North East England

Spittal Beach

Spittal Beach © Walter Baxter

Berwick-upon-Tweed – Flatfish, codling and bass can be caught from the shore, especially Spittal and Gosswick Beaches. Bass and pollock can be caught in summer from some of the rock marks around the Needle’s Eye area with spinners, plugs and lures worth a try. Marks around the pier and harbour area also sometimes produce mullet during very calm conditions in summer. There are decent cod taken in winter to big hooks and big baits in and around the harbour, and there are usually plenty of whiting around to keep anglers entertained while they wait for the big fish to bite. View this area on Google Maps here.


Seahouses © Sarah Charlesworth

Seahouses – Piers at seahouses offer good general fishing with many anglers using any of the mainsteam sea fishing baits and size 1/0 hooks to see what they catch. Flounder, codling (all year round, but bigger in winter), rockling, coalfish and in summer plaice, pollock and mackerel all on the cards. The smallest pier here fishing best at low tide. Rock marks around North Sunderland Point offer great winter cod (and summer pollock and wrasse) but are very snaggy indeed and can be dangerous – be careful of the incoming tide and watch out for large waves and swells which can swamp fishing areas. View this area on Google Maps here.

Dunstanburgh Castle

Dunstanburgh Castle © Andrew Curtis

Embleton Bay/Dunstanburgh Castle – Dunstanburgh Castle has a number of marks around it which provide good sport. Access can be an issue with some anglers having to park their cars at Craster and then walk the long distance to these marks, while there may be the opportunity to park near the golf course and gain access this way, although this will still involve a long walk. Some angler also gain access by walking through the castle ground but this can also be an issue as technically visitors to the castle have to pay a fee as it is an attraction which charges people to visit. Once access has been negotiated the rocky shelves provide solid fishing platforms offering access to deep water. Summer sees plenty of mackerel, small coalfish, lance sandeels and sometimes herring going for spinners, feathers and daylights, and some good pollock, wrasse and bigger coalfish going for spinners and float fished mackerel strip, ragworm or sandeel. Light spinning and bass rods are by far the best way to approach this mark, and it fishes best in calm summer weather. Be aware that large swells can swamp fishing locations in bad weather. Presenting baits on the seabed is generally less productive but some codling can be around and pollock and coalfish can also take them. View this area on Google Maps here.

Craster Harbour

Craster Harbour © Ashley Lightfoot

Craster – Harbour area offers mackerel and coalfish to lures and spinners in the summer, with some pollock showing up as well. Outer pier offers some cod all year round (with better fish in the winter) to all kinds of worm, crab, razorfish, mussel and squid baits but ground is very rough indeed, best to use rotten bottom rigs to cut down on tackle losses. Plenty of other rock marks around the Craster coast that can produce a number of species with mackerel and codling caught, as well as pollock and coalfish. There are also lesser spotted dogfish caught here and confirmed reports of conger eels in excess of 30lb being captured here – a rare species indeed in the North East of England. Obviously rock marks like this are going to be very tackle hungry so take plenty of weights and go equipped with suitably heavy rods, reels and line and rotten bottom rigs. View this area on Google Maps here.

Cullernose Point

Cullernose Point © Ralph Mills

Cullernose Point – Cullernose Point is a rocky crag jutting out into the North Sea which provides access to deep water. Anglers can fish along the entire mark but it is very dangerous in rough seas as swells and waves can engulf the entire area, so the mark must be avoided if the sea is running. In calm summer weather pollock, coalfish and wrasse can be caught by spinning and float fishing from this area, while mackerel will go for feathers and daylights – all species which lend themselves to light rods and tackle. Winter sees some good cod taken from here, along with coalfish and some flounders. Ground is mixed to heavy with some tackle losses to be expected and rotten bottom/weak links a good idea and rods and reels need to be strong enough to handle the snags. View this area on Google Maps here.

Rock Mark Amble

Rock Mark at Amble © Roger Cornfoot

Amble – Plenty of cod in winter and smaller codling in summer around rock marks that are similarly rough to those at Craster. There is also the chance of bass in summer as well as flounder and dab, plus turbot are occasionally caught here in summer. South pier produces mackerel in summer to daylights and spinners and offers good cod and whiting fishing in winter. Cliff House area in between the piers produces the chance of a decent sized summer bass to peeler crab, ragworm or mackerel baits. The big, sandy beaches of Druridge Bay and surrounding areas off the chance of catching flatfish (including possible turbot) and the occasional bass. View this area on Google Maps here.


