Brill (Scophthalmus rhombus)
Big rod-caught brill can weigh 4.5 Kg (10 lbs) or more. The average brill weighs around 1.8 Kg (4 lbs).
The brill is a left eyed flatfish, meaning that when viewed from straight on both its eyes are on the left hand side. It bears a close resemblance to the turbot, another flat fish, and is therefore often mistaken for turbot. It has a slender body, typical of flatfish, which is speckled brown on top and a pinkish-white underside. It also has a long dorsal fin, a small anal fin and a lateral line which curves across the gills.
Compared to turbot, brill is less broad-bodied, possessing more of an oval outline than the turbot. In addition, brill has small scales across its body, unlike turbot which has tubercles instead.
So how do we catch one?
Whole live or freshly killed small fish, such as sprats or sandeels are effective baits for brill, as are fish strips, particularly of mackerel. Prawns, ragworms or lugworms can also be used.
Brill can be caught throughout the year, and catches are particularly good throughout June, July, August, September, October, November and December.
Favourite Feeding Places
Brill likes to feed in offshore sand and mud, it is commonly found beneath 30 fathoms (55 m) of water but has been known to feed closer inshore.
Brill is found across all British waters, with excellent catches in the southern shores.
Best rigs for brill fishing
A basic leger rig cast into deep water is perfect for brill fishing.
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 because 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.
A boat leger rig is recommended when boat fishing for brill.
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.