Catching random fishes on your sea trip is easy, but you need to show some finesse when it comes down to hunting for a specific type of fish.
And that’s what fishing for plaice asks for. The art of plaice fishing comes with its very own rules and requires you to apply techniques that are far different from those used for other saltwater fishes.
In this article, I have put down a thorough guideline on how to catch plaice from a boat. I have also put forth some useful info that will assist you on your plaice hunting expedition. Keep reading!
What Does Plaice Look Like?
Plaice, aka European Plaice, is a flatfish with a size of 11 to 26 inches and weighs around one to three pounds.
It has smooth brown skin, with small scales and distinctive orange specks on it. It has its eyes on its body’s right side, whereas the fish’s underbelly is bare and white in color.
Plaice is commonly confused with flounders, but what sets them apart is four to seven prominent bony ridges on their head area, behind the eye up to the gills.
Moreover, the head and tail of the plaice are a lot smaller than that of a flounder.
Plaice Fishing: What You Should Know
Before you learn how to catch plaice from a boat, you need to have some more information about this fish and the fishing gear you will be needing.
Plaice is found along all the coastlines of the UK, Ireland, and Iceland. They are also found in the southern waters of Greenland.
These flatfish prefer offshore sandbanks, where they rest on either sand or a mixture of sand and shingle along the bottom or middle of the rise.
You will find them about a mile and a half to two miles from shore. They also tend to concentrate around seed mussel beds.
Shore anglers fish for plaice during spring and summer, starting in March till September.
Plaice spend winter far off in the deeper waters, where they spawn (lay eggs). In spring, as the temperatures rise, they migrate towards the shores, in shallower waters.
The early season plaice is usually thin because they don’t get to feed well in winter. As they start to feed on the crustaceans and shellfish in spring, they fatten up.
So, you’ll catch the best type of plaice in August and September.
Lugworms, both the black and blow variety, and ragworms, are the best baits for plaice fishing. Adding small strips of squid and mackerel belly works too.
A combination bait is ideal, where you thread a lugworm, ragworm, and an inch of silver mackerel belly or a bit of prawn to the hook.
The best rig for plaice fishing is a spreader bar rig with attractors on it. Plaice are curious fishes, so using a combination of colored beads like yellow, green, and black for attracting them always works.
Some anglers attach sequins and silver disposable spoons (the round part) to their rigs that shine and draw the fish’s attention. Moreover, you can expect to catch two plaice at a time using the spreader bar rig, as it has two hooks attached to it.
How To Catch Plaice From A Boat: Guideline
Here’s a step by step guide on Plaice boat fishing.
Step 1: Prepare Your Fishing Gear
You can buy a spreader bar or make it yourself. Here is how you can make one at home, using only a few store-bought materials:
- Attach several green and yellow eight-millimeter beads to the spreader boom, about nine on each wing, and add a swivel on either end to keep the beads in place.
- Attach a watch lead weight (three to six ounces) in the center of the spreader boom with the help of a swivel.
- Add small snoods, about six inches long, on the swivels on either side and add a few beads before tying a long shack Aberdeen hook of size 1/0 on their ends.
- Attach the hook to a seven to eight-foot-long, six-pound test curve boat rod and use a nylon monofilament fishing line with a multiplier reel.
Step 2: Select Your Vessel
Plaice are active hunters and tend to attack the bait from quite a distance.
Instead of anchoring, drifting is preferable for catching plaice. Therefore using smaller boats, especially kayaks, is ideal. Jon boats and dinghies would work too.
Step 3: Start Fishing
Any time of the day is okay, but early morning and late evening are good times for plaice fishing.
- First, take your boat about one to two miles into the water, away from the shoreline.
- Then, lower your terminal rig slowly into the water to reach the bottom, to avoid tangling of the terminal lines to your mainline as it sinks.
- Feel the line with your fingers to ensure that the weight is sitting on the sea bed.
- Now row your boat gently, keeping the direction of the boat parallel to the shoreline. Or let it drift at a speed of one knot if the wind and tide are favorable.
- Once you see a slight tugging at your line, it means a plaice just tasted your bait but hasn’t probably taken the hook.
- Instead of reeling in, remove the line from the gear to make the line slack, and count to 12.
- Row your boat a bit more, about two to three yards as you count. This will give the plaice some time to inspect the bait and chase it. It will also attract other plaice nearby, as moving bait attracts these fishes instead of stationary ones.
- Once you’ve counted to 12, place the line on the reel again, and if you feel the weight of the fish on your line, it’s time to reel in. If not, drift a bit more and wait for it to tug on your line again.
- Use a landing net to lift your catch alongside the boat from the water. And Voila! You have some plaice on board.
The Bottom Line
Now that you’ve learned how to catch plaice from a boat, you can indulge in fishing out this flatfish quite often. That is if you’re in the North Atlantic seas by any chance. You make yourself some mouth-watering fish and chips, fresh from the sea.