All at Sea – 27-07-2015

by John Popplewell

What a difference a week makes; reports did not look promising for this summer’s tope season, the lack of mackerel being a contributing factor. Well this week it was all systems go as the boats that made the extra effort to travel further out to sea to the tope grounds have found the sharks feeding. Yes, they are a member of the shark family and if you remember I was lucky enough to catch two small ones off of Walton pier three weeks ago. Don’t worry swimmers, these small but lively sharks are absolutely harmless.

The Brightlingsea charter boat Sophie Lea headed for the tope grounds and found them feeding and Mick Frost caught the biggest, weighing in at 45lbs. The charter boat Gloria B2 also had a good day among the tope, and reported that the mackerel shoals were there and definitely feeding. The tope is one of bigger of the species of shark that appear in the Thames estuary in the summer months. The dogfish and smoothhound, which we see, are also a smaller brethren of the shark family.

Mick Frost on board the Sophie Lea with a heavyweight tope

Reports of big bass from the boats are still patchy, and most at the moment are around the 2lb to 4lb range, but there is still plenty of the “summer” left for those bigger fish to appear, in fact the big bass will turn up with the first of those whiting shoals.

Clacton Pier has continued to see a few bass, and the odd ray during daylight hours, with after dark bringing those bigger fish closer to the pier. The beaches this week have been patchy, but there certainly has been a lack of anglers. The Holland beaches are producing a few small thornback rays and school bass. The Frinton beaches are the place to head for if you fancy to fish for sole, or the chance of a bigger bass, and this area is also producing small rays as well.

Clacton Sea Angling Club headed for Walton Pier for their latest evening ebb tide match. Some anglers headed for the lifeboat area to fish between the piles for the resident summer fish and other competitors fished the Club Hut area at the bottom of the pier hoping for a bigger bass. When the match ended it proved that the bottom of the pier was the venue to be and 1st place went to Lawrence Chisnall with 12 fish for 3lb 6oz, Rob Tuck was close 2nd with 11 fish for 3lb 2oz and 3rd Nik Highfield 5 fish 2lb 15oz. Heaviest fish prize went to James Everett with a bass of 1lb 1oz. Species caught – bass, eels, whiting, pouting, pollack, dabs, and sole.

If you fancy a chance of a bigger bass the Coast Guard and Naze beaches at this time of year is the place to head for. The ground here is rougher with rocks and hard mud which will hold the small crabs and bait fish that the bass love to feed on.

If you have any fishing reports or photos, you can send them to me at

The tides for the weekend are Saturday 1.14pm and Sunday 14.00pm

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