I have fished here for years so will try and give you a breakdown of species, best baits and areas to fish, here goes...
Firstly, unless you want to go out on one of the many charter boats then I'd recommend you get yourself onto Southend Pier. The mud-flats in the estuary are just that "FLAT", and when the tide goes out there is literally no water to cast out until you're around a mile from shore. So, to really have a long days session and enough water to fish in your best getting on the pier.
OK, summer species to be had:
Bass mainly schoolies but some to 7lb
Mackerel, mainly joeys
Very few Plaice, my PB 2lb 10oz
Scad mackerel, though not so common now
Sometimes Whiting but more in winter
Rag, Lug, Macky strip are the usual suspects for most species... Mackerel feathers always score well too.
For the big Bass try live Joey mackerel or pouting fished tight to the pier, even letting it go a little under with the tide run facing you if you dare, but be prepared to loose a little tackle. Dead-baits such as Mackerel head and guts and large fillet are also meant to score well too, I haven't tried these baits...
Flatties like a worm and macky strip cocktail fished down by the side of the pier on a basic running ledger rig, but it doesn't have to be fished so tight to it as they do venture out a bit.
Basically, as I have now learned, don't cast away from the pier!!! You'll see most other anglers doing this, most by mistake others perhaps because they know of a secret feature but there is none that I truly know of...
Spots to try:
You'll see a lot of anglers fishing with feathers etc for the mackerel by the train station on the end of the iper. This is best fished for 4 hours from 2 hours before high tide to 2 hours after.
For general fishing try and avoid casting off the end of the pier as there are so many snags down there, look around and you'll see a nice spot on the day...
For Bass, I'm fairly new to Bass hunting so can't really recommend anywhere yet. Saying that, I am off after them tomorrow so I'll report back with my findings!
There is a tackle and bait shop called Southend Angling opposite the Pier train station enterance. They open at 8am for your worms etc. Call the in advance to book your worm as they sell out quickly. Number is - 01702 603 303
The pier opens at 8:30am with a train running to the end of it which is nice as it's a mile and a quarter to the end if not ;0)
Fishing ticket for the day will cost you £3.50...
That's about it buddy, don't expect monsters and you'll have a good day...