THORNBACK rays have been the hot topic of conversation among anglers this week.
Another specimen was caught just after dark last Wednesday night by Jimmy Richardson from Seaham North Pier and weighed in at a cracking 8lb!
Jimmy used sandeel bait, which is usually the best bait for these fish. This can be used on its own or in a cocktail with squid.
With more dogfish showing, sandeel will be a very popular bait in the next few weeks.
Cod anglers have had mixed results this week, with the marks at Ryhope and Hendon Prom producing fish to 3lb.
The Wear is still giving up good whiting, with the Glass Centre also producing the odd codling to 2lb on the first of the flood tide.
The Rat House Corner has once again been the top spot with bags of good sized whiting and a few codling, the best, at 7lb, being taken by Peter Moir on Sunday.
Further up the Wear, there are still flounders around in good numbers from Claxheugh and the Business Park, with fish going to almost 2lb.
Roker Pier has seen bags of up to 10 whiting caught, mostly in the hours of darkness, along with dabs, flounders and codling to 3lb.
Anglers fishing the rock marks at Whitburn and Marsden are still finding a few codling, with the best going to 5lb.
South Shields Pier has also produced whiting and a few coalfish, along with codling to 3lb.
After a long spell off due to the bad weather, boat anglers managed to put to sea last week. Locally, the Samson II went uptiding a quarter of a mile off The High Drum to take 15 codling to 6½lb and a dogfish, using squid bait.
The Sapphire fished off Souter Point on Sunday, again uptide fishing, taking codling between 3lb and 6½lb. Scott Paxton took the best bag of 12 on crab bait.
Hartlepool skipper Denny Lilley, fishing on his boat Lone Shark, took codling to 2lb, which were returned to the water, but ended the day with a 11lb 2oz cod.
Twenty brave souls turned out for last Tuesday’s Ryhope SAC sweepstake, with only four managing to weigh in five cod. John Robson took the top two places with 2lb 4oz and 1lb 9oz, followed by Micky Davison in third with 1lb 5oz.
On Sunday, Seaham SAC competed for the Lawson Cup, when 21 of the 86 anglers bringing 43 fish to the scales.
Top rod was Gary Pye with a mixed bag of 11 codling and whiting for 11.16lb, followed by Davey Stoker’s three fish for 4.91lb. Bob Gascoigne was third with four fish for 3.36lb.
The heaviest single fish was Bryan Dobson’s 2.50lb codling. The pairs prize went to Pye and Danny Swan, with 13 fish for 13.13lb.
Ryhope SAC were also out on Sunday, with 60 anglers fishing their club competition.
Junior angler Ryan Taylor continued his run of good form by winning with 12 fish for 3,565g from the Rat House Corner.
Runner-up John Porteous fished Ryhope to take two fish for 2,605g, while Kenny Haley took third place with eight fish for 2,580g.
The heaviest round fish, a 2,430g codling, came from Whitburn and fell to the rod of John Blaney. The heaviest flat fish was Stu Bland’s 475g flounder.
Twelve anglers got together for a cash match on Sunday which saw Peter Moir take the top spot with a mixed bag of six fish for 11lb 6oz, which included the heaviest fish, a 7lb cod.
John Robinson took second place with a flounder and eight whiting for 7lb 12oz, while Don Scott’s six whiting for 5lb 9oz secured third place.
Local angler Neil Cutler beat 52 others to win the Dave Jobson Memorial match with seven cod for a straight 15lb. Runner-up Mick Hardy took two cod for 14lb, while Tom Whithead brought up the rear with 15 flounders for 11lb 4oz.
Robbie Farrell took the junior title with a 13oz flounder.
Only two out of 28 anglers managed to weigh in at Cleadon SAC’s match on Monday night.
Richard Landsbury sealed top spot with two codling for 4lb 9oz from Marsden, which included the heaviest single fish at 3lb. Runner-up Paul Fenwick also chose Marsden and took a 2lb 8oz codling.
This Sunday, Ryhope SAC will fish their club competition (1-5pm), while Sunderland SAC will also be competing (3-7pm).
Ryhope SAC’s sweepstake takes place on Tuesday (7-10pm), with registration at the Village Tavern in Ryhope.
The European Open Beach Championships take place on the east Yorkshire coast from March 7-9 With a prize fund of £35,000, this is sure to be a popular competition. More information from www.eyevents.co.uk