Post Lockdown Hounds, Bass And Rays

by John Popplewell

all at sea logoIt seems a very long time since anglers have been fishing. As from last week the English government relaxed the tight COVID-19 rules for beach and private boat anglers. We can once again go fishing, provided social distancing guidelines are adhered to. However, unfortunately the charter boat fisherman is going to have to wait until the two metre social distancing is relaxed along with pier fishermen as both Walton Pier and Clacton Pier will be closed as they are part of the amusement industry and will have to wait for additional government guidelines. Competition fishing is not permitted as is it deemed as a social gathering.

The private boats that have launched this week have had a bumper time. All of the summer species have arrived in force, with some large smoothhounds being reported along with bass and thornback rays.

Alan Tipple and Sandie Davis launched from the Gunfleet Boat Club, and headed out to the wind farm on the Gunfleet Sands. They both had great sport with the hounds, landing fish to 9lbs.

Jon Hall had an early morning bass session

Jon Hall had an early morning bass session spinning with lures for bass he landed 3 to 4lbs close to the rocky breakwaters

Dave Holland also got in on the act with some very good-sized hounds to 15lbs plus a 5lb bass to finish the day.

The beaches have really come into form, although weed is a very big problem at the moment on the ebb tides! Masses of mayweed has been clogging the anglers’ lines making it virtually unfishable, but the flood tides are no problem and weed free.

I had an evening trip to the Frinton beaches and fished over high water and most of the ebb tide. The weed problem was awful, but I fished through it. Plenty of whiting and school bass were falling to ragworm baits within minutes of casting out, so I opted for big peeler crab baits and on the last of the ebb tide I landed a hard fighting smoothhound, followed by another two which because of the heavy weed on the line were both lost before landing!

John Popplewell with a smoothhound

John Popplewell with a smoothhound caught from the Frinton beaches on a peeler crab bait

Matt Clark also fished this area a few days before and he also landed a smooth hound on a squid and peeler crab bait.

Phil Wringer fished a night tide here at the weekend and caught dogfish and thornback rays, his heaviest ray weighing in at 7lb 4oz.

So top venue this week has to be the shallower Frinton beaches, but just beware of the heavy weed on the ebb tides.

The Walton beaches are seeing plenty of school bass along with the odd bigger one from around the pier area, ragworm will be the best bait to use here.

The Holland beaches are fishing well on the night tides with thornback rays and bass being caught. Clacton angler Den Doherty landed rays here to 7lb 12oz.

Phil Wringer heaaded to the Frinton beaches

Phil Wringer heaaded to the Frinton beaches he caught thornback rays to 7lb 4oz

The beaches either side of Clacton Pier are producing bass after dark along with the odd thornback ray.

The Jaywick beaches are seeing some bigger bass being caught along the rocky breakwaters, Jon Hall fishing an early morning tide here using lures and spinners, caught 3 hard fishing bass to 4lbs.

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

The high tides for the weekend are Saturday 13.19 and Sunday 14.05

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