AUTUMN seems to have arrived far too quickly.
The nights are drawing in and the weather has seen strong winds stir that Mediterranean-clear sea we’ve seen for the last few weeks.
However, we anglers are always optimistic and welcome the new season that is now upon us.
Those smooth hounds that have been a regular catch for boat anglers are now dwindling in numbers and will be moving offshore in the next couple of weeks.
Now is the time for those big bass to be feeding before winter arrives and, with the whiting shoals now in force, the bass are feeding on them.
The autumn run of thornback rays has started in force, with both beach and boat anglers having good sport and rays to double figures being caught.
There is no sign of cod to speak of and it was only two years ago that marine conservationists hailed the return of cod to the North Sea, when reports suggested there were 152,000 tonnes in the region!
How they could say that is beyond me as we have struggled to see any significant catches in the last ten years.
It’s a shame the powers that be don’t talk to the fishermen that know what’s happening in the North Sea. I certainly haven’t been contacted.
This week has seen those Thames Estuary whiting arrive in force with beach and pier anglers seeing whiting caught in numbers on the evening tides.
They seem to be slightly bigger this season and well worth targeting.
My trip this week was an evening trip to Walton Pier.
I was greeted with high winds and rain but, undeterred, I headed for the middle section of the pier.
The thornback rays and dogfish were feeding and I lost count of how many dogfish I caught.
As the tide eased, the rays fed well.
I landed seven to 10lbs, along with an unknown fish that took half a bluey bait on a 6/0 pennel and nearly took the rod over the pier rail!
Sadly, the mysterious heavyweight wasn’t hooked but my thoughts are a very big bass or a conger eel.
Walton Sea Angling Club also fished Walton Pier for their latest evening match. They fished over high water and, with choppy seas, hopes were high for a good match.
Thornback rays, pouting, dogfish and eels were caught.
The top angler on the night was Alan Humm, with 17 whiting and a dogfish for 7lb 4oz.
Second place went to Steve Simpson, with 20 whiting for 7lb, and third to Mick Frost, with 6lb 7oz.
The heaviest fish prize went to Bill Paquette, with a 2lb 11oz thornback ray.
The Walton beaches are seeing soles and bass being caught either side of the pier after dark.
Colchester Sea Angling Club headed for Felixstowe for their league match.
Sixteen anglers fished a breezy day at Landguard Reserve and, with a strong tide running and plenty of weed, the fishing could have been difficult.
In fact, it proved quite the contrary and all anglers caught fish, including pouting, thornback rays, bass and eels.
First place went to the in-form Nik Highfield, with a mixed bag of fish for 12lb 7oz.
His catch included the heaviest round fish prize in the form of a 5lb 10oz thornback ray.
In a close second was Phil Buy, with 11lb 14oz, and in third was Mick Bradley, with 11lb 6oz.
The high tides for the weekend are 5.11pm on Saturday and 6.12pm on Sunday.
If you have any fishing reports, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org