Northern Bites by Steve Walker – 31st March

by Steve Walker

Shore sport remains quiet and there is little to report with undersize fish dominating most catches.  Plaice are increasing in numbers from several marks, particularly from the Durham beaches, and from Roker and South Shields piers where ragworm has taken specimens to 1lb.  Plaice are a welcome addition to angler’s catches, and they are now regarded as being a regular species in the area.  Bass, thornback rays, and dogfish are also regularly caught now from the local shoreline, and some anglers are now specifically targeting thornback rays.  Pollack are present all year round now, Dennis Stewart landed a fine winter specimen of 7lb 8oz taken on frozen lugworm from Tynemouth rocks last week, and he also had a nice 3lb lobster as a bonus.

The odd sizeable flounders are also showing from the beaches when there is a bit of surf running, and both the piers and beaches have produced decent dabs and whiting but not in any great numbers.  Only the very occasional cod have shown from the rock edge and low water marks, but there are fish in the mid and upper Tyne where the Copthorne Hotel area has been productive.

Another uncommon and unusual species to show over the last few months is the ribbon fish or oar fish, several have been reported washed up along the North East coast but I don’t think any have ever been caught on rod and line.  Pictures and full reports of these are in the forum threads here and the most recent report here.

Club results give a clear indication of what to expect at the present time with most anglers struggling to weigh in anything other than a few flatties.

The last Eastenders sweepstake saw 16 fishing but no one managed a weigh in.  The last East End and Hendon sweepstake saw 3 out of 12 weigh in a single flounder each all taken from the Wear.  Gavin Murray had one of 15oz, Jim Ford had one of
14oz, and Alan Stirk had one of 12oz.

Seaham A.C. fished a night match for Age Concern last weekend with 5 out of 47 landing 6 fish for 4.57lb.  Ian Ainsley won with a dogfish of 2.18lb from the North Pier.  Andy Byrom had 1 dab and 1 whiting from the Blast Beach for 1.01lb, Darren Swan had a whiting of 0.84lb, and Henry Hogwood had a whiting of 0.7lb.

East End and Hendon also had a charity match last weekend with 11 out of 62 weighing in 12 flounders mainly from the Wear.  Bill Jackson had one of 1lb 5oz, Neil Cutler had one for 1lb 4oz, Steve Rackstraw had one of 1lb 3oz, Bill Jackson had another for 1lb 2oz, and Lee Brown had one for 1lb 1oz.

The last Tynemouth Winter League match saw 2 out of 16 weigh in.  Barry Tweddle had 2 coalfish for 2lb from Midden Island, and John Isley had 1 bass, the heaviest fish  at 1lb 8oz, and 1 plaice for 1lb 15oz from Whitley Bay beach.

South of the Tees the last St. Mary, S.A.C. match saw Paul Lobley win with 3 flounders, best 1lb 4oz, and 1 rockling for 2lb 5oz.  John Fairbridge had 12 rockling for 2lb 2oz, and John Atherton had 2 flounders for 1lb 3oz.

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