FISHING reports have been very patchy, of late.

There are loads of whiting and dogfish to be caught but, alas, cod stocks are very much down in our Thames estuary.

In fact, reports from all around the British Isles are down, which makes for grim reading.

The last ten years have seen our cod stocks drop dramatically.

Yes, we still have pockets of fish - the south coast around the Chesil beach area has produced a few, as has the Bristol channel and a few from Bridlington.

But that’s about it!

It really is a sad reflection of our heady days of British trawlers returning with tonnes of our staple diet.

We are now looking for fish of unknown names from far afield in our local supermarkets.

Our fishery ministers change like the wind and the powers that be need to get to grips with what the real life commercial fisherman has to contend with.

Back to this week’s fishing column and, yes, there are still loads of fish to be caught.

In fact, fish into darkness and it’s a bite a cast.

Whiting are the predominant species and, to be honest, it's difficult to get through them.

However, with light tackle, they can be great sport, along with still the odd bass and dogfish.

Colchester Sea Angling Club headed for the Frinton beaches for the second of their sponsored Wass’s Tackle matches.

They fished the shallow beaches on the Frinton coastline.

Eighteen anglers turned out on a windy day but with calming seas it was looking to be a productive match. So it proved.

Fish were in abundance and those long-range casters certainly had the advantage.

Gary Hambleton won the match with 10lb 10oz.

In a very close second was Neil Cocks, with 10lb 3oz, which included the heaviest round fish - a whiting of 11oz.

Third place went to Nik Highfield (8lb 5oz), while the heaviest flatfish prize went to Chris Mills, with a 6oz dab.

Walton Pier is still producing thornback rays and plenty of whiting.

Steven Ruggles did manage to land an elusive codling on a night tide from the pier.

Jay Davy fished during daylight hours and caught dabs, dogfish and whiting.

He also lost one very big fish that almost took his rod over the side of the pier.

The Holland and Clacton beaches are very productive after dark and local angler Richard Dale fished here and reported that it was whiting on most casts, with the majority being of a good size.

Clacton Pier is still in thornback ray mode, with rays showing on day and night tides, but still only an outside chance of a codling.

From the boats, reports are much the same too, with just an outside chance of a codling.

However, those thornback rays make up for it.

Rays to 9lbs have been reported.

Martin Smyth fished on Chris Jaibahadur’s boat just in the Brightlingsea estuary.

They landed 13 thornback rays between them, plus dogfish, with Martyn landing the biggest ray of 9lbs.

The high tides for the weekend are 12.02pm on Saturday and 12.46pm on Sunday.