Stingray Arrive On Essex Coast

by John Popplewell

The strong winds at the weekend really did not help anglers at all, with gusts of 40 mph it made for uncomfortable fishing. But still we saw some big fish caught by the beach anglers.

This is the second week now into social distancing for anglers and I have to say it seems to be working very well. Most anglers I have seen are at least 15 metres apart with some beaches almost empty. Well done to you all for complying with these necessary rules.

We have seen some big fish caught this week and St Osyth beach has always been the venue to head to. May and June are traditionally the season for those heavyweight stingrays to arrive here, and I can tell you they have arrived. Local angler Bradley Bone landed a large stingray here, weighing 66lbs 8oz. I have also had reports of stingray to 40lbs from these beaches.

Bradley Bone headed off to St Osyth for stingray

Bradley Bone headed off to St Osyth in the hope of catching a stingray, and his dream was fulfilled landing this 66lb 8oz specimen

If you fancy a trip for these big rays, ragworm is by far the best bait to use and they can turn up on any of the St Osyth beaches.

My trip this week was down to our estuary mudflats for a hard fighting bass and I really wasn’t disappointed. Fishing over high water I had great sport with the school bass and as the tide ebbed the bigger bass came on the feed and with one rod wrenching bite I managed to land a bass weighing in at around the 8lb 5oz mark followed by another of 5lbs. All my bass were caught on ragworm and peeler crab on a long flowing trace. The mayweed was a problem but not as bad as last week when some beaches were virtually unfishable.

This cracking bass was caught on the estuary mudflats by John Popplewell

This cracking bass was caught on the estuary mudflats by John Popplewell. The bait was a large ragworm on a flowing trace

Local angler Den Doherty fished a night tide on the Clacton beaches and caught bass to 5lbs. The Clacton and Holland beaches have been on the slow side this week with some anglers not catching anything.

The Frinton beaches have seen bass in the 2lb-3lb range along with thornback rays and whiting. The odd stingray can turn up here and last week an angler landed a 40lb ray on a night tide.

Plenty of small bass on the Walton beaches with the odd bigger one to be found. The beaches either side of the pier seem to be the favoured spots with bass feeding around the pier piles. Soles are also starting to show on these beaches and they should stay with us until late autumn.

The Naze coastline around the tower is a rough rocky area to fish but there are some very big bass to be caught here under the cliffs and as far down as the Tamerisk wall. Once again heavy weed can get the better of anglers, but persistence can pay dividends.

The boats this week have on the whole had a good week, although strong winds have curtailed a few days, but those that picked their days have had some good sport with bass, smooth hounds and thornback rays.

Neil Marples took his new boat Milore out of Titchmarsh Marina and fished off the Naze. He landed 8 smooth hounds to 9lbs along with plenty of dogfish and school bass.

Alan Tipple chose a calm day to put to sea

Alan Tipple chose a calm day to put to sea and it paid off in the shape of this bass weighing in at just unde 7lbs

Alan Tipple launched from the Gunfleet Boat Club ramp at Holland and caught bass to just under 7lbs along with some big smooth hounds.

The Brightlingsea based charter boat Sophie Lea has now entered into its first week of fishing. The charter boat is a catamaran and social distancing is easier to put into practise with 2 meter markings now all around the boat and 6 anglers can fish comfortably.

The high tides for the weekend are Saturday 18.28 and Sunday 19.15.

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