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 main 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 and 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 anglers also gain access by walking through the edge of the castle grounds. 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, as well as the change of good pollock, wrasse and bigger coalfish. This mark 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. The 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 the ground is very rough and it is best to use rotten bottom rigs to cut down on tackle losses. Plenty of other rock marks around the Craster coast 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 rough. 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 using big baits such as whole squid, cuttlefish, big mackerel baits or black lugworm and targeting big cod. This 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 the best chances of catching, 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 are 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 various species, and especially some big cod over winter but is very snaggy. Fishes best over high tide. Further inland along the Tyne (heading towards Newcastle) the Customs House, Jarrow Police HQ (Marine Unit at Viking Park, Jarrow) and Hebburn Marina offer decent in sheltered conditions fishing for eels, smaller codling, coalfish and 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 – A 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 © Bob

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 the top of 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 Pennell rigs 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.

Cat and Dog Steps © Malc McDonald

Cat and Dog Steps – The Cat and Dog Steps is section of the promenade at Seaburn. Anglers can follow a path down to a concrete platform with railings that can be fished from at high tide. This mark fishes best just after a period of rough weather has brought fish in closer to feed. Cod will be the main target for anglers fishing here, but flatfish (mostly flounder) and whiting will also be caught. Size 2/0 hooks will be the best bet here and peeler crab, worm, mackerel and shellfish baits will all produce fish. Anglers should be aware that waves can splash over the fishing area during bad weather and it is best to avoid this mark during these times. 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. 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 are also caught but the ground is quite snaggy. Mackerel can be here in large numbers in the summer and the pier can be packed with anglers. Pollock also turn up in the warmer months, going for both spinners 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. There are gates at the start of the pier which are locked in bad weather. 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. 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 busy 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 or 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 lugworm will also catch. Silver eels can also be caught from this mark as well. View this area on Google Maps here.

Hendon Prom © Andrew Curtis

Hendon Promenade – This is a popular fishing mark which offers easy access as anglers can park right next to where they are fishing. Access is via a narrow road and fishing can take place all along the promenade. The ground can be quite snaggy close in, but this varies depending on which part of the promenade is being fished. Species caught from here include good winter cod, with best results coming just after a period of rough weather. As well as cod whiting, flounder and dab are caught from this mark, plus bass are also a possibility here. All of the usual sea fishing baits work here with ragworm, lugworm, squid and peeler crab all worth trying. Pulley rigs are often used with size 2/0 hooks in a strong pattern a good choice. Be aware that in heavy seas waves can crash over the blue fences, and at some points of the promenade the rocks and boulders make retrieving fish difficult. View this area on Google Maps by clicking 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 as 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 clifftops with most of the marks around Ryhope Dene involving 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. View this area on Google Maps by clicking here.

Seaham North Pier
Seaham North Pier © Alison Rawson

Seaham North Pier – The North Pier at Seaham is a great mark but access through the gate is restricted to fishing club members (although the first section of the pier can be accessed and fished without passing through the gate). 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. Over recent years Seaham South Pier has been closed to anglers with access prohibited. View this area on Google Maps here.

The Green Wall © Chris and Gem

The Green Wall – The Green Wall is located to the side of the South Pier. It is accessible by walking down the steep grass covered hill. This is a difficult mark to fish from as it involves casting from or over the very large rocks and boulders that have been placed here as sea defences. Fishing at high tide can be productive for species such as cod in the winter months, although they can be caught all year round with worm, squid and peeler crab baits. This mark is very snaggy and tackle losses are to be expected and rods and reels which are capable of handling rough grounds are necessary. The combination of difficult access and rough ground means this a potentially productive mark but one which is not suitable for beginner anglers or those with mobility issues. View this area on Google Maps here.

Chemical Beach
Chemical Beach © Wikimedia Commons

Chemical 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, 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 also handle the larger species. The seabed around this area is snaggy so rotten bottoms/weak link releases 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 rocks, 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. 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 rare in the North East of England. See this area on Google Maps here.

Crimdon Beach © Gordon Hatton

Crimdon Beach – Approximately one mile north of Hartlepool this open, sandy beach which is fairly shallow, meaning that long-distance 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. See this area on Google Maps here.

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. The area between the dilapidated Steetley Pier and the promenade is good and anglers can also fish from railings 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. There is also the chance of a bass 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 the 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 (although it can get busy), and big cod are possible during the winter. Flounder to a decent size can be caught from the inside of the pier. Other species caught include coalfish, dab and whiting. Anglers should be careful because in bad weather and heavy seas waves can wash over the pier and anglers have been swept into the sea. Redcar Scars is a great cod mark with whiting and coalfish also caught in decent numbers from autumn to spring. It is best to seek local advice before tackling this mark and go for the first time with someone who has fished this mark before as some areas can be dangerous due to the risk of being cut off by the tide. View this area on Google Maps here.

Saltburn Pier
Saltburn Pier © Les Hull

Saltburn-by-the-Sea – The 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 are all on the cards to baits fished in winter, with mackerel and bass possible in summer. The area 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. The 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 is also good low water marks for winter cod, with flounder, whiting and coalfish also potential catches. Port Mulgrave has rock marks around the disused jetty which offer big cod along with whiting, coalfish and rockling. Fishing at night is most productive. 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 close to feed. During these conditions long casting is 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 is possible over all states of the tide. View this area on Google Maps here.