Its still a bit early to really go out targeting Plaice in Cornwall and the rest of the UK, but it will not be very long and I have heard of a few fish showing already. Plaice can be fished for from the shore / beach and inshore fishing boats to a high degree of success. (photo by f10n4)
The Plaice is a desirable catch, being one of the best eating fish in my opinion and I am sure many others would agree with me. The important factor when plaice fishing is to balance your tackle, using sinkers and gear that match the environment you are fishing in. Plaice do not reach huge sizes, I am not sure on the current British record but would imagine its sub 8Lbs. Use your imagination and try everything to capture one.
Identifying your Plaice Shore / beach mark.
Seek local knowledge first of all, speak to fellow anglers and find the local hot spots. Plaice have a particular liking to mussel. Check your potential fishing mark at low water for mussel beds or do some research with local commercial fishermen (they wonâ€™t give much away) If you can locate a few areas that are rich in mussel then this is where I would start.
I would aim to cast to the side of features from the beach, for example; if you have a mussel bed and clean shingle try and cast to the area close to this interface as thatâ€™s where the fish generally are.
Rigs for Plaice fishing
Size 1 long shank hooks on a range of different traces can be used depending on the tide, range and system you are using. You do not have to have the baited hook tight to the bottom, Plaice are aggressive hunters and will move off the substrate in order to secure a meal.
Pimp your rig – Plaice love bling: beads, spoons and another attractor are worth using to increase your chances. Adding movement and visual stimulus to your bait is important, these guys are visual hunters.
Flowing trace – Use as lighter lead as possible to allow your end gear to move around in the tide and currents. I find lug worm tipped with a long thin slice of squid works best.
Pulley rig – I love this simple rig and it allows for powerful long casts. It also helps in hooking the fish as the weight is connected directly to the weight.
Multiple hook paternoster – Any combination ie 2 up and 1 down will work. Some people prefer wide white booms as they create movement when they are caught by the current giving life to the bait. Its really up to you.
Most of the popular baits will work to capture a Plaice. Mackerel fillets cut on the silver, Hermit crab, Sand eels, Squid, Rag Worm, Razor fish and Peeler crab will all work. I would suggest that Squid, Crab and Ragworm in a cocktail are the most usual baits. Mussel would also be worth using, but being a soft bait you really need to freeze it on the hook and have 20 or more pre-made hook baits in a thermos.
Plaice fishing the technique
This is something I have learnt and it works for most flatties. Keep your bait moving, not quickly but allow it to flow in the current and slowly wind it in, moving its location by a few feet at a time. I am not talking about spinning, more covering the ground well hunting out the fish. The best system for this is to tighten your line and when the line goes slack wind in again and so on. Fishing like this for sight hunters will get your baited hook close to a lot more fish if you use this method. I think sea anglers become very sedentary at times when fishing from the shore and taking a leaf from game fishing and plugging works wonders when bait fishing off a beach.
Detecting the Bite
The plaice will generally hook its self quite well, however the bites are subtle and to get the best bite detection you should hold your fishing rod. The problem is that flatties in general will take the baited hook deep into their throats causing possible death to undersized fish. The bite would be best described as a rattle and tug if you get anything at all. Leave it for a while and strike and play the fish to the shore.
If you have anything to add please comment below or email us about Plaice fishing. Image:Mike