AS we go into mid-June, most summer fish have arrived, with just the soles slightly behind.

They are being caught from our local venues but not in great numbers.

The weather has been fairly kind to the boat anglers and tope have been caught closer to the shore than ever before.

Tope are renowned for frequenting those further-out fishing marks which makes it more expensive in fuel for boats to reach.

Some charter boats cannot make it beneficial to travel that far for a day’s fishing.

This week has been an exception, with private and charter boats finding tope feeding closer than ever before.

The charter boat Eastern Promise, skippered by Derek Mole, landed some cracking tope, with two fish of over 50lbs.

On board was Adam Tate and he landed two 50-pounders - one on his first cast!

The charter boat Galloper, also out of Mersea, had a great day on the bass with Steve Sleep, from Haverhill, landing a 10lb 10oz fish and Chris Singleton, from Colchester, landing a whopper of 12lb 4oz.

Both fish were caught on big mackerel baits.

The Brightlingsea charter boat Sophie Lea has also been on the tope. Brightlingsea-based Barry Gilders, who has landed tope to 60lbs before, landed five of these fishing beauties in one trip.

Boat angler Daniel Fennessy fished an evening session just off the Jaywick coastline and reported that the thornback rays were in a feeding mood.

In a short time, he landed 12 rays, plus a couple of bass and a smooth-hound.

The beaches have had an up and down week.

Some anglers reported good catches of rays while others blanked.

I always find that to minimise those bite-less sessions, it's best to fish on or around darkness.

My trip this week was to try and catch a stingray as the peak season for these giant rays is very short and only a couple of rays have been reported this summer.

I fished over the top of high water with peeler crab and ragworm baits and crabs were taking the baits within minutes.

As the tide eased, the crabs stopped feeding and I managed to land a few bass in quick succession, followed by a last-cast beauty weighing in at around the 7lb to 8lb mark.

St Osyth beach has fished well on the evening and night tides with anglers catching three or four each on a tide.

Squid and blueys have been the top bait.

Clacton Pier has slowed down slightly for thornback rays.

Once again, evenings will see them feed along with dogfish and bass.

There was a report of a big stingray lost here when the angler didn’t have a drop net to land the fish.

The Holland beaches are still showing the odd smooth-hound.

Weather conditions must be right to catch these mini sharks from the beach. Fairly calm seas and a breeze blowing off the land is best.

Thornback rays have also slowed down here but under darkness will improve your catches.

The Frinton beaches have suffered with weed this week, which has been blown in with the onshore wind.

However, there are still rays to be caught, small bass and the odd sole.

Walton Pier has to be the top venue this week, with thornback rays being caught throughout daylight hours and smooth-hounds caught from the top of the pier. Bass, wrasse and garfish are showing around the pier piles with a few soles caught from the lower part of the pier.

Mark Lawrence fished an afternoon tide and landed a 10lb-plus thornback ray from the top of the pier.

He also told me that eels and dogfish were also caught.

Colchester Sea Angling Club’s latest match was held on Walton’s Coast Guard beaches.

They fished round three of their Colchester Bait and Tackle Evening League on a cold night with a stiff on-shore wind blowing.

The conditions were far from ideal and out of the 18 anglers fishing, 11 didn’t catch any fish!

Top rod on the night was Neil Cocks, with a thornback ray of 5lb 1oz.

This also gave him the heaviest fish pool.

Second was Chris Mills, with 1lb 4oz, which included the heaviest flatfish pool with a 12oz sole.

In a close third was Phil Buy, with 1lb 1oz.

The high tides for the weekend are 2.29pm on Saturday and 3.18pm on Sunday.