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Quest II owners, Malcolm, Paul, Mark and myself met at the pontoon at 07:00 this morning for a day on the Shambles.

By all accounts, fishing had been hard with the charter boats recording small numbers of fish and sometimes even blanking on what should now be prime Plaice time out on the famous Weymouth banks.
Into the tackle shop for our rag (which I have to say was atrocious and more like maddies than King Rag - maybe the neap tides prevented better worms being dug) and then off under the bridge.

We followed Peace and Plenty who was off to the islands, Revolution had left a short while earlier and Flamer was close behind us as we steamed the half hour or so to the mark.
Malcolm set us up on the first drift which was fine, but we skimmed the bottom section of features and so we headed up a little further North for the next drift.

It was brass monkeys out there today and I was pleased I was wearing my long johns. The stiff Northerly wind was kicking up a nasty short chop and sending teh boat at a slightly awkward angle in the tide, but we are fairly experienced anglers and avoided tangles like pros..... NOT!!! Malcolm and Paul seemed to become very close throughout the drift. Infact they were attached and spent most of the time (and the next few drifts) trying to untangle themselves.

It was only 08:50, but I was already feeling a little dispondent.
Naff worms, freezing, North Easterly 5 to 6 and reports of little or no fish were making me wonder if I should have settled for a lie in... Bang the rod lurched violently and shook me from my day dreaming. Bang! Bang! Instinctively I spooled off about 10m of line and then allowed it to tighten in the tide seconds later there was a good bend in the rod and the familiar (or not so, it's been about 5 years since I had a spotty) jerk jerk jerk of a Plaice.
At about 2.5lb she was no monster and was still fairly thin, but she was very welcome and spirits on the boat were lifted.

By half past nine, Paul had had a fish that must have been the twin of mine and Mark had also caught, with his being better at a bout 3lb.
The the tide eased and so did the fish.

To catch the ebb we steamed to the North East of the bank and started our drift there... nothing.
As it was a neap we tried a spell on the anchor.... nothing.
A quick conflab and we hauled the anchor and headed for the mussel beds nearby where we new the Plaice sometimes laid up, but so did a few other chappies.
Pretty soon the rods were rattling to bites of various types and we ended up here with a whole stack of Doggies, loads of small to medium Ballan Wrasse and a couple of small Bull Huss in the 5lb sort of bracket.... but no more Plaice.

It was now about 14:15 and the tide was just easing so back to the bank for another try at drifting. This one was long, maybe a mile and a half. I was about to call lines up when my rod was all but wrenched out of my arms by a very violent take. Again I spooled off and again the now more familiar jerk jerk jerk of a Plaice could be felt. This time though it was pulling a lot harder and taking a few dives as it neared the surface and when it did I decided not to risk swinging it in and slipped the net under it. On the scales she went 4lb 4oz.
Not the biggest Plaice ever to come off the Shambles, but my best for quite some time so I was more than happy.

Unfortunately that was our lot. By 15:15 the wind whipped up to a good 6 creating a very uncomfortable short chop over the bank and with the wind came rain.
I hinted I was ready to head back and luickily everyone else took the hint so we had Quest II back on her moorings and looking ship shape by 16:30.

Not the best day ever and very hard work, but we got our target species and by all accounts did as well as the charter boats have been recently.

Tom
 

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It was bl**dy cold yesterday too:cold: our end of the channel and we probably had a similar day to you. Few decent fish around yet but I never expect too much until early May.
That is a nice Plaice you have there though Tom. I can just picture it on a plate with some peas and chips:clap:
 

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hi wow fantastic fish well done i cant wait to do the same thing can i ask about your rigs if thats not being to invasive why so many beads and how are they fished,is it a wishbone rig? well done and many thanks andy
 

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Hey surf boy, were you fishing with those beads or wearing them?
 

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nice to see a few plaice coming (not as many as there should be by now though but i spose that's just a sign of the times now), i guess the water is settling down abit now? didnt go to sea with lyle this week but last week plaicing was pointless, it was more like the bristol channel!!
 
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hi wow fantastic fish well done i cant wait to do the same thing can i ask about your rigs if thats not being to invasive why so many beads and how are they fished,is it a wishbone rig? well done and many thanks andy
Hi Andy

The rig is very simple and makes perfect sense when you think it through.
The other guys on the boat were realy taing the mickey out of my rig, but they went quiet when I had the first fish of the day and the biggest.

The green and black bead colour is chosen for a reason.
The plaice are predominantly feeding on tiny little black "pea" mussels (well the two I had, both coughed up pea sized mussels). These mussels look almost exactly like the little black beads. The bright green beads simply serve as an attractor. Once you have the Plaice's attention by the lovely string of "mussels" he gets very excited by the big juicy bunch of ragworm waving at him with a little squid strip flag on the end and "WALLOP", you have your Plaice.
Interestingly, if you look closely at the pictures you will see that I used a two hook (two pennels) wishbone rig. On one side I used 33 beads alternately placed green, black, green, black. On the other side I used 33 beads placed in colour groups of three (bigger mussels?).
The small fish took the rig with groups of beads (greedy?) whilst the bigger fish took the little pea sized mussel style rig.
Hardly an experiment with any conclusion, but I'll keep trying the same rig to see the outcome.


