Monday 14 October 2019

Flounder now enter the radar

THE ESTUARIES, pills and backwaters of south Wexford come into their own during the late autumn crab moult, with flounder in particular now entering the shore anglers' radar.

Fattening up before their annual spawning migration, this is the time of year when it is possible to connect with a real lunker flounder topping two pounds weight and there is no better sight for a shore angler then a monster flattie flapping up the beach.

Mottled green/brown backed with a white underside, flounder have been landed coloured on both sides, and with a penchant for peeler crab and lugworm target estuary locations close to main channels and you could connect with a real bruiser.

Flounder move up and down with the tide feeding best in my experience over the first hour or so of the ebb or flood. Back eddies slightly out of the main flow, the inside of channel bends, and down tide of bays and obstructions are key locations to place your bait. Depth does not appear to be a major consideration, two foot or maybe less being plenty so do not be put off.

Use two or three hook flowing traces with long snoods, two foot being an ideal length. Contrary to popular belief, hooks do not need to be small.

I use 2/0's for all my flounder fishing and catch my fair share, just make sure they are fine wire. Festoon these with coloured beads and sequins and if desired paint your lead white.

Flounder are inquisitive fish attracted by a moving bait so anything that grabs attention is well worth trying. At most locations a light two to four ounce plain lead would be adequate, however some marks are washed by strong currents so carry a range of plain and grippers up to five ounces to cover all eventualities.

Mid-October to mid-November is the key time for large specimens and Co. Wexford throws up some biggies. Every season fish approaching four pounds plus are landed with modal county estuaries having the potential still to break the Irish record.

Most anglers practice catch and release which is important as local estuary stock levels plummeted in the 1980s due to angling pressure. Flounder today though appear to be making a comeback due to unwritten conservation measures adopted by the shore angling community, so let's keep up the good work.

A flounder bite signals itself as a lean on the rod top or a slack line, if the former let it develop until the rod top leans over hard or the line drops slack. Good advice is to sit on your hands or go for a brief (flounder) walk.

On your return the rod will be nodding or the line will have dropped, either way a fish is on. Flounder will plane in, giving a couple of kicks as they enter the shallows. It's not about the fight (there is none), just the sight. A big flounder is a fine fish, two is something else, and three (yes, it is possible), well I'll say no more.

Now is the time to connect with a specimen Wexford flounder. Why not give Joe Carley (087-9440945) of South East Bait Supplies a ring and order your peeler and lug. The fish are in tiptop condition and feeding avidly. The locations are different, more like freshwater fishing than sea fishing, but the results can be spectacular. One of my favourite fish to catch, you bet.