The Gone Fishing Christmas special with Mortimer & Whitehouse aired last week and showed off Teesside in all its splendour.

Bob Mortimer returned to his childhood roots in Middlesbrough to fish and reminisce with his dear friend and angling mentor Paul Whitehouse. They cast their lines into the Rivers Tees and Esk and went sea fishing off the coast at Staithes, one of Britain’s most beautiful seaside villages. 

On the River Tees. Bob Mortimer, Paul Whitehouse – (C) Owl Power – Photographer: John Garon

Whilst fishing the Tees, Bob was thrilled that he caught a grayling, affectionately known as ‘the lady of the stream’ and Paul whilst salmon fishing caught a beautiful coloured brown trout. 

Paul was knocked out by the spectacular beauty of the Tees. “It’s a stunning river,” he told BBC Tees presenter Gary Philipson.

Bob is pleased the region is getting some much deserved good press and there’s more good news for Teesside… the Christmas special was the most watched of all the Gone Fishing programmes.

As with previous episodes, this wasn’t just about fishing in beautiful locations… it was about friendship and a good natter. Watching Bob and Paul laughing and joking whilst casting a line across the River Tees you can see why so many people are trying fishing and in doing so benefitting from the physical and mental health benefits it brings. The Environment Agency has seen a huge increase in sales of fishing licences this year to those new to the sport.

If you are new to fishing or the region, the River Tees offers some outstanding and affordable fishing along its length. Most of the river is managed by local angling clubs, and some offer reduced memberships to senior citizens and juniors under 18. Before casting a line on the river, you will need to purchase a fishing permit and an Environment Agency rod licence. Below are three angling clubs with fishing on the River Tees and local lakes.   

Angling Clubs

Stockton Angling Limited has fishing for trout, grayling and coarse fish on some of the best stretches of the River Tees, with over ten miles at Gainford, Winston, Dinsdale, Middleton-one-Row near Darlington, and Worsall and Aislaby near Yarm. Further stretches of fishing can be found on the River Swale at Moreton Brdge, and on the River Ure at Middleham – read more at

Thornaby Angling Association is one of the largest and oldest clubs in the region. Formed in 1870, the club owns almost all of its waters on the Tees, Swale and Ure which offer fishing for both coarse and game anglers, including a jointly owned stretch of the Leven and several well stocked still waters – read more at

Yarm Angling Limited have over five miles of prime fishing on the River Tees around the historic town of Yarm, and one mile of water on the middle Tees at Bowl Hole (Low Middleton). They also have lakes which contain bream, carp, roach, chub, perch, tench, ide – read more at

Guided Fishing Yorkshire

Olly Shepherd from Fly Fishing Yorkshire was approached by the BBC production team to help organise the one hour Christmas fishing special. If you would like to fish with Olly and his team, they provide guiding fishing and fly fishing lessons – read more at

Take A Friend Fishing 

Between the 19th December 2020 to 10th January 2021 (inclusive), existing fishing licence holders can register for a FREE one-day fishing licence from the Environment Agency at to take someone they know fishing. Find out more at

So what are you waiting for? Get out your lines and get fishing!

Anne Woodcock


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