What to expect fishing the Essex coast.

James Doe
  · James Doe  · May 25, 2016

Hi guys, just a quick introduction my name is James and I will be covering the Essex coast and giving you,  an insight on what to expect along this coastline. Now, I have not been fishing this coast for many years but I have a bit of experience and know where is hot and where’s not, as well as the rigs and the bait to help you get amongst the fish.

I’m not the most experienced angler there is around this way by any means but I’m keen, always willing to try new things and listen and learn from all advice given. However I will help you with anything I can and if don’t know, I certainly know people who do. That’s enough from me, I hope you enjoy my first post just giving you an idea of what’s being landed here in Essex and what to expect.

So this winter was very disappointing for me and many other sea anglers around the Essex coasts as catches did not live up to expectations. All that I saw on social media was “looking like a great year for cod”, “Yeh great” if you were on a boat several miles out but on the beaches it was not to be. We did have a slight run at the end of October into November but that was short lived. I myself had a few but not of any size, biggest being of 4lb, not great but it was a cod. But happily as we get into spring and the summer approaches, fishing on the Essex coast has more than made up for the bad winter.


There has been a variety of species coming up from all over, from Walton on the naze to Frinton on sea right round to Clacton on sea and St Osyth. Fishing any of these venues for most has been excellent. Now if you live around this coast line you know what I’m talking about, if not I’ll go into detail on each venue.

Walton pier for instance has been doing very well these last few weeks, with the end of the pier being the hotspot, it’s always a race to the end when the pier opens at 8am. With Thornback rays coming of thick and fast I’m not surprised. There have been well over 100 caught in the last 4 to 5 weeks with some anglers having finished their sessions with over 12 landed ranging from the low pounds up to double figures. Overall it has been excellent.


Now last year fishing for the Smoothounds wasn’t very good, with not many being landed but the odd one and nothing of  any size. But within the last few weeks now the weather has warmed up the Smoothhound have made their return, and there have been some sizeable ones caught.

Two weeks ago one angler had 2 in a session the biggest being a very impressive 9lb+! There have been many more reports of catches of Smoothhounds from the pier.

Now that’s not the only species being caught on Walton pier. People get excited about the bigger fish and tend to forget about the smaller ones. I myself fish for both, depending on weather and conditions. The last few weeks Walton has seen Mackerel caught on feathers, Wrasse on ragworm, a very sizable pouting and bass the as well as the usual whiting a dogfish.

If you haven’t yet fished this pier then please head down for the day and hopefully you will be rewarded with any of these species. Parking is available on the roads leading to the pier and at a cost of £7 per angler 8am till 10pm for 2 rods you can’t go wrong.


Down a few miles to the coast of Frinton On Sea, and has also been been doing very. There have been Thornback rays even a Stingray of what size is unknown but it looked beautiful. The Bass are showing in greater numbers and I was lucky enough to pluck one out this week! Forgetting my scales I guessed the weight to be around 4lb+. So again if you haven’t fished this venue please get down there. Bait being used is the usual Squid, bluey, ragworm and peelers.

Now moving on around the coast to Clacton On Sea unfortunately I can’t say I have heard or seen a great deal being landed, don’t get me wrong there have been Thornback rays and the odd Bass. However the last few times I;ve come down for a session,  I’ve always been very disappointed, as I have been greeted by the sight of at least 2 miles of nets 500 yards of the beach. This for any angler is a awful site when you see nets just off shore indiscriminately taking everything including the returning Bass. Especially when you take into account the catch and release rule currently in place for us line anglers!  Having said that Clacton does produce some great fish, from Thorneys to Bass, Gurnard and always  a few Dabs and Sole around so plenty to fish for.

The pier is doing well at a cost of £6 for 8am till 6pm with 2 rods, it’s a great mark and always a pleasure to fish. Parking available on the top roads before the pier or you can pay to park on the pier but it’s costly. Season tickets are available at £75 per year with 24hour access to the pier 365 days a year. “Bargain”


One of 4 in caught 3 hours on Clacton pier this year.

Now for the infamous St Osyth Beach.

This venue is a hard venue but get to but in the right conditions it can be very rewarding.