Cresswell © Roger Cornfoot

Cresswell – Has some very good marks, especially Cresswell Carrs which fishes best at low tide in darkness for cod, especially in winter. This area some clean ground which holds razorfish, and using these as bait after a storm can be very effective. The rockier and rougher ground towards the north also holds big cod, as well as pollock and the chance of a bass in summer. Coalfish are a common catch around all of this area and take a variety of baits fished on the bottom as well as being caught on spinners and lures. Nearby Snab Point is also a good – although tackle hungry –  rock mark which can be good for cod fishing, especially after the seabed has been stirred up by bad weather. View this area on Google Maps here.

Newbiggin Bay

Newbiggin Bay © Chris Heaton

Newbiggin-by-the-Sea – Many rock marks such as Downovers, Church Point and East End Pipe fish well for winter cod, whiting and flounder with the best time being either side of low tide. Can be worth upgrading the hook sizes to 6/0 and putting on big baits such as whole squid, cuttlefish, big mackerel baits or black lug and targeting a very big cod. Can be a tackle hungry area and there can also be issues with masses of weed swamping tackle. Also be very careful about being cut off by the tide because this is a very real possibility at some marks. View this area on Google Maps here.

South Beach, Blyth

South Beach, Blyth © W.F. Millar

Blyth – South Pier offers cod and whiting and in winter, plaice and other flatfish in spring and coalfish all year round. Fishing at the bend or straight out to sea from the very end a few hours either side of high tide offers best chances, especially if good sea is running. Mackerel fishing in summer can see the pier become packed with people fishing. Rock mark inside the harbour know locally as Peeping Tom’s Rocks offers excellent cod and coalfish but only accessible at low water. Bate’s Jetties offer good fishing for codling, coalfish, flounder and silver eels, but fishing is prohibited from some of the other jetties. Try size 1/0 hooks with ideally peeler crab for these species, but ragworm and mackerel will also work. View this area on Google Maps here.

Whitley Bay Beach

Whitley Bay Beach © Christine Westerback

Whitley Bay – Beach at Whitley Bay is excellent winter cod venue, with plenty of whiting also taking baits. Coalfish and flounder will take baits for most of the rest of the year and catching a bass is not out the question in summer to a worm or peeler crab bait, especially if fishing at dusk or dawn with a sea running. Beach mark known as Panama (near to the Swimming Club hut) is a favourite of local anglers and produces all of the above species with fishing at low tide the best. Half Moon Rocks/Skeers is also a good low tide mark, but can be a lot of weed in certain tide and weather conditions. View this area on Google Maps here.

Customs House, River Tyne

Customs House, River Tyne © George Robinson

River Tyne Marks – Short stone pier at the very mouth of the Tyne known as the Groyne can account for multiple species, and especially some big cod over winter but is very snaggy. Fishes best over high tide. Further inland along the (heading towards newcastle) Tyne the Customs House, Jarrow Police HQ (Marine Unit at Viking Park, Jarrow) and Hebburn Marina  and offer decent fishing for eels, smaller codling, coalfish and especially flounder. Worms and peeler crab produce here, but many other baits such as squid, mussels and razorfish will also tempt fish. In Newcastle itself Old Smith Docks, Walker Riverside Park and Bergen Quay provide eels, flounder, coalfish and the odd codling. View this area on Google Maps here.

South Shields Pier

South Shields © Pier Bill Henderson

South Shields Pier – This pier is a mile long and is a great venue for a wide range of species. The Brigade Hut at start of the pier and First Gate are high tide marks, while very end of the pier is a snaggy but productive low water mark. On a big tide the power of the water coming into the Tyne can make holding the bottom impossible on the flood at the end of the pier, but it is fishable on a smaller tide. From this venue cod and whiting are the main target in the winter. Summer sees pollock, plaice and mackerel arrive as well as other species such as wrasse, lesser spotted dogfish and gurnard in smaller numbers. Other species such as rockling, silver eels, dab, coalfish, smaller codling and flounder can be caught all year round. Float fishing can be more effective than spinning for summer pollock here, but the pier can become packed with anglers when the mackerel are in. Fishing from the very end of the pier can produce unusual deeper water fish such as ling and very occasional turbot. Access to pier is free but gates are locked in bad weather and at night, although the first quarter of the pier can still be accessed when the gates are locked. A detailed guide to fishing this pier and the marks on it is available here.

