SPRING has finally arrived with temperatures rising nicely and light winds also helping anglers somewhat.

Thornback rays are still the main catch but some big whiting are also showing for boat anglers and dogfish are now being caught in numbers.

Gunfleet Boating Club members Sandie Davis and Alan Tipple launched their boat on a foggy morning from the club beach and headed off to fish the local coastline.

They had a great day, landing plenty of those new arrival dogfish.

Sandie landed her personal best thornback ray, weighing in at 10lb 8oz, as well as her biggest whiting.

Alan lost a double-figured ray at the side of the boat.

Their fish were caught on lugworm and squid baits.

Dave Hollands and Rocky Rotchell also launched from the Gunfleet Boating Club and landed eight thornback rays, with two being in double figures.

The charter boat Hard Labour, out of Mersea, is also reporting thornback rays in numbers, with several rays in the 12 to 13lb range.

The St Osyth beaches are still the top venue to head for, with rays and dogfish being caught in numbers from in between the rocky breakwaters and to the right along the open beach.

The beaches have had a reasonable week, with evening tides fishing into darkness proving the best.

Matt Clark landed the biggest codling so far from the beach, weighing in at 4lb 2oz.

John Moakes headed for the Holland beaches and landed a 10lb 7oz thornback ray, using herring bait on a single 3/0 hook on an up and over rig.

Lawrence Chisnall and Phil Ringer fished the Kingscliff beaches at Holland on an evening tide and they caught three thornback rays between them.

Lawrence also told me that the dogfish had arrived here in numbers.

Clacton Pier is once again the venue to head for, with plenty of rays to be caught, along with dogfish and whiting.

My trip this week was to Walton Pier to see if I could catch a ray.

I fished a daytime flood tide from the top of the pier.

I lost count of the amount of dogfish that I caught but alas no rays for me.

Fishing tides into darkness seem to be the best bet for consistent catches of rays, although don’t disregard daylight as rays will be caught.

The Clacton Pier Charity Shield fishing competition will once again be held on the local pier on Sunday, May 13, with fishing from 10am until 3pm.

Tickets are now on sale at Clacton Angling on 01255 221863 and Deans Tackle on 01255 425992.

The high tides for the weekend are 11.44am on Saturday and 12.20pm on Sunday.