WITH the country basking in Mediterranean-like conditions, fish usually found in those seas have been making a surprise appearance on Essex beaches.

For the first time in my memory, anchovies have been landed by anglers in this county.

They may have been landed in Cornwall or somewhere but, to the best of my knowledge, never in Essex.

The report of anchovies came from Richard Holgate up in Walton.

He said that anglers fishing under the pier caught what they thought were smelt at first but, upon closer inspection, were revealed to be anchovies.

They were the topping on top of the pizza for fishermen up there who also caught pollock, black bream, ballan wrasse, bass and mackerels.

Elsewhere, it’s encouraging to see so many eels being caught in the county once again.

It was only four or five years ago that we were told they were virtually extinct from the area but they are back with a bang because they are everywhere and a few good-sized ones as well.

Of course, you can’t keep them unless you have a licence to do so.

* Erith Morrison’s Jetty: Eddie Sharp reports flounders in good numbers and the odd sole.

* Belvedere: Bass to 2lb, flounders, a few big eels and the odd small sole.

* Gravesend: Graham from Dolphin Angling reports soles, eels, flounders and bass.

* Greenhythe: One angler at the weekend had a brace of 3.5lb bass. Also being caught were a few soles and an increasing number of eels.

* River Crouch: Chance of a roker, plus bass and eels.

* River Roach: Flounders, eels and the odd bass.

Southend Pier: Weed allowing, bass plus a few garfish and mackerel. Inside there are flounders and the chance of a mullet at low water.

Chalkwell beaches: Mullett, bass, plus the chance of a flounder.

Westcliff to West Beach: One or a mixture of schoolies, flounders and eels.

* Barge Pier: Bass and mullet when it’s weed free.

* Boats: Misty Lady, out of Walton-on-the-Naze, had double-figured smoothhounds, roker, bass and dogfish. Those after tope are catching some really big ones this year.