Name

Plaice (Pleuronectes platessa)

Average Weight

Big rod-caught plaice can weigh 2.25 Kg (5 lbs) or more. The average plaice weighs around 1 Kg (2¼ lbs).

IUCN Status

LC – Least Concern

Appearance

The plaice is a right eyed flatfish, meaning that when viewed from straight on, its eyes are both located on the right hand side of its body. It has a diamond shaped body which is brown on the back, dotted with bright orange spots and a white underbelly. It has small scales which produce a very smooth texture.

The plaice closely resembles the flounder and so is often incorrectly identified as such, however there are differences; compared to the flounder the plaice has a smaller head and tail and a slimmer body. In addition the plaice also has a characteristic ridge comprised of bony bumps which runs along the back of its head.

So how do we catch one?

Best Baits

Ragworm, lugworm, shellfish such as mussels and cockles, shrimps and hermit crabs are all ideal for plaice fishing.

Seasons

Plaice is best caught during April, May, June, July, August, September and October. Plaice stay relatively close to the shore until January, when they move into deeper offshore waters to spawn and then return close to the shore around April and May.

Favourite Feeding Places

The plaice favours the bottom of sand, shell-grit/gravel or mud seabeds to feed, under about 6 fathoms (10.97 m) of water.

Best Locations

The plaice is one of the most common fish in British waters, and can be found in all British waters.

Best rigs for catching Plaice

Shore Fishing

If fishing from the shore for plaice a basic leger rig or a two hook running leger rig is ideal.

Basic Leger Rig

This rig is used to lay hookbait on the seabed. The distance between the hook and swivel can vary, but should be at least 300 mm (1 ft). This rig works so well beause your line is able to pass through the weight’s “eye”, meaning that shy or suspicious fish can tug the bait without instantly sensing the resistance.

Two hook running leger rig

The 2 hook running leger rig is versatile and allows you to present 2 hookbaits on or very near the seabed. Two different baits may be also be used. The distance between the hooks and the 3 way swivel can vary, but should be at least 200 mm (8 inches). To present the bait just above the seabed, attach the weight to a swivel on the main line by a line about 1 m (3 ft) long. Alternatively, to lay the bait on the seabed, fit the weight directly to the main line. The distance between the 3 way swivel and the bead can vary, but should generally be at least 304 mm (1 ft).

Boat Fishing

If you are boat fishing for plaice, it is recommended that you use either a boat leger rig or a two hook running leger rig.

Boat Leger Rig

This is one of the simplest and most effective rigs for boat anglers. The space between the hook and swivel can vary, but should generally be about 1 m (3 ft). The bait is presented on the seabed and the line is able to move through the boom without hitting the weight which would otherwise scare off a bait-biting fish.

Two hook running leger rig

The 2 hook running leger rig is versatile and allows you to present 2 hookbaits on or very near the seabed. Two different baits may be also be used. The distance between the hooks and the 3 way swivel can vary, but should be at least 200 mm (8 inches). To present the bait just above the seabed, attach the weight to a swivel on the main line by a line about 1 m (3 ft) long. Alternatively, to lay the bait on the seabed, fit the weight directly to the main line. The distance between the 3 way swivel and the bead can vary, but should generally be at least 304 mm (1 ft).

Top tips

  1. Plaice hunt for food around the clock, no matter the weather or water conditions.
  2. Areas of seabed sand bordered by rocky, rough ground draw plaice shoals.