A Beginner’s Guide to Shore Fishing Marks on the North East Coast, going from North to South:
More Extensive Information can be found in:
The Lambton Worm: The Definitive Guide to Angling in North East England
by Pete McParlin
Available from Amberley Publishing and on Kindle at Amazon .co. uk
Embleton Bay: (head for High Newton following the B1340.There is a car park near the beach) A fairly clean two mile long beach situated between Newton Point and the imposing cliffs and castle of Dunstanburgh to the south. It fishes particularly well at low tide and the target species are mainly flatfish, with the best baits lug or ragworm.
Craster: only a few miles south of Embleton Bay. There are several excellent rock marks, situated either side of this tiny fishing port, which can be fished at either high or low tide. Craster is found by turning right off the B1339 about three miles north of Longhoughton
Warkworth Beach is just off the A1068 north of Warkworth village. Fishing lug or rag will produce mostly flatties with the occasional bass in high summer, although this beach fishes best an hour or two either side of high tide.
Amble: On the A1068, the estuary of the River Coquet at Amble provides an ideal pleasure fishing venue with flatties the main species. There is a wooden pier/walkway on the seaward side of the harbour that can be easily fished from.
Druridge Bay, Cresswell and Snab Point are all beach and rock marks that can be accessed by taking the turn for Druridge at the large roundabout on the A1068 at Widdrington. This becomes the coast road beside the National Trust car park for Druridge Bay.
Newbiggin is found by taking either the A197 or the B1334 from the last two roundabouts on the dual-carriageway section of the A189 Spine Road. There are three marks, the first two being rocky in nature and comprising the headlands at either end of the beach. Both will fish well all year round for pollack (generally small) and the occasional codling, but come into their own during the warmer summer months as fine locations for catching mackerel on spinning gear. For Church Point, follow the Front Street right to the top (turn left at the end of the A197) and, at the turning point for busses, take the track leading straight ahead towards the church. For the other mark, Spital Point, you’ll need to turn right at the end of the A197 and find a parking space in the village about half a mile along the B1334. The third Newbiggin mark is a storm beach that lies between Spital Point and the mouth of the river Wansbeck about a mile further south. This mark is sometimes referred to as Sandy Bay and lies at the foot of cliffs upon which stands a well-known caravan site of the same name. This is still an excellent beach for catching cod in the winter, while pollack, whiting and flatfish will feature in the summer months, with gulleys running along the sandy foreshore that can be spotted at low tide. Locals tend to prefer lugworm or crab as bait for the cod, although ragworm and fish-baits will catch as well, particularly the smaller species.
Cambois beach begins as a gently sloping. Clean and sandy beach, but becomes increasingly rough the closer to the mouth of the river Blyth you get. At its northern end, Cambois will still fish as a classic winter cod beach, although being cleaner; it lacks the status of its more northerly neighbour. During the summer, a catch from here will usually feature mainly flatties at high tide (flounders predominate in the Wansbeck itself), with ragworm and fish-baits usually doing the trick, although the occasional bass can’t be ruled out. At its southern end, Cambois beach becomes progressively rough and then rocky, and is essentially a winter or a night-time-summer mark for specialist cod anglers, when, as the local saying goes, ‘there’s a bit of a sea running’.
Cambois is found, going north, by taking the second slip road off the A189 Spine road after crossing the river Blyth, or, going south, the first slip road after crossing the river Wansbeck. Follow the road past the site of the old power station and on into the village. Turn left at the mini roundabout for the north end of the beach, and left/straight ahead for the south.
Going south, there is also a large jetty running along the north bank of the river Blyth that is ideal for fishing into this deep estuary. In summer months, fishing off this structure will produce lots of smaller fish, although bigger flatfish are possible if you can locate them. Autumn and winter will see the bigger species entering the estuary, with either a good cast out into the middle or a bait dropped in at the side effective. There are even lights on the staithes, so the mark can be fished into the hours of darkness, with autumn in particular being a productive time for catching codling, and larger pollack and whiting, close into the timber piles.
Blyth Pier, which is on the opposite side of the river in the town of Blyth is highly regarded as a spinning mark in summer, with mackerel and coalfish the target species. This mark is also found from the A189 Spine Road by taking the A1061 and heading towards Blyth. Upon reaching the roundabout where it meets the A193, go straight ahead towards South Beach and after half a mile turn right into the Port of Blyth, continuing on for another quarter of a mile until you find the pier.
Whitley Bay, Cullercoats and Tynemouth: Various marks, the most productive generally being the rocky headlands. To find these, take either the A193 south from Blyth, or the A1068 ‘Coast Road’ from Newcastle or the A19.
South Shields, on the immediate south side of the mouth of the River Tyne, is the northernmost town on the County Durham coast and, like the places immediately to its north, this too is a popular resort with tourists in the summer. Fortunately for the angler, most of them frequent the parks, beach and funfair about half a mile south of the mouth of the Tyne, leaving a couple of excellent fishing marks that are accessible relatively easily throughout the year.
