JANUARY can be a hard month to get through.

There can be very little to catch and we seem to be in that mode at the moment.

Herring and sprat shoals seem to be filling up the estuary, as they always do every year, although that shouldn't affect the thornback rays too much.

The boats have seen a few calm days and been able to put to sea.

Some rays have been caught, along with whiting and a few dogfish. Unfortunately, there's still not much sign of codling.

However, if like last year, we may see a small spring run appear in March.

We really haven’t seen any of those small first-year codling for a few years now and without those there's no breeding stock to continue.

I'm sure it's just a cycle and we'll finally get back on the right track.

Colchester Sea Angling Club fished their first match of the year on the Holland-on-Sea beaches.

Twenty-six anglers turned out - a record for the club in recent years.

They fished in bright and chilly conditions and the going was tough!

Twenty anglers weighed in with a catch of mainly dabs, whiting, pouting and flounders.

First place went to Bill Paquette, with 1lb 4oz, which included a 1lb 2oz flounder. It won him the heaviest flatfish prize.

Second place went to Joe Dubiard, with 1lb 2oz, and third to Ken Peacock, with 15oz.

The heaviest round fish prize went to Chris Mills, with a 5oz whiting.

The Clacton and Holland beaches have had a mediocre week, with rays being caught on some beaches along with a few whiting.

Clacton Pier has also seen the odd ray and whiting.

Walton Pier has been seeing some rays from the top of the pier, along with whiting, dabs and the odd dogfish.

The Walton Pier Club fished their latest match here and 15 anglers fished in dry and windy conditions, but with a fairly flat sea.

It was never going to be an easy match and so it proved.

Sizeable fish were few and far between.

Top spot went to Ian Walker, with 1lb 9.5oz.

Second place went to Dan Winter, with 14.5oz, and third to Robert Pobjoy, with 11.5oz.

The biggest fish prize went to Ian Walker, with a 1lb 7oz dogfish.

The high tides for the weekend are 3.36pm on Saturday and 4.26pm on Sunday.