Cool Winds Hit Essex Sea Fishing

by John Popplewell

all at sea logoA cool wind blowing in from the sea this week has slowed things down slightly for the beach angler. The thornback ray have been sporadic and patchy but find the right area and they are about. St Osyth beach is always a safe bet and once again this week rays have been caught. The on-shore wind has also caused problems with clumps of floating weed hanging on anglers’ lines.

Clacton Pier has had a reasonable week, a few thornbacks to be caught, along with small smooth-hounds and tope. Local angler Peter Rose landed a 3lb 5oz bass from here during the week.

The Holland beaches have also slowed down. Some school bass during daylight hours with the odd ray and dogfish at night.

Towards Frinton and the fishing changes with shallower beaches. School bass are being caught around the high tide mark with just a short cast and soles also are now showing well.

My trip this week was to fish an afternoon incoming tide in search of smooth-hounds from the Frinton beaches, but I was greeted with a stiff North-Easterly wind and a choppy sea not conducive to hound fishing. A quick change of venue saw me heading to Walton Pier for more comfortable fishing. It proved to be a good move, I fished the flood tide from the top of the pier with only dogfish to show for all my effort.

John with a hound

John with a hound

At the turn of high tide, I had a cracking bite which resulted in a smooth-hound around the 10lb mark and for nearly an hour the hounds fed profusely on crab and ragworm baits. I lost one very big smooth-hound which looked to be around the 18lb mark, but alas it was too powerful and took me around the pier piles. As soon as the hounds had started to feed they were gone again and I was just very lucky to be in the right place at the right time.

Walton Pier has had a reasonable week in general, with a steady run of thornback ray from the top of the pier. School bass have been showing from around the club hut area and soles also showing in the coloured water. An unusual catch this week was a conger eel weighing in at around 8lbs from the stem of the pier.

The Brightlingsea based charter boat Sophie Lea has been on the hounds and thornback rays this week, Stuart Wallace had a good day landing rays and smooth-hounds to 10lbs.

Stuart Wallace with one of his hounds

Stuart Wallace with one of his hounds

The estuary must be the place for bass with fish to 6lbs being reported, ragworm baits on long flowing traces seem to be the best rigs to use.

The high tides for the weekend are Saturday 08.42 and Sunday 09.46

If you have any fishing reports you can contact me at

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