This stretch of coastline is popular with windsurfers and jet skiers as well as anglers. It can become busy during the summer but pick a calm evening or early morning tide and you can reap the rewards.
The main target species here throughout the summer months are flounder, eel and school bass. The flounder can run to 2lb plus and big bags are quite easy to put together when the fish are feeding.
Standard beachcasting kit is all you need but it is possible to target these fish with lighter gear, like a bass or carp rod.
Finding the marks couldn’t be simpler. All you have to do is take the coast road west from Southend seafront and once past Westcliff-on-Sea you will come to Chalkwell.
Follow the road to the end where it bears right. If you go straight on you will see ample parking facilities. Be aware of the speed cameras on the coast road – there are plenty of them!
1 The Bay
The first mark you come to when travelling west from Southend is The Bay. This mark produces some excellent flounder fishing during the summer but it can really only be fished in the evening or first light due to holidaymakers.
It is not the best mark to fish for numbers but there has been a few big flatties caught here in recent years. Top bait is peeler crab on a three-hook flapper rig armed with size 1 hooks. Tip your baits off with a few peeled crab legs for added attraction.
2 Stone Jetty
Not so much a jetty, more an ‘overhang’ this. It’s the ideal mark for poor casters and junior anglers because it’s elevated above the sea and gives you that little extra casting distance.
A cast of about 50 yards will put you among the fish and you can expect good numbers of flatties and schoolies throughout the summer months. There have been plenty of small whiting and dab caught from here in the winter.
3 The Phone
A new addition to the Chalkwell foreshore, this phone is situated on the promenade. The beach directly in front of the phone fishes well on the flood tide and two hours down for flatties, eel and school bass.
Try using crab for the flatties and eel, with ragworm on a three-hook flapper for the schoolies. Using a plain lead here will help you move your baits about in the tide to entice more bites from inquisitive flatties.
4 The Block
Fishing just to the right of this landmark puts you onto a sandy beach. There are numerous small gullies in front of you and that’s where the flounder will be running along as the tide pushes in. It’s a good idea to get here at low water and make a mental note of where you need to cast as the tide pushes up the beach.
Peeler crab tipped with ragworm is a good bait here and you can expect some good eel sport during the summer. Schoolies will also show after dark to ragworm and crab baits.
5 Crow Stone
This landmark is actually situated some 80 yards out to sea! There is a hard path situated just to the right of this and at low water you can use it to walk out for the best part of a mile without getting stuck in the soft mud. The whole area is littered with small boulders and rocks and these are a haven for crabs, especially when they are peeling. Time it right and you can go and collect your bait before you start fishing!
Because there is plenty of food here, there are also some big flounder to be caught. Using a two-hook, one-up, one-down rig will help you find the fish.
6 Chalkwell Beach
This beach runs all the way west to Leigh-on-Sea and there are numerous gullies to target flatties, eel and bass. Visit the area at low water to see where the best spots are. There are lots of boats and moorings along this stretch, so be careful or you will lose a lot of tackle.
Again, there are plenty of rocks that give shelter to peeling crabs, so using crab as bait is a sensible option. It’s advisable to use a single-hook rig here to cut down on potential gear loss. A night session, fishing close in, can produce good numbers of school bass.
Essex Angling Centre, 109 Leigh Road, Leigh-on-Sea, Essex. Tel: 01702 711231.
Bait & Tackle Centre, 258a Southchurch Road, Southend-on-Sea,
Southend Angling Centre, 5-6 Pier Approach, Western Esplanade, Southend-on-Sea,
Jetty Anglers, 47 Eastern Esplanade, Southend-on-Sea, Essex. Tel: 01702 611826.
TSF Top Tip 1
Tipping off your baits with a thin strip of squid, or even a single tentacle, can often entice an extra bite or two.
TSF Top Tip 2
Using a small, plain, running lead cast close in allows you to roll your baited hook along the sea bed to search out the gullies.