East Anglia is most renowned for the calibre of its shore fishing for cod. It produces more big fish than any other section of the coast bordering the North Sea and cod up to and even over 30 lb. Are taken every winter.
The cod generally arrive inshore in mid-October and stay until April. The best of the bigger fish come in November with New Year cod tending to be small. The best area is the 50 miles of coast centred on Lowestoft.
The best fishing time is generally from half-tide up to high water although cod can betaken at all stages of the tide. Night tides are the most productive.
Whiting arrive in early September and give continuous sport for two months but summer shore fishing is often poor. The Suffolk beaches are best for whiting and individual catches of up to 30 fish scaling to over 2 lb. Are common.
The summer sport is primarily for mullet, dab and flounder, with some bass. The bass, like the cod, run big. Fish of 10 lb. And better are taken from open beaches to short casting and from some of the more southerly estuaries.
Bass are not evenly distributed. The best beach fishing is from Southwold to Orford, with more fish on the Walton to Clacton salient. It is only recently that East Anglians have become fully aware of the bass prospects and catches have increased accordingly.
Exceptionally large bass are taken from the Crouch and Blackwater estuaries each year and with the continued improvement of water quality in the River Thames many species are now moving up that estuary as far as Tilbury.
East Anglia’s shore fishing for thomback ray used to be its best summer feature but commercial fishing against the stock has reduced the number of these fish, particularly off the East Norfolk beaches extending from Bacton to Hemsby. A big offshore sandbank has also helped to keep the fish out of casting range.
Very big stingray are found close inshore in summer, particularly in the shallow water. The best area for these fish is the Blackwater estuary but they can also be caught close to The Wash at Hunstanton.
Boat fishing has shown a staggering popularity and has increased 500 percent in the last decade. The most popular centres are at Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft, Harwich and Felixstowe, Brightlingsea, Bradwell and Southend.
Most boat fishing is carried out within three miles of the shoreline although there is now a greater interest being shown in long range operations up to 45 miles out. As from the shore, cod provide the bulk of the sport in winter.
The most productive ground lies offshore from the Blackwater where cod catches are out-standing. In summer this same area yields huge catches of thornback ray. In 1976 two boats returned with 66 ray on a single trip. Bass also favour the offshore sandbanks, some of which dry out at low water. Some catches have been so high that boatmen, fearing an excessive loss of fish have limited anglers to one or two fish for the table on each trip.
Tope are occasionally caught from the shore but boat anglers have the best of this species. It is doubtful if tope are now as numerous as 20 years ago but they are taken along the full length of coast under review. 60-pounders are present but the fish average 30lb.
There are no authenticated reports of sharks ever being taken here but offshore fishing is expected to locate turbot in some strength as boat fishing increases in intensity.
Shore fishing from Hunstanton beach, from the slipway to the cliffs at the northern end of the town, the town pier and the promenade. Main species caught from the shore include bass, dab, eel, mackerel, stingray and thomback ray. These species, together with cod, conger and dogfish can be caught from boats; ray are also taken from boats but care must be taken to avoid offshore sandbanks. Lug and rag from the beach.
Cley-next-the-Sea: The steep shingle beach fishes well for bass, cod, conger, dab, flounder, mullet, plaice, pollack, sole and whiting. Harbour fishing at Blakeney and Morston. Offshore boat fishing from Blakeney and Morston can give anglerfish, black bream, coalfish, dogfish, gurnard, mackerel, ray and some turbot. Worm available from Blakeney.
Shore fishing from the sand and shingle beach -especially to the west of the town – for brill, cod, dab, eel, flounder, plaice, sole and small turbot. The steep-to beach at Old High is a popular venue for mackerel, but fishing can be hampered by holidaymakers.
Boat hiring difficult, but offshore fishing can produce catches of all the common species of the area. Some lug from beach at lowtide.
Shore fishing from Cromer beach yields bass, cod, dab, flounder, plaice, silver eel and sole. Cromer pier is a popular venue for these species. Offshore fishing from Cromer produces some bass, coalfish, cod, dogfish, ray, tope and whiting. Lug from opposite the lighthouse.
The local beach fishes well for cod and flatfish (mainly dab and sole). Other species to be caught include all the common species of the area plus thornback ray and the occasional tope. Boat fishing is also worthwhile. Lug from the beach at lowtide.
