Plaice

Plaice are a flatfish that are commonly caught between Spring and Autumn seasons in the UK on muddy seabeds and estuaries throughout UK and Ireland.

Plaice Fish

NAMES
Plaice, European Plaice, Pleuronectes platessa

LOCATION
Plaice are commonly found between Spring and autumn on Muddy sea beds thoughout UK and Irish waters. They are also present in numbers in the Mediterranean and Black Seas.
FISHING TECHNIQUES:
Typically caught by ledgering in muddy bottom areas. Attracted by a variety of bait and use of colourful sequins can increase chances of a catch.
NATURAL DIET:
Feeds on shellfish, crustaceans and marine worms.
MINIMUM SIZE:
To keep a fish, it must be over 28cm in length. It is advisable to keep fish over 30cm though to make sure they have had a chance to spawn.
RECORD UK SHORE CAUGHT SIZE:
8lb 6oz

WEIGHT:
Shore caught weight typically 1 – 3lb. Can grow up to approximately 7-8lb.

LENGTH:
Can reach a length of approximately 30 inches.
BEST BAIT:
Typically caught using Ragworm, Black Lugworm, Shellfish such as cockles and mussels, shrimps and small crabs.

How to catch Plaice

Anglers should typically start to catch plaice in Spring time, as they start to return to shallower coastal waters after a period of spawning in deeper offshore waters. Plaice are quite an aggressive fish that will take most types of bait but their favourite baits are marine worms such as Ragworm and Black Lugworm, Crustaceans including Mussels and small Crabs.

Plaice are usually caught in areas with a muddy sea bed or estuary type bottom, where they will commonly be found feeding in gullies and depressions in the seabed. A good way of finding this depressions or guillies is to visit the venue on a low tide where you are able to see the characteristics of the location and take a reference for when the tide begins to push and the area revealed at low tide, is now covered with seawater.

Another option of finding these gullies is to used a weight without grippers that will roll around the seabed with the current and the surf just like bait does, eventually coming to a stop in a gully where feeding plaice will be found.

The use of colourful beads

Plaice are said to be attracted to colourful sequins and beads and anglers often alternative the colours black and green to attract this particular fish. Beads are extremely cheap to buy and can be purchased from Amazon for only 69p.

The addition of bait to a hook

If fishing in the day time, you can try a strip of squid or a piece of mackerel belly as a addition to your hook which will flow in the tide and add an additional visual attraction to the bait.

Using Ragworm to tip the end of a bait so that the tail will wriggle offers both additional visual attraction and will often catch a specimen size plaice looking for a large meal. A combination of different baits used across a number of hooks allows you to try different bait and see if there is one particular bait that is outfishing others.

Using crab to catch Plaice

A great combination of bait which has proven to catch this fish over the users is the following:

  • Cut a peeler crab in half and bind this to the hook with elastic
  • Add a tantalisingly long strip of squid to the end of the hook to provide visual attraction to the bait

What is the commercial value of Plaice?

The plaice species of fish is highly valued in the UK as a source of food for the human population. Alongside both the Cod and the Haddock, the Plaice is one of the most commonly used species of fish in the classic British dish of ‘fish and chips’, becoming a regular feature on restaurant menus across the country.

The IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) currently has this fish as a ‘species of least concern’, as the commercial pressure placed upon this species is relatively low.

This fish has a high-demand as a source of food in the UK and as such has been heavily targeted by commercial fishing vessels in the past especially during both the 1970’s and 1980’s. The demand since the beginning of the 1990’s has decreased and the levels of plaice have remained steady since.

What type of tackle should I use?

The best rod for catching flatfish

Flatfish will commonly feed not too far from the shoreline so you do not have to cast a long distance to reach feeding fish. A standard beachcaster, or even a light carp rod for when conditions are relatively calm will be suitable.

The Penn Rampage II beachcaster rod is a fantastic option if you are looking for a high-quality rod that will last many years. With a 4/6oz power, this beachcaster rod has the ideal sensitivity for targetting flatfish.

The best reel for catching flatfish

The reel that you use when fishing for flatfish does not matter too much, as both fixed-spool and multiplier reels can be used when fishing from the shore. The type of reel that you choose is entirely dependant on what you prefer to fish with. Here at Reel and Rod, we like to fish with fixed-spool reels and the Penn Surfblaster reel is a fantastic reel to use.

Top Tips for catching flatfish

The most important aspect of fishing for flatfish is to keep yourself and your fishing very quiet as they are a type of fish that are very spooky and can go off the feed if they are disturbed.

Top tips for fishing:

  • Do not use a tilley lamp
  • Do not shine your headlights in to the water
  • Keep a relatively small amount of slack line in the water as tension in the line can potentially put them off
  • When you get a bite from a flatfish, leave it! Leave the fish with the bait and once they have been hooked, they will usually go a little bit crazy… you’ll know!