Marsden Bay

Marsden Bay © Andrew Curtis

Marsden Bay – Secluded bay in South Shields, accessed by a steep set of stairs from a pub car park. Fishing to the left of the famous Marsden Rock will see weights landing on clear sand. Moving to the other side of the bay will see snaggier ground encountered, but good fish can be caught here if snags are tolerated. Camel Island to the far north of the bay is fishable but gets cut off from the land as the tide comes in. Flatfish, coalfish and lots of whiting in winter, and chance of bass in summer. Big cod come in close to the shore in winter. This mark can be unfishable in big seas but is at its best after a period of rough weather or a storm. Tends to fish best at low tide, but fish will still be caught at high tide. View this area on Google Maps here.

Souter Lighthouse

Souter Lighthouse © Bobbington

Whitburn – Rock marks near Souter Lighthouse such as Coddy’s Point and the Wherry offer natural rock shelves that are fishable from but take care as they can be slippery in wet weather or swamped by big waves if the sea is rough, and they are also snaggy. Further south Jackie’s Beach is a small shingly/sand/rock beach which offers good fishing for winter cod when some sea is running. This beach can be fished at any stage of the tide and is mixed ground to snaggy – rotten bottom rigs recommended. Other marks around here include the Mudhole which involve casting from cliffs into the water below. Many of these cliffs are eroding and are probably best avoided these days in favour of safer marks. Whitburn marks are usually seen as fishing best in winter for cod and whiting, but other species can turn up throughout the year such as rockling, flounder, dab, silver eels, bass, wrasse and coalfish, and while cod fishing is at its best in winter, a few decent sized cod remain all year round. Go for large crab, squid, worm, razorfish or mussel baits on size 3/0 – 4/0 pennells if going for cod, or the same baits on 1/0 – 2/0 paternoster rigs if aiming for the smaller species. View this area on Google Maps here.

Roker Pier

Roker Pier © Martin Routledge

Roker Pier – Popular venue in Sunderland on the north side of the River Wear. This pier was closed for the second half of 2014 for essential maintenance work but has now reopened. Whiting can be out in huge numbers in winter, with two hook rigs getting double shots of these fish. Chance of a good cod here (drop net needed to land big fish) and flounder, dab and rockling also caught. Mackerel here en mass in summer, and pier can be packed with anglers and tourists. It has to be stated that this mark has something of a bad reputation for the mackerel bashing crowd drinking, leaving litter and generally causing trouble in the summer. Pollock also turn up in the warmer months, going for both spinners and lures and float fished baits. Coalfish are another common catch and in summer it has been known for anglers to catch two or three small coalfish on a string of daylights meant for mackerel. Chances of something unusual (for this part of the world) from here as well with dogfish, herring, turbot and wrasse all showing here on an occasional basis. Ground can be snaggy so rotten bottom rigs often used – although it is worth noting that this pier is less snaggy further towards the end. There are gates at the start of the pier which are locked in bad weather but left open at other times, including overnight. Roker pier sits relatively low in the water, and the combination of high tide and bad weather can see waves can swamp the pier, and people have been seriously injured by waves crashing over this pier so be careful – just because the gates are open it does not necessarily mean the pier is safe to fish. View this area on Google Maps here.

