WE bathed in glorious sunshine at the weekend and, with calm seas, boat anglers took advantage of the conditions.

Early summer will see the tope packs move along our part of the coast.

They are still a few miles out but those anglers willing to put in the distance have caught tope to over 50lbs.

Last year the tope packs moved to within a couple of miles of the shore so let’s hope they do the same this year.

Darren Hutchinson and Kevin Redman fished from their boat, Black Marlin, and made the long journey out to fish off the Clacton coast.

They caught some very big tope, with Kevin landing the biggest, weighing in at 53lbs.

Plenty of mackerel are also showing for the boat anglers.

It’s a case of finding the shoals and enjoying some bumper sport.

Alan Tipple and Sandie Davis fished from Gunfleet Boat Club's ramp and picked the hottest day of the year so far but still the fish were feeding.

They caught smooth hounds to 8lbs, plus seven bass to 4lbs, with plenty of thornback rays and dogfish to add to the catch.

The beach anglers have had a fairly quiet week.

The bright sunshine and clear seas have seen most fish head out into deeper waters during daylight hours.

So the best chance of a fish or two is to fish in the evening into darkness.

My trip this week was with father-and-son team Lee and Oly Kucyi, from Milford Haven, who I met in Iceland a couple of years ago.

I had promised the pair a fishing trip in search of our famous Essex stingrays.

We had a great day on the beach in the sweltering heat, catching bass.

Young Oly caught his first stingray, so the trip was well worth it!

The Holland beaches have been slow this week, although daytime tides are seeing a few school bass from around the rocky breakwaters.

Walton Pier has also slowed somewhat with a few thornback rays from the top of the pier, although fishing down by the piles with light tackle will see wrasse, pollack, garfish and bass being caught.

Walton Sea Angling Club fished their latest evening match on the pier, with most anglers opting to fish alongside the piles for the smaller fish.

Top angler on the night was Rob Tuck, with 20 fish for 8lb 14oz.

Second place went to Peter Harris, with eight fish for 2lb 14oz, and third to Nik Highfield, with four fish for 1lb 4oz.

The Walton and Frinton beaches have seen a few soles and school bass after dark.

The ebb tide has been a problem for anglers with lots of floating weed laying heavy on the line.

Colchester Sea Angling Club headed to Suffolk to fish the Dunwich beaches for their monthly league match.

Fifteen anglers fished on a dry but overcast day and expectations were high for some good catches.

First place went to Olly Yallop, with 6lb 6oz, and his catch included a 5lb 4oz thornback ray.

This also took the heaviest fish pool prize.

In second was Nik Highfield, with 4lb 12oz, and in third was Chris Mills, with 3lb 15oz.

Bill Paquette won the heaviest flatfish prize with a 10oz flounder.

The high tides for the weekend are 4.13pm on Saturday and 5.06pm on Sunday.