Name

Sole (Solea solea)

Average Weight

Big rod-caught sole can weigh 1.36 Kg (3 lbs) or more. The average sole weighs around 0.55 Kg (1¼ lbs).

Also known as

Common sole and Dover sole

IUCN Status

LC – Least Concern

Appearance

The sole is a right eyed flatfish, meaning that when viewed from straight on, both eyes are on the right hand side. Unlike other flatfish the sole is particularly long and has an oval shaped body with a very small tail. On top it is brown/grey-green with dark blotches and it has a white underbelly. In addition the sole also has a dark stripe/spot at the end of both pectoral fins.

So how do we catch one?

Best Baits

Ragworm and lugworm are ideal for sole fishing, small fish strips of mackerel, herring and sandeel can also be used.

Seasons

The sole can be caught all year round, with the best catches during June, July, August and September.

Favourite Feeding Places

The sole favours the bottom of sand and sand/mud seabed with the best spots being between rocks and reefs.

Best Locations

The sole is mainly caught off southern and south-eastern Britain and southern Ireland.

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Best rig for catching sole

Shore Fishing

A basic leger rig or a two hook running leger rig are good choices when fishing for sole from the shore.

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

A boat leger rig or a two hook running leger rig are the best options when boat fishing for sole.

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. Sole typically feed after dark and is therefore the best time to fish for them.
  2. Offer your hookbait near the shore on a night-time rising tide for the best catches.