River Wear Marks

River Wear Marks © The JPS

River Wear Marks – The Rat House Corner is the old, small pier at the mouth of the Wear (officially it called the North Pier). Good mark to fish up to high tide with all whiting, codling, coalfish, rockling and flatfish all caught from here. Be aware it becomes packed when Roker Pier is closed. Moving into the Wear itself the National Glass Centre is next to the St. Peter’s Campus of the University of Sunderland and offers great flounder fishing, with silver eels, coalfish and codling also caught. A cast of around 40-50 yards puts baits where fish are feeding with two hook rigs with size 1/0 hooks the best choice. Timber Beach is further along the River Wear and offers excellent flounder fishing from spring to autumn. Many fish can be caught in a session with light gear such as specialist bass or flattie rods best choice for maximum sport. Fishes best at low tide. Use size 1 long shanked hooks and ragworm, lugworm and fresh peeler crab baits if possible, although ragworm and low lugworm will also catch. Can also be a decent amount of silver eels caught from this mark as well. View this area on Google Maps here.

Ryhope Dene

Ryhope Dene © Roger Cornfoot

Ryhope – Ryhope is between Sunderland and Seaham and has a number of marks of interest to sea anglers. Marks such the Target and the Manholes can be fished at low water, but much of the fishing here is done over high water from cliff edges and cliff tops – most of the marks around Ryhope Dene involve this type of fishing. Many anglers fish the Target when the tide is low and then move up the the cliffs as the tide comes in. Some good winter cod and whiting are caught here, along with various flatfish, coalfish, silver eels and the chance of a summer bass. The ground is snaggy here and be aware that many of the low water marks can get cut off by the incoming tide.

Seaham North Pier

Seaham North Pier © Alison Rawson

Seaham North Pier – The North Pier at Seaham is a great mark but is accessible only to club members (this newspaper article has details on becoming a member). Mackerel shoals are around in the summer and bait fishing will produce cod, flounder, dab, whiting, and coalfish. Some species which are fairly unusual for the North East of England are also caught here with lesser-spotted dogfish turning up, as well as a number of different types of ray. At the time of writing (2012) Seaham South Pier is closed to anglers and anglers found fishing the South Pier or trying to gain access could potentially be prosecuted. View this area on Google Maps here.

Chemical BeachChemical Beach, Seaham – This striking-looking beach gets its name from the Seaham Chemical Works which were nearby but closed down in the 1800s. This mark is seen to fish best for winter species such as cod, whiting, winter flounder, coalfish and dab being caught on squid, ragworm, lugworm, mackerel and frozen peeler crab baits. Size 2/0 hooks in a strong pattern are a good choice as they will be able to hook the smaller fish and handle the larger species. The seabed around this area is snaggy so rotten bottoms are a good idea. Summer is seen as less productive, but some cod stay around all year, as do flatfish species, and there is also some chance of catching a bass or pollock to bottom fished ragworm, mackerel or peeler crab baits. Fishing around the huge rock on the beach (known locally as the stack) is seen as one of the best places to fish. Be aware that there is a steep climb to access the beach which some anglers may find difficult, and the uneven surface and rock stack, woodern piles and boulders which litter the beach mean that this is not the most comfortable of places to fish, and on big tides the sea can come right up to the base of the cliffs. An unusual British record shore caught fish came from this mark, with a Pacific saury (a very close relative of the Atlantic saury which is sold as bait in UK fishing tackle shops as bluey) of 5oz 4dr caught here by A. Woods in 1994. View this area on Google Maps here.

Horden Beach

Horden Beach © Graham Scarborough

Horden Beach – Former colliery beach which is made up of sand, shingle and rocks. The northern part is rockier/mixed ground at the north and has cleaner ground further along. Usually seen as a high tide beach but it is best to visit this mark on a low spring tide through the day to check the ground and see what you are casting onto. There are gullies which hold fish and the beach is fairly steeply sloping which means there is some depth of water being cast into. Winter sees cod, coalfish and whiting caught here, and flounder and dab can be caught most of the ear round. Summer sees plaice being caught here and there are also dogfish occasionally caught. Every year there are also reports of a small number of thornback rays being caught from this mark, a species which is very rare in the North East of England. See this area on Google Maps here.

Horden Beach

Horden Beach © Oliver Dixon

Crimdon Beach – Approximately one mile north of Hartlepool this open, sandy beach which is fairly shallow, meaning that long casting can be needed at times and fishing at low tide (the lowest spring tides will be the best) offers to best chance of putting a bait amongst the feeding fish. Fishes best for winter cod and whiting after there has been some bad weather to churn the seabed up. Single hook clipped down pennell rigs are the best bet, with all of the usual squid, frozen peeler crab, black lugworm and mussel baits producing decent fish. Winter flounder and dab may also be present. Summer can be less productive although there will still be flatfish to be caught and the chance of a bass to a peeler crab, ragworm or mackerel bait cast just behind the breakers. Somewhat bizarrely, the UK record Ray’s bream of 7lb 15oz – a fish more associated with the warmer waters of the south-west – was caught here in 1967.

