Sea angling by Jack Melton
IT is amazing how so many flounders are being taken along the shoreline and in the Wear at this part of the season.
The Sunderland Council Open at the weekend proved this when on the Saturday 55 flounders, three codling and a single coalfish were taken to the weigh-in.
This score did not take into account the number that were caught and returned to the water as it was a single fish event.
The Sunday was no better with a slightly higher catch of 78 flounders, three codling and a coalie being brought to the scales. In my opinion there must have been hundreds of fish caught and returned, one angler taking 11 fish.
The codling featured in most of the top weights with Graeme Lund lifting £500 for one at 1.250kg with Gareth Gardiner taking £300 for one at 850g and Chris Coxon £200 for 840g. All fished Roker Pier.
There was a slight change in venues on the Sunday when 60 fish were weighed in (55 flounders, four codling and a coalie). Jason Brown took a codling worth £500 from literally the same place as the day before, near the end of Roker Pier with a fish of 1.360kg.
The next best fish was a flounder of 904g at £300 by Steve Maw from the Queen Alexandra Bridge and Gareth Gardiner won £200 for a codling of 890g from Roker Pier.
There were at least 30 prizes for the runners-up, mainly quality reels and rods. Basically there was no outstanding bait used as most elected for rag and lugworm. All fish were returned to the water after being weighed.
The only disappointment on both days was the attendance with 152 entrants on the Saturday and 150 on the Sunday. However, the dates of the competitions may have been a little late in the season and it could have been better in the autumn when there are usually more codling about. The thinking is for October or November for the next competition.
The prizes were presented by Coun Denny Wilson on the Saturday and by the Mayor, Tom Martins, on the Sunday.
There have been one or two good cod taken from the piers and north of the Tyne. The best story is the one that got away. Bill Craggs fished Roker Pier last week and hooked an enormous fish. He managed to bring it into the pier and handballed it up to the railings where it said goodbye and snapped the line, able to fight another day. One or two cod to over 10lb have been taken further north at Shields and the Northumbrian coastline.
The mystery is, where are the whiting?
There was only one club competition last week. The usual Eastenders Sweepstake on the Wednesday night had a poor turn out of just 14 entrants with four weighing in all flounders. Barrie Wright had the best one at 1lb 3oz ahead of Mickie Davison with 14oz, Phil Wright with 13oz and Tommy Tate at 12½oz. All fished at the Big Beach at Shields.
There must be a return of the whiting and also some decent codling.
There was a meeting of the Northern Federation on Tuesday night at the Village Tavern in Ryhope and one of the subjects under discussion was the proposed conservation Zone north of the Tyne.
There are virtually no club competitions over the coming week. Eastenders have their usual Sweepstake on Wednesday night with fishing from 7-10pm. They are out again the following week on the Wednesday and also on Saturday, February 19, the club match is from 2-6pm.
Ryhope SAC are out on Sunday, February 20, 3-7pm and Seaham SAC fish for the Kirton Cup on the same day from noon to 5pm.