Sea Angling: Boat anglers frustrated by lack of big finish

The Northern end of the Durham coastline seems to be a Bermuda Triangle for any decent cod or ling.

Boats fishing up to eight miles out seem to be unable to catch the usual double figure cod and ling which have been apparent in the past few years.

Mackerel are being caught from boats and the piers. Boats are having more success on the inshore hard grounds with codling to 3lb-plus over the wrecks where ling are going to just 5-6lb.

Shore anglers aren't taking codling unless they travel north of the Tyne, where there are some nice pollack to 8lb and cod to 10lb. The Beadnell area seems to be giving up some good codling.

The quality of flounders in the rivers is improving, with flatties to over 2lb at the Business Park. Whiting, eels and coalies are being taken in both the Tyne and Wear but the strange thing is that crab is the ultimate bait in the Wear but ragworm is taking most of the fish in the Copthorne area of the Tyne.

Mackerel are plentiful on the piers during daylight and some good whiting to over 1lb are coming inshore at dusk. There is also the odd good plaice showing on Roker Pier and Seaham Pier.

There was plenty of action for competition anglers over the past week.

Ryhope held a sweepstake last Tuesday night with a dozen entrants taking 50 flounders and eels. Lee Brown had a good run of prizes for the week, starting with this contest at Panns Bank where took first and second with 1lb 11oz and 1lb 4oz flounders, ahead of Anthony Lawther (1lb 1oz flattie).

Last Wednesday's Eastenders Sweepstake had 16 anglers all taking flounders, eels and coalies. Lee Brown again headed the catches with 6 for 170 centimetres, including the longest fish at 34cm, followed by Steve Rackstraw (five for 146cm), Phil Wright (four at 137cm) and Brian Turnbull (four at 128cm).

Seaham SAC juniors were out for a re-fished George Tully Memorial Trophy match on Saturday but only two youngsters turned up. Owen Barrass made a clean sweep when he took all of the fish, four mackerel for 3.58lb, and won the heaviest aggregate catch, the pairs' pool and the heaviest fish prize for a 1.98lb fish.

Saturday's Eastenders Open at the Business Park had 12 anglers out with nine weighing in 32 fish (24 flounders, six eels and two coalies).

Chris Stringer took the top two prizes for 2lb 1oz and 1lb 14oz flounders and shared third with Mickie Sopp (1lb 5oz) who had the heaviest catch of nine fish for 8lb 9oz

Sunday saw 37 Seaham SAC members competing with 18 weighing in 63 fish for 63.25lb (59 mackerel, three plaice and a coalie).

Phil Hellens won (seven for 8.12lb) ahead of Robbie Newton (seven for 7.12lb), Tony Pilkington (six at 5.78lb) and Rita Clark (five for 5.48lb). Hellens had the heaviest fish (1.32lb mackerel) and took the pairs with Tony Laws (12 at 12.85lb), with Rita and Jack Clark second (10 at 10.47lb). Ryan Tallentyre was spot on with the sealed weight prize at 4.79lb.

Ryhope SAC were at the Tyne Business Park on Sunday with 22 members competing and all taking fish. Crab was a poor second bait with ragworm taking all of the fish.

Paul Richardson won Zone A with 15 fish for 396cm with Lee Brown was next (10 at 238cm), Keith Carter third (eight at 180cm) and Paul Craig fourth (five for 170cm). The longest fish (40cm) was taken by Lee Brown.

Bob Surtees worked his socks off in Zone B, taking the best catch AND having to measure other anglers' fish.

He won with 18 for 426cm ahead of Michael Allison (13 at 279cm), Barry Stowells (14 at 246cm) and Terry Mann (eight for 198cm).

Surtees had the longest fish (36cm) and the junior winner was Michael Allison, who came second in this section.

Eastenders hold a club meeting next Thursday (September 3) at 7.30pm.

Competitions: Tonight and next Thursday, East End & Hendon Sweepstakes 7-10 pm (Glass Centre); Friday, Rutherfords/Conoflex Open 7.30-10.30pm (Copthorne Hotel); Saturday, Deptford Boat AC 9am-3pm; Sunday, Eastenders Open 10am-2pm (Panns Bank); Tuesday, Ryhope Sweepstake 7-10pm; Wednesday, Eastenders Sweepstake 7-10pm.