North Pier (Middleton Pier)

North Pier (Middleton Pier) © Brian Sowerby

Hartlepool – Parton beach has a mix of sandy and rocky sections and can fish well for whiting, codling, coalfish, flatfish with bass also being caught in summer. Area between the dilapidated Steetley Pier and the promenade is good and you can also fish from railings mark here at high tide. Steetley pier used to be fishable but it is now a total wreck and it is highly dangerous to try and fish from the pier itself – stick to the beach around it. Middleton Pier can fish well over high tide for decent sized cod and flatfish with whiting and rockling also caught. View this area on Google Maps here.

Mouth of River Tees

Mouth of River Tees © Francis Hannaway

River Tees – Banks and breakwaters at the mouth of River Tees can produce whiting and cod in winter to the usual baits, with hungry whiting snapping at pretty much any bait early in the season. Coalfish and flatfish – especially flounder – show for most of the year. Also the chance of a bass here to bottom fished peeler crab, ragworm and lugworm baits from the beach at Seaton Carew. Fishing during dawn or dusk when a decent sea is running increases chances of making a decent catch. View this area on Google Maps here.

South Gare, Redcar

South Gare, Redcar © John Yeadon

Redcar – Number of good venues but some can be dangerous. South Gare Pier offers mackerel in summer (can get busy), and big cod possible over winter. Flounder to a decent size can be caught from the inside of the pier. Other species caught include coalfish, dab and whiting. Be careful because in bad weather and heavy seas waves can wash over the pier and anglers have been swept into the sea in the past. Redcar Scars great cod mark with whiting and coalfish also caught in decent numbers from autumn onwards. Be careful because serious consequences of getting cut off by the tide. Seek local advice before tackling this mark, best to go for the first time with someone who knows what they are doing and has fished this mark before. View this area on Google Maps here.

Saltburn Pier

Saltburn Pier © Les Hull

Saltburn-by-the-Sea – Pier is a good venue to fish but it has to be high tide to fish here as at low tide pier is totally dried out – a few hours either side of high water is best. Whiting, flatfish, cod and rockling all on the cards to baits fished in winter, with mackerel and bass possible in summer. Can get very busy with surfers, tourists and all manner of other people getting in the way of fishing in summer. Sandy beaches nearby have been known to produce decent sized cod in winter and summer bass and are a good alternative to fish over low water, with Penney Hole mark very good. Lowest of spring tides the best time to fish here. View this area on Google Maps here.

Skinningrove Jetty

Skinningrove Jetty © Mick Garratt

Skinninggrove and Port Mulgrave – Skinninggrove Jetty produces decent winter cod and whiting, plus coalfish, flatfish and rockling  all year round. Mackerel can also be caught here  in the summer. Beaches nearby can also produce decent fish with flatfish of various types caught from the autumn along with occasional bass in summer. Hummersea Harbour and Bay also good low water marks for winter cod, with flounder, whiting and coalfish also on the cards. Port Mulgrave has rock marks around the disused jetty which are a good venue over good low water: big cod along with whiting, coalfish and rockling all possibilities. Fishing at night best. View this area on Google Maps here.

Runswick Bay

Runswick Bay © Scott Rimmer

Runswick Bay –  A bay which is made up of some sandy, clean ground with weed cover and much heavier rocky ground. Excellent winter cod venue which fishes best after a spell of bad weather which will stir up the seabed and dislodge sources of food which will see fish come in to feed. During these conditions long casting not necessary and decent cod can be caught close in. All of the usual baits will catch fish here with blow and black lugworm, squid, frozen peeler crab, razorfish and mackerel strip all catching fish. Weed can be a major issue and most anglers use heavy rock gear and simple rigs with rotten bottoms incorporated to fish this mark. Fishing possible over all states of the tide. View this area on Google Maps here.

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