|WSF SHOPPING - LURE FISHING SHOP | RODS | REELS | HOOKS | RIG BITS | LURES | LINES | SHORE RIGS | BOAT RIGS | LUGGAGE | MORE|
How to catch: Shore Plaice
Written by Mike Thrussell
SHORE PLAICE FACTS
The back of the plaice is typically light to medium brown with vivid orange spots. The belly is pearl white. Occasionally the belly can be pock marked with darker blotches.
Plaice spawn in the January to March period, usually in water over 30-metres. The eggs float in the surface layers hatching usually between 10 and 20 days later. The larvae and post larvae live in the surface layers for another 4 to 6 weeks, at which time one eye migrates to the right hand side and along with other body changes the plaice becomes a flat bottom dwelling fish measuring roughly 3/4 inches.
Female plaice become sexually mature at 3 to 7-years and males 2 to 6-years. They can live to be 30-years old.
Their diet consists of brittle stars, worms, crabs and shellfish such as razorfish and mussels, plus they are adept at nipping the siphons off sand clams while they siphon nutrients from the water. They can also be formidable predators and will eat sandeels and also occasionally have been found with sprats and gobies inside their stomachs.
WHEN AND WHERE TO FISH
The UK season for plaice kicks off in the south and west as far north as the Scottish border around the end of February, but a month later in the east and off the Scottish coast as a general rule. The early fish are thin, but soon feed up and by late May are fat and healthy. They stay inshore until about October and then move out in to deeper water.
Beach plaice are best fished for during the bigger spring tides as the fish are more active then and will feed more eagerly. Estuary plaice can be different and prefer to feed more frequently when the tides are smaller and the tide run less fierce.
In all areas the majority of plaice are caught during broad daylight, though occasionally the odd plaice is caught at night. They particularly like clear seas with minimum colour and good general clarity.
Beach plaice tend to concentrate over sand and shingle beds, but can also be found on mud mixed with sand. They also like seed mussel beds at the mouths of estuaries and muddy channels where weed covered rocks form the estuary sides.
In estuaries a lighter bass rod about 11ft 6in casting 2/4ozs is ample matched to a smaller reel like an ABU 5500 C3 CT. 12lb line is often enough in this situation with a lighter 30lb leader as the leads will be between 1 and 3ozs, plus long range casting is not normally required.
HOW TO BUILD A SHORE ONE-HOOK ATTRACTOR RIG FOR PLAICE
2. Slide on a Breakaway Impact Shield followed by a 3mm rig bead and crimp. Crimp this in place above the lead link leaving about 1½-inch for the Shield to slide in.
3. Slide on a rig crimp, a rig bead, a size 10 swivel, another bead and a crimp. Leave these loose for now.
4. Finish the rig body with a size 4 rolling swivel.
5. The hook trace is a 24-inch length of 20lb line. Slide on alternate yellow and black beads three of each and tie on a size 2 Kamasan B940 Aberdeen hook.
6. Above the beads tie on a Powergum stop knot to stop the beads sliding up the hook trace during the cast.
7. Put the hook in the clip of the Bait Guard, now slide the rig crimp below the hook trace swivel up the rig body line until the trace comes just tight, then crimp in place. This gives you perfect tensioning of the hook trace with the hook in the Impact Shield. The sliding Impact Shield being free to slide can take up any stretch in the hook trace caused by casting pressures.
Other top baits for plaice are fresh blow and black lugworm, ragworm, fresh mussel, sand clams, razorfish and white rag if you can get it. They also take fresh sandeel and squid strips when these baits are fished on the drift with a plain bomb.
TOP TIP 1
Estuary plaice are often found at the edges of seed mussel beds at the heads of small estuaries.
TOP TIP 2
If the tide run is minimal, try “twitching” the bait back towards you a couple of inches at a time. This is often enough to induce a take! Breakaway Flattie leads are good for this!
TOP TIP 3
TOP TIP 4
When fishing in muddy coloured water plaice are more aggressive. They’ll give a couple of small rattles and the tip will pull hard over as the fish takes the bait and tries to move away.
When fishing a moving bait the fish will again be more aggressive as it chases the bait down. The lead weight will stop drifting or slow right down when the fish hooks itself and you’ll see the rod tip pull over.
TOP TIP 5
Always experiment with other bead colour combinations on the day. White and green can be good over sand, as can blue and yellow when fishing close to mussel beds.