Poor reward as cod go into hiding

SEA FISHING: The weather has played havoc with the region's sport, keeping all but the hardiest off our beaches. Those anglers that have been out haven't been rewarded for their efforts - those that managed to catch have only landed flatfish and whiting.

The weather has played havoc with the region's sport, keeping all but the hardiest off our beaches.

Those anglers that have been out haven't been rewarded for their efforts - those that managed to catch have only landed flatfish and whiting.

With seas largely unfishable in the north of the region, the only reports I've had have come from the southerly Norfolk and Suffolk beaches. There have been one or two cod caught at Aldeburgh, but nothing like the numbers of fish before Christmas.

I haven't seen a cod in any reports from the beaches at Lowestoft and Yarmouth, the few fish that have been caught have been flatfish and whiting with a solitary 4lb codling from the river at Yarmouth.

This is prime spawning time for cod and a lot of those mature fish that were being caught are now likely to be off spawning. The only good news is that the recent sustained cold weather could help give this year's offspring the cold sea temperatures they need to thrive. It will probably be a year or two before the success of this year's spawning is known, although I think we can be optimistic for a good year considering the large number of mature fish about this year.

A yardstick for how the beaches are likely to fish is often gauged through the small pleasure boat anglers and inshore commercial fishermen.

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These guys have been laid up with the recent winds and snow, but it will be interesting to note their catches when they can get out again. The seas have been bad too in the south of the patch with access to Southwold pier stopped for safety reasons during the worst of the weather.

We can expect to see some quality flatfish showing over the next few weeks and there's always a hope for a good spring run of codling. My own thoughts are turning to the bass which are only a month or two away now.

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