Bass are Showing on Essex Beaches

by John Popplewell

all at sea logoAt last we are seeing some bass starting to appear for the shore anglers on the Essex beaches and piers. It has also been great to see the massive amount of thornback rays over the last few months, especially with the lack of codling that didn’t materialise this year. But it is good to see those Summer bass arrive.

All the beaches from Walton to Clacton have seen bass catches this week, no reports of any large fish yet but they will be there in the next few weeks. The Naze beaches at Walton have seen school bass in the 1lb-2lb range and the beaches around the local pier are now seeing similar sized fish been caught. On light tackle they can be great sport, please remember all bass have to be returned until July, and thereafter only one bass may be kept per trip.

Like the Essex beaches, Walton Pier is fishing very well at the moment with plenty of dabs, dogfish, whiting and thornback rays. Garfish should appear hear in the next week or two. Colchester angler Phil Buy fished a daytime tide on the pier with a few friends and they caught a variety of fish which included dabs, whiting, dogfish and two thornback rays, the heaviest ray weighed 6lb 14oz for Ted Gower.

Essex beaches thornback ray

Colchester SAC member Ted Gower with his 6lb 14oz thornback ray

Reports have also been good from the Burnthouse beaches with bass also showing here plus some flounders. The Frinton beaches have seen the first rays caught on the night tides, the place to head for is the golf course area.

The Holland on Sea coastline is still a bit on the slow side, unlike other Essex beaches, especially for those thornback rays, but they are there to be caught but not in the numbers that we have seen.

Colchester Sea Angling Club fished here at the weekend, 14 anglers fished and all caught fish, mostly eels, whiting, bass, codling, rays, dabs and flounders. First place went to the in-form Nik Highfield with 2lb 10oz, second placed Phil Buy weighed in 2lb and Vic Pearce was third with 1¾lb. Nik also took the heaviest fish prize with a 1lb 2oz thornback ray.

Clacton Pier has also seen a steady catch of fish this week with rays and dogfish plus still plenty of small whiting. St Osyth beach is also in a similar mode with rays and dogfish plus now some bass.

Most of the rays have certainly been smaller in size for the last couple of weeks with an average size of around 3lbs but they still are a few double figure rays here to be caught.

Boats Afloat

The Clacton Boat Club have had some pretty good catches over the last few weeks and Kevin Scrivener landed some good size rays from his boat Dippa.

ray caught off Essex beaches

Clacton BC member Kevin Scrivener with a typical size thornback ray aboard Dippa

I have had reports that some of the charter boats have been catching anything up to 80 rays on a trip, plus the odd smooth-hound are now starting to show.

The Clacton Pier Charity Shield in aid of St Helena Hospice and the Dream 100 Kids Trust is once again being held on the local pier on Sunday 7th May fishing 9.30 – 2.30pm.

Tickets are £7.50 over 16’s and £5.50 under 16’s. Tickets are available at Clacton Angling 01255 221863 and Deans Tackle 01255 425992

If you have any reports or photos you can contact me at

The high tides for the weekend are Saturday 9.07am and Sunday 10.07am

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