Strong winds hamper eager anglers

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JUST when we thought the weather couldn’t get any worse, it did, with strong easterly winds making most marks inaccessible.

This time last year, we had a warm spell and there was talk of crabs peeling in the river and even rumours of mackerel!

Let’s hope this bad weather gives way to a good summer.

Those hardy souls who braved the elements found a few codling from the Old North Pier at the mouth of the Wear, with the best around 3½lb.

By Friday, even here was inaccessible due to the large swell coming up the River.

The bottom of South Shields Pier, inside the gates, has produced codling with fish up to 5lb and rumours of a double figure fish lost on the lift in.

The River Wear is still giving up flounders, mostly taken on frozen runnydown and mackerel baits, with Claxheugh, the Business Park and Southwick Prom all producing fish.

The Walkway in the Tyne has still seen lots of undersized codling, but a few sized fish have been taken, with the best around 2½lb. Further upriver, marks at the Copthorne Hotel and the British Airways car park have fished well for flounders, with bags of up to 12 fish a session.

On Sunday, March 17, Sunderland SAC had 20 anglers fishing their club competition, with five people weighing in flounders and whiting.

Paul Robinson won with three whiting and a flounder (3lb 1oz). One of Robinson’s whiting secured him the heaviest fish prize (1lb 3oz). Ross Carr was second with two flounders and a blennie (1lb 11oz), while Billy Gamblin was third with an 11oz flounder.

Last Tuesday, 15 anglers fished the Ryhope SAC sweepstake with five weighing in five cod and two flatfish (which were returned safely to the water).

Barrie Stowells triumphed with a cod of 4lb 11½oz from Shields Gate. Runner-up Chris Hossack caught a cod of 2lb 5oz from The Walkway, while third-placed Bobby Surtees also chose Shields Gate to catch his 2lb 1oz cod. Mick Davison’s cod of 1lb 15oz from Shields Pier was fourth.

Nineteen brave anglers fished the sweepstake at Southwick Prom on Sunday.

Winner Steve Harriman took six flounders for 132cm., while runner-up Neil Cutler caught five for 123cm and there was a tie for third place between Ken McCoy and Scott Paxton, both taking four flounders for 103cm.

The longest fish, a 37cm flounder, fell to the rod of Michael Rich.

Jarrow Alberta SAC are looking for new members and anyone interested in joining is welcome to attend their meeting tonight at 8pm at the Alberta Social Club in Jarrow.

Seaham SAC will be hoping for a break in the weather for their Good Friday Open tomorrow (noon-5pm). If you are planning to take part, it may be worth double checking with the club that it’s still on – call 0191 5810321.

On Sunday, Sunderland SAC and Ryhope SACE both fish their competitions (3-7pm).

On Monday, there will be a sweepstake at Claxheugh (4-8pm). Entry is £10 (juniors £5), with a 100 per cent payout. This competition will be pegged, two hooks, no crab or white worm. Registration is at the venue. More details are available from Ken McCoy on 07773 646895.

Scientific evidence gathered by Bangor University has confirmed what anglers already knew to be true. Scientists have warned that a rethink is needed after finding catches of big fish trigger a rapid genetic change within a few generations.

Years ago, only fish of 5lb plus would carry roe, but over recent years we have seen fish as small as 2lb mature early and carry roe, however they are less fertile.

Professor Gary Carvalho of Bangor University’s School of Biological Sciences said: “Our finding have major implications for the sustainability of harvested populations.”

Much of the research was conducted by Serinde Van Wijk, studying under a Bangor University-funded doctorate. He stated: “Our attempts to conserve fish communities by regulating the size of fish that can be fished for, and by removing specifically the larger fish, may have had the opposite effect to those intended.”

Now I’m no scientist, but surely its common sense that if you remove all the mature fish the less mature fish won’t breed as efficiently?

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