In the last 24hrs is a 45lb stingray show how good this beach can be but you have to put in the hard work. I myself have put in the hours here but no stinger as of yet! A friend of mine last year in middle of summer had one at a whopping 50lb “wow” and then a week later another good friend had one of 33lb. So there is always a good chance to land a monster. Thornback rays are renowned on this beach and also bass. This is my favourite beach for bass in the summer months hitting it just before slack water and waiting for the ebb is key when I go. As it’s bass from the off.


Please feel free to comment and get in touch for more information on this venue.

Now baits used on all these venues :

Unwashed/washed squid.



Fresh peelers or frozen

Black lug.


My preference of rigs is the pulley rigs.

Pulley dropper and the pulley pennel fantastic rigs for rays and bass.

For the smaller species I myself use 2 to 3 hook clip downs rigs and flappers. Obviously it’s the angler’s preference to which end tackle is used.

Please try these venues and let me know what you think. Have you had any bad experiences or have they produced well for you?

Please leave comments and feedback.


Fishing Tails > All Articles > Reports > Essex > What to expect fishing the Essex coast.


10 Responses to "What to expect fishing the Essex coast."
  1. Avatar Mike Smith says:

    Seems pretty accurate to me James I have just returned to sea fishing in the last 2 years. Results for me have not been outstanding but I still enjoy it. I have a small smartwave boat which hopefully will be getting some use this summer. I also want to try some lure fishing. I think any info will be well received so good luck with your venture. I have noticed your name on the local facebook sites by the way.

    • James Doe James Doe says:

      Hi Mike, it can be very hard fishing around this coast but there is alot of well knowledge anglers around for advice if you need it. I’m only a message away if you need any help with anything. Also I do alot of boat and kayak fishing and can definatly put you on the fish bud. Lure fishing can be good around the rocks on Clacton front and St Osyth, not tried it myself yet but it is on the to do list. Again any help you need please message me on Facebook I’d be happy to help mate. Thanks again.

  2. Avatar Drew davidson says:

    Hello mate my name is drew anyone know of any decent marks around Southend or around those parts of Essex recently been trying to get into it as am very experienced in coarse carp but love a go on the beach. Any help would be much appreciated

  3. Avatar Luke says:

    Hi James I’m looking at going fishing from shore or pier on the 28th Dec. Do you have any recommendations please? Thanks luke.

  4. Avatar Jack says:

    Are there any mackeral at st. Osyth beach

  5. Avatar connor starbrook-doherty says:

    Hi James, would love to hear whats coming out of these areas this year; recently been down to frinton beach, caught a decent size doggy along with a few codling, an eel and even a rockling, the following day I fished the same spot mid day only to pull in a few crabs. In the winter months all I pulled was whiting and a few bass mysteriously. Holiday makers are in and are a right pain in the arse getting in the way of your casting every 10 seconds, along with all the dogs sniffing out the squid regardless where you hide it. Would love to hear from you as I am a local to the places you mentioned in your post, thanks!

  6. Avatar simon newton says:

    Nice to see that the coast around Clacton is fishing so well, I’m moviñg to Clacton in about a months time, so great

  7. Avatar Martin says:

    Hi I haven’t been sea fishing for years but plan to go Saturday night to Sunday night.
    I would appreciate any help ideally I would like to fish from the beach high and low tied and park close by any suggestions
    Thanks Martin

  8. Avatar Andy Radley says:

    I’m looking to go out on a beach in Essex some time this week I did st.osyth a week ago my mate had a few bass and whiting me sadly just the one lol so if anyone knows of a good beach I don’t mind leaving Essex for the day Suffolk is ok but I would love to stay local if possible are there any cod showing at the moment I was told by a mate to try Dunwich left of the cafe for a chance of a cod or a good bass any info would be appreciated please guys.

  9. Avatar Kenneth Churchill says:

    I would love to hear of how the beaches at canvy or tilbury are fishing now i know its hard to get up to the minute reports but ones that are weeks old can be next to useless because pf tides and weather Ma y places change from day to day so thd more recent The better thanks verh mu h for any info thanks kdn

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