Unlike its northern counterpart, the South Pier at South Shields is open to anglers and this mark is amenable to all forms of shore fishing, winter and summer, although the ground on its inner side can be doggedly snaggy. Warm weather in July and August can often bring large numbers of mackerel into the mouth of the Tyne and around half way along the south pier there are several good spots for spinning. Also dissimilar to the north pier, this giant breakwater juts out into the sea a good way south of the actual point the estuary meets the coastline. This results a short stretch of beach, the North Herd Sands, which is actually within the mouth of the river and this less fashionable stretch, too sheltered for surfers and the like, will fish for flatties at high tide – although a longish cast too close to the south pier may locate the rocks that are never that far out.
At the northern end of Herd Sands, there is another much smaller stone pier structure called The Groyne, a mark which comes into its own in late-autumn for decent-sized codling, whiting and coalfish. This place fishes best during the two hour period either side of high tide, with a pennel-rig often accounting for the better cod.
To get to this part of South Shields, follow the A194 all the way into town and at the sixth roundabout after Tyne Dock (the last before you go under the metro line) take the first left turn onto the B1303. Follow this road round as it comes alongside the south bank of the river and after a couple of miles and a gradual 180 degree turn, the Groyne will appear on your left, with the South Pier ahead. There is a car park on the left hand side of the road adjoining North Herd Sands.
Beyond South Shields there are the precipitous heights of Trow Rocks, which adjoin the southern end of Herd Sands, near the Gypsies Green Stadium. This is a popular spot for fishing, despite the risks, although anyone not familiar with the area would definitely be best advised to think twice, as anglers have fallen to their deaths here in the past
Sunderland: Seven miles beyond South Shields, this even larger coastal town has several favoured marks either side of and within the mouth of the river Wear, which it straddles. The North Pier at Sunderland, guarding the northern entrance to the river, is a popular and easily accessed mark that fishes best at high tide. Worm baits, mackerel, crab, mussel and feathers will all take fish, with a variety of species being caught here, although it can be snaggy close in to the pier wall – the closer to the end of the pier you can fish, the better.
Not far up the River Wear itself, staying on the same side as the north pier, are two very popular deep water estuary marks. The Glass Centre is best fished from low water until high tide with a cast of 40 yards into deeper water required to locate the better fish. Codling and whiting are the target species, with the mark at its best in the colder months.
Rat House Corner is just a few hundred yards upriver from the glass centre and, in addition cod and whiting, a 40 to 50 yard cast into the river will take flounders and coalfish, with the best tactic for both these river marks a two hook flapper rig.
To get to the North Pier, the Glass Centre and Rat House, take the A183 towards Roker from the north end of Monkwearmouth Bridge (A1018). The National Glass Centre is on the right hand side, going towards the coast, only a few hundred yards after turning onto Dame Dorothy Street (A183). For the North Pier continue along this main road as it becomes Harbour View and on past Sunderland Marina. Approximately one mile on from the Glass Centre, turn right into Pier View at the mini roundabout as you reach the sea front. Follow this road as it swings round to the left and park next to the sea front. The entrance to the pier is to the left looking from the end of Pier View.
To the south of the River Wear, Hendon Prom is an open sea mark favored by locals from which cod, whiting, bass, flounders and coalfish can all be caught on a variety of baits, with the best time for fishing the autumn and winter months. Take the A1018 Commercial Road north from Ryhope, or south from Sunderland Centre, and turn towards the sea front just after (from Ryhope) or before (Town Centre) three gasometers by the roadside. Drive down underneath the railway and the road swings round to the right to become the promenade. You can park where you choose to fish.
Seaham: Another three miles further south of Sunderland we reach this much smaller port and former mining town. There are several good beach marks around Seaham, all renowned as winter storm-beaches for cod fishing, with the Blast and Dawdon Beaches situated just to the south of the town and Hall Beach to the north. Within Seaham itself (and just to the south of Hall Beach) there is also Seaham Prom, a mark that can fish well either side of high tide for cod, as well as whiting, coalfish, flatties and, in high summer, bass. The favoured baits here are lugworm or crab for cod, while the other species will take lug, rag or fish-baits. For Seaham, going northbound, leave the A19 at the second exit signposted for the A182 (NB. NOT the turn off for Houghton-le-Spring) and follow the relief road round into the town. From the north, leave at the exit for the B1404, turn left and follow signs down into the town.
Horden Beach (turn off the A19 at Peterlee and follow the B1320 down towards the coast until you reach the old pit village of Horden) is highly regarded as a winter cod fishing venue.
Hartlepool: Middleton Pier is close to the centre of Hartlepool near the town’s marina and can be found by taking either the A689 from the south or the A179 from the north (both meet the A19 nearby). Where the two roads join at a roundabout, go down Middleton Road in the direction of the harbour. Middleton Pier is in front of you (unfortunately there is a gate at the entrance to the pier which can sometimes be locked) and it fishes well all year round and at all states of the tide, with codling, coalfish, whiting and flatties showing, along with mackerel in the summer. Lugworm, squid or razorfish tend to be the baits of choice here.
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