Thursday, 14 July 2011

Flounder Fishing.

One of my favourite sea fish has to be the humble flounder. A easy fish to catch on basic tackle, bold little fighter and very tasty …. but best of all it is a good fish to catch on the fly !!

For me, one of the most prolific flounder venues has to be Arnside in Cumbria. This estuary section of the river Kent holds huge numbers of flounder with the best times being September through to January. This section also holds Mullet, Bass, Eel, Salmon and Sea-trout and best of all it is FREE..

A word of warning first, The tides on this estuary are fast, so when you hear the siren, leave the sand and head straight back to the footpath. You could get cut as a tidal bore will run shortly after the first warning

I like to fish from the public car park downstream to New Barns Bay any swim within this section will always produce good results but the real hot spot is directly in front of the car park and I have had 20+ good size flounder over one tide from here.
During the summer months the practice of “dragging” (deliberate foul hooking) has often been practised here!! be warned, you will be caught and there has been a few court cases and fines for the offenders.

Tackle wise, I like to use a cheap 2lb TC carp rod with a 3oz grip lead. Over the years I tried many types of rig but have found a 1up 1down with 18in snoods with a size 1 hook to produce the goods. I do like to add 4 small lime green beads above the hook for that little attraction.

Bait for me is always frozen black lug worm tipped with mackerel. Don't be tempted to use too much bait, half a lug worm and a thumbnail size of mackerel will be enough.

Fish from low tide to 1h past the high tide and never cast too far as the fish will be within 30yards of the waters edge. Bites are often seen by a quick rattle of the rod followed by a slow pull. I often do not strike at the first bite as the action often causes a take on the other snood.
Only take the fish you want and release the rest for future stocks. The fish revive well and will swim away strongly.

Fly fishing for flounder is unbelievable fun. I use a 9ft 6in (old) 7/8 fly rod 8WF fast sink line and one of the sinking salt-water poly leaders with 9ft of 6lb tippet.

I find the best fishing is at low tide when you can explore the main and side channels. A weighted shrimp pattern on a size 8 hook in white or orange works well for the flounder but don't be afraid to experiment with the fly.
Bread or green weed imitations will do well for the mullet but you will need to track these down as they seem to favour a different place each tide.

Start by casting across the main channel and retrieve in a series of short pulls. Vary your retrieve speeds and take a couple of steps every few casts.
Takes from flounder feel as if you have snagged the bottom and the rod will arc over and the fish will kick. Don't expect the flounder to run but they will give you a scrappy fight to the bank. Landing them is easy, just beach them. My old dog used to love landing them for me and never left a mark, it was lovely to see.
If you are lucky enough to hook a mullet of size then you are in for the treat of your life. Strike and hold on is my best advise.

Give it a go... you will not regret it.

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