Northern Bites by Steve Walker – 27th April

by Steve Walker

Shore sport continues to improve with better numbers of small cod, coalfish, whiting, and various flatfish species from most areas.  The river Tyne has been the hotspot with double figure bags of cod and coalfish reported with some anglers taking fish two at a time on crab and ragworm baits.  Most fish however, are well under the 1lb mark.  The river Wear has also seen an increase in smaller cod and coalfish, but sizeable flounders remain scarce and some midweek sweepstake matches fishing a 20cm size limit have once again blanked.  South Shields Pier has seen a few smaller but size cod and coalfish and there are unconfirmed reports of a 3lb 9oz halibut landed at the weekend.

The Durham beaches are generally quiet, distance casting has picked up a few plaice during daylight hours and the odd size whiting have moved inshore during a late evening tide.  The Teesbay area has been quiet with few size fish reported but all of the local piers have seen small dabs and flounders showing to worm and mackerel baits.  Brightly coloured dragonets seem to be showing in numbers this year, the male fish is highly coloured with purple streaks, they look a bit mean with sharp spines but do not sting, and can be safely handled with a damp cloth.

Six members of the Ryhope club travelled over to Silloth to escape the rather depressing fishing in the Wear and were rewarded with over 100 flounders to 42cm caught on crab and mackerel.  Fishing with barbless hooks they were all returned alive.

South of the Tees shore sport is reliant on the odd size cod from the rock edges, with pouting, rockling and flatties showing from the piers.  The last St. Mary’s match saw 5 out of 11 weigh in.  Darren Lister won with 5 rockling, best 7oz, and 2 blennies for 1lb 5oz, John Fairbridge had 5 rockling for 13oz and George Beckett had 3 rockling for 8oz.

The Eastenders sweepstake fished in the Wear last Wednesday saw 10 out of 12 weigh in at Panns Bank.  Chris Hossack had 4 cod for 86cm, Eddie Knightly had 3 coalfish for 71cm, and Darren Welsh had a single flounder of 33cm.

The East End and Hendon sweepstake on Thursday saw all 10 anglers weigh in small cod and coalfish from the Walkway in the Tyne.  Gareth Gardner had 22 fish for 528cm, including the longest fish with a cod of 35cm, Andy Rutherford had 19 fish for 528cm, and Barry Robson had 14 fish for 424cm.

Seaham juniors fished for the Lynne Harris Trophy on Saturday with 2 weighing in 3 fish in a catch and release match.  Kieron Newton had cod of 0.30lb and 0.15lb, and M.Thompson had a cod of 0.10lb.

Boat angling also continues to improve with cod moving onto the inshore hard ground marks in recent weeks.  The Sarah JFK out of the Tyne has had up to 60 cod and ling on some trips, and also reports several herring taken.  Seaham boats report cod to 4lb plus numbers of big pouting.

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