Saturday, 8 November 2008

Fishing Report: 07th November 08 - Clacton on sea, Essex

Although the Codling have been around for a number of weeks now it's only just lately that its actually felt much like the autumn really. The last of the trees are starting to lose their leaves and the changing of the clocks along with the drawing in of the nights have finally got me programmed in to giving up on the chance of Bass and succumbing totally to thoughts of chasing Codling from a windswept shore. It's true enough that it doesn't need to be rough to catch Codling but to me when I dream of Cod, I dream of big surf, strong winds and water with lots of colour in it and its that kind of weather that has generally brought with it better sport for me.

With reports of the fishing finally hotting up and a good weather forecast with a stiff onshore breeze on the cards I had been itching to get on the beach all week for a proper session after the Codling and after much deliberation I decided to try my luck at Clacton's Gunfleet Sailing Club. After skipping work early and quickly getting my gear together I arrived at the mark a little later than planned but just in time to fish the last hour of the flood on the 7pm tide and a few hours of the ebb at my favoured spot here, right by the Sailing Club slipway. Here both the Sailing Club's slip and the nearby land drain pipe way disrupt the tide, providing a patch of shore with slightly deeper water and with some rough ground which seems to attract the Codling and bring them in closer than other parts of the beach. It is however a difficult spot to fish and accurate casting is a necessity here if you want to avoid heavy tackle losses.

By the time I had got fishing the flood tide had eased and it was no surprise really that only a couple of average sized Whiting and a Pouting of about 12oz came to the rods. However, once the ebb started to move though it all changed and, pretty much as I expected, about 40 minutes into the ebb the Codling started to play, although they were being a bit finicky hitting the Frozen Black baits and then dropping them almost immediately. I missed about 3 or 4 of these finicky takes before finally I connected with a fish that had slack-lined the TT Sport and after it had tugged a bit in the surf I finally had a sizable Codling of about 45cm on the promenade.

The fish continued to play awkward for the rest of the ebb but despite this, by the time the water had dropped enough to allow me to get down off the promenade and onto the beach I had three sizable Codling in the bag and had lost another in the backwash on the concrete slipway. By now most of the other anglers on this stretch (most of whom were already fishing when I arrived) had disappeared but I stuck at it for another hour as past sessions at this mark have shown that a bonus fish or two can be had by fishing at range, late in the tide. My persistence paid off and by the time I packed up at around 10:30pm, having run out of bait, I had managed another couple of Whiting, A Pouting roughly the same size as the first, a Rockling and the best Codling of the night, which took a large bait of frozen Black Lugworm fished right by the end of the land drain pipe. All in all a thoroughly enjoyable few hours at a mark that has been a favourite of mine for 20 years or more and rarely disappoints when the Codling are around in force.

On a final note I should add a word of caution for anybody intending to fish this spot. During easterly and northerly blows this spot is an exceptionally safe mark to fish and offers good shelter from the wind, although you should watch out for sudden swells if you are casting or landing fish off the concrete slipway. The mark can however become very dangerous during southerly gales, particularly those from the south west, as the waves are forced by the wind into the corner of the promenade and up the slipway often washing along the promenade at some force. The recent addition of metal railings along this stretch have improved safety in rough weather (despite being a pain in the bum for casting) but in very heavy southerly winds you should stay off the slipway itself.