr was third with two flounders and a bass for 66cm.
The Redcar A.C. match saw twenty anglers fishing at Marske Groynes where fourteen weighed in seventy-four fish. The bulk of the catches were flounders and coalfish with weaver fish, whiting and a single turbot thrown in for variety. Sara Dowse had a good win with eight flounders and seven coalfish for 225cm, Dave Allinson finished second with eleven coalies for 140cm. Third place went to Mike Whincup with seven flounders for 127cm. Bernard Westgarth had the longest flatfish, a flounder of 34cm and Nick Westgarth had the longest roundfish, a coalfish of 14cm.
Boat catches in general has been quite good even in the choppy conditions, anglers aboard JFK taking good numbers of fish with ling to 17lb 8oz, cod to 12lb and catfish to 7lb.