An offshore sandbank creates shallow water, from which good quality catches of cod, dab and whiting can be taken. Offshore fishing from boats can be productive in the area known as Hemsby Hole for mixed species, with a good chance of thornback ray. A few lug from the beach at low tide.
Shore fishing is productive from the harbour entrance to Caister (a distance of over six miles) and south to Gorleston. Pier fishing from the Britannia and Wellington Piers, and various jetties also fish well. Main species from the shore include cod, dab, flounder, plaice and whiting.
When boat fishing, care should be taken since offshore sandbanks or ‘shoals’ can prove a hazard. Numbers of black bream, coalfish, cod, dogfish, gurnard, mackerel, ray, sole, tope and whiting. Worm bait available locally.
Situated north of Lowestoft, the beach at Corton offers varied shore and dinghyfishing for cod, dab, dogfish, flounder, tope and whiting. The occasional bass, mackerel, sole, thornback ray and turbot can also be taken. The best markforcod and otherspecies is at Tramp’s Alley.
Shore fishing along Lowestoft North beach and also to the south along Pakefield Beach at such venues as: Jolly Sailors, Crazy Mary’s Hole, The Bushes, Kessingland and Benacre. South PierandClaremontPierarealso popular fishing venues. Species caught from the shore include bass, cod, dab, flounder, mackerel, mullet, plaice, sole and whiting.
From a boat, the buoyed systems of channels and sandbanks out from Lowestoft harbour can fish well for cod, conger, dogfish, ling, mackerel, mullet, thornback ray, topeandwhiting. Worm bait available locally.
Shore fishing marks at Southwold harbour, Eastern Bavents, Foot of Gun Hill car park and, to the north, at Covehithe. Southwold pier is another popular venue. Main species from the shore are bass, cod, dab, flounder, mullet, plaice, soleand whiting. Boat fishing can yield bass, cod, conger, dogfish, mackerel, pollack, pouting, ray, sole, tope and whiting.
Shore fishing marks along Aldeburgh beach cover a distance of threemiles. Mainspeciestaken are cod, dab, flounder, garfish, plaice, sole and whiting. Possibly the best mark is known as the Dirty Wall, also the chance of thornback ray. Very little boatfishing and bait is in short supply.
Best fished from a boat, but several local shore marks at Felixstowe Ferry, The Dip, Cobbold’s Point, Manor End and Felixstowe Town pier. Bass, cod, dab, flounder, plaice, sole, tope and whiting are the main quarry of the shore angler.
Bass, cod, conger, mackerel, ray, sole, tope and whiting can be reached by boat. The best boat fishing area is around Cobbold’s Point, but winterfishing asfar down as Bawdsey is very well worthwhile. Bait is easily available locally.
Superb fishing in Harwich harbour for sole and thornback ray as well as numbers of other species common in this area. Good size bass, cod, conger, flatfish, thornback ray, tope and whiting can be reached by boat. Limited beach fishing along Dovercourt Bay for bass, codling, flatfish and whiting. Worm bait available locally.
Walton on the Naze:
Local shore fishing marks along Naze Tower and Frinton beaches, plus the three quarter-mile-long pier give catches of bass, cod, flatfish, garfish, mullet, smooth hound, stingray and thornback ray, topeandwhiting.
Boatfishing outfrom Walton or Frinton for catches of bass, cod, conger, dab, dogfish, flounder, mackerel, stingray and thornback ray, sole, tope and whiting – prime boat marks are Cork Sands, Medusa Buoy, North East Gunfleet and West Rocks. Worm bait available locally.
Good local pier and beach marks with notable catches of anglerfish, bass, cod, flounder, dab, plaice, ray, stingray, tope and whiting. Prime marks near Holland Haven and the Jaywick sea wall for cod and whiting. Boatfishing can yield catches of bass, cod, conger, sole, stingray, thornback ray, tope, turbot and whiting.
A rapidly developing boat station with its own marina. Shore fishing is mainly limited to mullet, some bass and big stingray. Boats fishing the estuary and offshore have excellent recordsfor many species including bass, ray, cod, whiting and tope.
Shore fishing marks running along local beaches from Leighto Shoeburyness. Southend pierand tidal stretches of the River Crouch and River Blackwater are also popular venues. Catches include, bass, cod, conger, dab, flounder, plaice, sole, tope and wrasse.
Fine offshore boat fishing for bass, black bream, cod, conger, dab, dogfish, mackerel, pollack, ray, sole, tope and whiting. Rag and lug obtained locally.