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Skate Hunter
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hi, is anyone catching turbot off beaches ,if so where and what bait are you using , am fishing off beach on sunday and would like to catch one. Fishing south Harris ,Western Isles yesterday 07/07/05 pollack to 6lb , coalfish 2lb, wrasse 2lb, codling 2lb and lots of mackeral ,an enjoyable afternoons fishing
 

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i am pretty sure the scottish record turbot was caught of a beach round Dunbar so you could look into that, and i think it was a fish round the 5 pound mark. :)
 

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Round these here parts you can catch a few turbot off the surf beaches and the method I've developed may well work elsewhere! As Mike's article says, Spring and Autumn seem best, and if decent turbot populate your area you'll notice they're around one day and not the next. They seem to wander a fair bit.

OK so you have a rod or two out there in the breakers looking for bass, whiting etc. Set a spare rod up with a 2-hook paternoster, clear Amnesia 20lb traces will do, maybe 18" long with size 1 hooks. Bait them with half-fillets of mackerel - tail end - with the hookpoint ONCE through the tough skin at the "root" of the tail. Once only, remember! If big fillets trim a bit off one side with scissors to make them look elongated. You want a bait an inch wide and 4-5 inches long. If you can't get mackerel, I've found they will also take sandeel, but mackerel seems to work best. Keeping the baits big also avoids them being swallowed by undersized examples which can be quite common and will be injured as they swallow the hook if you use smaller baits. A 2lb turbot will down a half fillet in one gulp!

These you cast out a ridiculously short distance - 20 or 30 yards - and just leave there, changing every 40 minutes maybe, unless the tide's ebbing when you'll need to recast more often. Most anglers cast miles past them, and having tried this method at all distances I'd say that if they're around they will be close-in!

Leave bites to develop. Don't hit 'em at the first knock.

So far as conditions go, I've had 'em day and night, ebb and flood, with the low-water -3 to +3 period seeming best. You need a decent surf that's pushing tidy water-tables into the beach. Flat calms and heavy seas rarely produce.

These fish are feeding in only a foot or two of water, and seem to be patrolling for small fish etc pushed along by the waves inside the breakers. Ones I've caught contain sandeels, shrimps, small shore crabs and small flatfish. Like I say they're not there all the time, but it's always worth having a try just in case - over recent years I've had a dozen around the 5lb mark on my local beaches, although in terms of fishing hours per fish that might seem to be a lot of work!

But when you've pumped in your 15th doggie hidden inside a great rack of floating weed from 100 yards out and then you notice that spare rod nodding away, it can cheer up the evening hugely!

Also taken small-eyed rays close-in with the same tactics, which can be a bit of a laugh on very light tackle!

Cheers - John
 
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