The Start of the Plaice season (hopefully!)
As January turns into February us anglers thoughts will be focusing on targeting those spotted flatfish the Plaice.
Although it is still a bit early in the year the plaice are finding their way back onto our beaches after spawning they are very thin and are looking to feed up on worms and shellfish
Most sandy beaches will hold some plaice but a lot of them have been fished out over the years like Hayling Island , Chesil and Slapton Sands in Devon mainly by the trawlers . However from time to time there is a good run of them. Last couple of years Eastbourne and Brighton beaches have produced the goods and last year some long distance casters produced a very large haul of plaice in South Devon at and around Beesands.
So how do we go about catching these fish? As we know there are no rules in fishing and often we are suprised when we catch fish when the so called "conditions " are all wrong It of course works the other way when we think things are perfect we blank thats the joy of fishing.
My own view is that the weather needs to be warm and sunny and most important as Plaice are sight feeders then clear and calm water is a must . Normally you would fish in day light hours however during last year more plaice were caught at night along with sole than in the day on Chesil.
Tackle needs to be simple and some anglers like beads on their snoods to attract the fish who are inquisitive by nature and will attack a moving bait this is why i like to use a rolling lead loaded up with a size 2 or 4 hook baited with worm and let it drift in the tide flow .
Distance casting is helpful, if you can put a bait between 130 and 150 yds then you certainly have a better chance of finding the plaice . However one of the biggest plaice i have ever seen caught was taken at Abbotsbury on squid on a trace that I would have cut up and it was caught no more than 60 yds out in October while cod fishing ! So It always pays to fish two rods one long and one in short. The conti rod and fixed spool revolution that is sweeping the angling world is made for plaice fishing with its use of fine tips, light sinker and thin line which give you extra distance and is more fun to use for these fish.
Its rare to catch plaice through out the whole tide as I have found that you get a "magic " hour when its like a light switch being turned on and the plaice appear and then after a while stop feeding and thats it for the rest of your session Given the choice I like a flood tide and alway find 2 hours after low the fish feed however other anglers will tell you differently
I also think at Chesil it helps if you find the mud and clay as often the fish are on the clay looking for the lug worm that live there, they also tend to be centralised I remember a session with local ace Ben Stockley who knows Chesil like the back of his hand , we were 10 yards apart using same rigs and baits yet he had 4 nice plaice out while i kept loosing hooks to spider crabs and blanked . It could also be that he is a much better angler than me !!
I have to admit it is one of my favourite forms of fishing , a nice spring day, sun on your back ,t shirt on sitting in the buddy at either west bexington or cogden mid week when its not so busy watching 2 rod tips moving in time with the rolling lead just waiting for that telling pull down bite even if nothing happens its still nice being out on the shingle.
Hopefully lets hope we get some nice warm and calm spring days and I will get plenty of time to be there this year if you see me come up and have a chat .