The rig itself:
NB: This rig is better suited to drift fishing, try and keep the drift speed over 0.5knots and below 1.5knots. If fishing at anchor, a single hook version of the above will work, but will be fished "cast and retrieve" rather than simply static.

Take a long sliding boom and thread it onto the mainline.
Slip on a bead
Tie on a swivel
Take 4 to 5 feet of 13.6Kg Amnesia (no need to go lighter as the beads prevent any finesse and the heavy trace line helps prevent tangles) and tie this to the swivel.
Next, tie on a small "Delta" spoon.
Next tie on a short (4" to 6") length of Amnesia and thread on half a dozen green and black beads followed by a half or 1oz drilled bullet, preferably coloured (the bullet helps keep the baited end of the trace tight to the sea bed whilst drifting, but increases tangles if anchored), and finally one more bead and then a swivel.
Next, take a two foot length of Amnesia
Tie a 1/0 or 2/0 chemically sharpened long shank hook to one end and about 4" up fix a smaller size 1 or 1/0 pennel rigged hook (I simply wrapped the line around 3 times and recommend you fix it more permanently).
Now thread your beads on to the line in the pattern of your choice.
For no reason, other than it looked the right length, I put 33 beads on.
When you have achieved the desired hook length, thread the loose end of amnesia though the spare eye of the swivel.
Now, thread the same number of beads up the line the other side of the swivel before attaching the top pennel hook of this hook length.
Finally attach the last hook whilst trying to keep the hook lengths as equal as possible (keeps it balanced and prevents tangles).

As all the beads are fairly taught to the swivel and also the pennel hooks the whole trace is remarkably balanced and stands off itself very slightly.
Load plenty of rag onto each rig with the first rag being slid up the line and the head knicked onto the penal hook thus helping keep presentation as good as possible. Tip both bottom hooks off with a 2 inch by half inch sliver of squid to act as a flag.

Using your GPS and fishfinder together, try and set up a drift that takes you over the various contours, troughs, rises and tidal areas of the bank you are drifting (make sure you take the wind into account, we didn't on our first drift).
If the drift speed is over about 2 knots then you must consider dropping a "mud weight". Basically this is anchor of sorts that is designed not to stop you, just slow you down.

The fish can be literally anywhere on the banks, but more often than not will lie on the down tide side of one of the rises (grabbing food as it is washed over the top by the tide). As you drift along you will feel tap tap tap and for the inexperienced it can seem as if you are constantly getting bites. This is simply your lead bouncing through the sand and gravel. When you get a bite you will know it, it will be very out of time to the restof the knocks and often quite aggressive. The moment you get a bite, spool off for a few seconds to let the fish take the bait. Then tighten into it with the drifting boat taking up the slack and you should have a fish on.

Good luck
Tom
 

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Spot on (no pun intended), the green and black pattern really is the best for plaice. Your theory on it representing pea muscles is the same reason why i use that combination. It works well from the boat and shore, however curiously does not seem to be as effective for other flatfish. I have found that flounder respond best to green, yellow and red (upto 10 beads per snood!), while dab prefer just a couple of plain red beads or sequins.
 

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Spot on (no pun intended), the green and black pattern really is the best for plaice. Your theory on it representing pea muscles is the same reason why i use that combination. It works well from the boat and shore, however curiously does not seem to be as effective for other flatfish. I have found that flounder respond best to green, yellow and red (upto 10 beads per snood!), while dab prefer just a couple of plain red beads or sequins.
MAINLY black with the odd green fo me with a tunstone bead at the end to a red 1/0 baitholder hook
 

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I sometimes like to use a drilled bullet lead or SSG lea shot to keep my baits nailed to the deck. Are those the tungsten beads similar to those used buy fly fishermen to sink a fly quickly?
 
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I use a 1oz bullet, but up by the spoon, just to give the bait a little movement, but not allow it to lift way off the bottom.

That said, I have seen Plaice caught on baited feathers fished several feet off the bottom....
 

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Although not a fan of feathers they do seem to take everything, even Tope and Huss. I prefer the more skilled approach of building my own rigs specifically made to target a certain species. That said last year i had a few plaice on unbaited Mustad shrimp rigs, makes you wonder sometimes?
 

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I sometimes like to use a drilled bullet lead or SSG lea shot to keep my baits nailed to the deck. Are those the tungsten beads similar to those used buy fly fishermen to sink a fly quickly?
I don't know about that but they are heavier than lead and better than a split shot and are a browny black and very shiny. also for sole fishing of the shore they are a must!
 
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Nice report and glad to see you got a few of the target species!...About time though you used Photobucket and got some proper pictures on!

Ron
:giveup: Ron, me and technology don't go very well together :yucky:

I was brought up at the start of the IT boom (I remember playing games as a nipper on a ZX81 :notworthy or a BBC Micro ) and even earned sily money Dot Comming it during the late 90's and turn of the century, but I can just about manage to push the power button.

If someone would do a proper "Teach In" for us technofobes it would be really appreciated.

Tom

NB: Tom hangs his head in shame at the realisation that even the old duffers like Ron and Cascars can use a PC to it's full extent.
...Walks off stage left to pick up the yellow pages and look for "IT Evening Classes"
 
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Oi, not so much of the old, you young whippersnapper:kissing:
 
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Oi, not so much of the old, you young whippersnapper:kissing:
Been a very long time since I was called that Terry my man :clap3: .

Believe it or not, I have a fair set of grey hairs coming through myself.
 
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