BOAT and shore anglers have reported seeing big shoals of sprats and sandeels all along the North East coast – a sure sign that summer is not far away.
Mackerel should not be too far behind these fish and, although there are plenty of rumoured reports of mackerel being caught, none have been confirmed.
Large numbers of coalfish have been taken on lures from both Roker and South Shields Piers.
Most are undersized, but what they lack in size they make up for in numbers, with anglers taking up to 30 a session when fishing with daylite lures.
Roker Pier has also given up a few pollock, both on float fishing and bottom fishing tactics, with the best going to around 2lb.
There are also dabs, flounders and plaice taking worm baits on the end of the pier, along with lots of small codling in the hours of darkness.
South Shields Pier has also produced lots of small coalfish on lures and some good sized ones on crab and mussel baits.
Plaice have also been taking ragworm baits with the best around 1½lb.
There have also been some good codling from The Blocks area of the Pier, but, true to form, not on every tide.
One local angler fishing on Friday night took seven sized codling, the best 5lb, along with two at 3lb and the rest 1½l-2lb. One or two large launce sandeel have been taken on lures, which are fantastic bait for large pollock.
There are still plenty of flounders to be caught in the Wear, with anywhere between the Queen Alexandra Bridge and Claxheugh all worth a look.
Further downriver, there have been the odd sized codling from The White Wall. The Glass Centre Prom has given up lots of undersized coalfish and codling, along with some good sized flounders.
Boat anglers have seen an upturn in sport, with charter and private boats all reporting good catches of codling, both on the hard ground and over the wrecks.
Shad lures, pirks, hokkis and daylites have all taken fish along with mussel, ragworm and squid baits.
Most of the codling caught were in the 2-3lb bracket and the best one being 8lb.
Winlaton AC, fishing on board The Kriston out of Amble, took 200 codling (many of which were returned) up to 6lb.
The Shady, out of the Tyne, took 54 codling, while the JFK, also fishing out of the Tyne, found the fish feeding over the hard ground, taking up to 80 fish a trip, with the best just over 8lb.
Sunderland charter boat The Sapphire took a stag trip to the inshore wrecks three to five miles out and took 30 codling in the 2-4lb size, mostly taken on squid baits.
For travelling anglers, mackerel have started to show in Luce Bay, along with tope, smooth hound and thornback rays.
Anglers fishing the prom at Silloth are still taking lots of thornback rays, with the best one, 13½lb, taken by Sunderland angler Ken McCoy.
Last Tuesday’s Ryhope summer competition had 25 anglers out, with six weighing in 10 flounders and an eel.
Davy McCready took first and fourth places with 1lb 3oz and 15oz. Davy Mould took second and third with 1lb 1oz and 1lb.
Wednesday’s sweepstake at the Glass Centre saw 13 anglers taking part.
Winner Gareth Gardiner caught 17 fish for 378cm, ahead of Steve Rackstraw’s 12 fish for 247cm and third-placed Andy Rutherford’s eight for 194cm. The longest fish was B. Hipkins’ 37cm coalfish.
Saturday’s Blenny Hill Open had a turnout of 17 anglers.
Gus McGhee triumphed with four fish for 111cm, closely followed by Steve Rackstraw’s four for 107cm. Third place went to Paul Edwards with three fish for 92cm. There was a tie for the longest fish between Edwards and Micky Davison, both with 35cm.
Seaham SAC competed for the Moore Cup on Sunday, with 47 anglers taking part.
First, with a codling of 1.42lb, was Lee Burton. Don Scott was second with a 0.58lb plaice, with Jim Dobie’s 0.52lb flounder third. The pairs event was won by Burton and John Blaney (1.42lb).
Sunderland SAC’s match saw 13 fishing, with T. Smith taking first prize with a cod of 55cm. Next was Peter Moir’s coalfish of 42cm, then Ronnie Head with a 40cm flounder.
Sunday’s sweepstake at Claxheugh saw plenty of fish, with winner Steve Graham taking 22 fish for 523cm and runner-up Gareth Gardiner landing 18 for 466cm, including the longest fish – a 36cm flounder.
This Sunday sees the second Little Derek’s Flounder Fanatics competition take place at The White Wall (10.30am-2.30pm). Registration is at the venue from 9.30am. More details are available from Anth on 07827 338934.
Also on Sunday is a sweepstake at the Timber Beach in the Wear (10am-2pm). This is a measure and release competition with an 18cm size limit. Entry is £10 plus £2 for the longest fish, with a 100 per cent payout.
Tuesday Ryhope SAC’s summer competition is at the Glass Centre (7-10pm). Entry is £5, with registration at the venue. This is a pegged match.
On Wednesday, there’s an open sweepstake at the Glass Centre (7-10pm). Entry is £7, including the longest fish prize, with 100 per cent payout. This is a measure and release competition with a 20cm size limit.
The Rutherford’s Cono-flex two day open will take place on Saturday and Sunday, June 28-29 in the Tyne at the Copthorne Hotel and British Airways Car Park.
Entry is £30 for the two days. This is a measure and release competition. Size limit is 18cm with all eels to count as 25cm. Minimum hook size 4.
There is a 100 per cent payout, plus a Cono-flex Flattie Beach Quiver to be one in each zone on both days. More information is available from Andy on 0191 5654183 or Bob on 07711091491.