(Pleuronectes Platessa)

Plaice is one of the most common fish found around the coast of the British Isles and although widely distributed throughout most waters it is particularly prevalent in the English Channel and around the Channel Islands. The underside of the plaice is a pale, almost transparent cream but the back is much darker and varies in colour dependent upon habitat from brown to grey. One of the most distinctive aspects of the fish is the bright orange spots that appear on the back. The eyes on the plaice, as with other flatfish, are positioned on the top side of the fish, allowing it to have a wide scope of vision while lying flat on the sea bed. The female plaice is capable of producing 250,000 eggs when spawning takes place early in the year in January or February. Plaice do not grow to huge sizes and a fish of 5 lb is considered a worthy specimen.

Where To Find Them

All round the British coastline. They are very common in the deeper waters of the North Sea and are also distributed as far north as Iceland and as far south as the Mediterranean. Areas of the sea bed offering a sandy or shingle grit bottom are the ideal location for fishing. Plaice will frequent areas of the sea bed where small mussels have established themselves in good numbers as the mussel makes up a high percentage of their dietary requirement. Many bigger plaice are caught by boat anglers fishing over deep water sand banks, but plaice will venture close into the shore, especially during the winter. Storm beaches with a steep shelf dropping away into the water are a good place to try. The most famous marks of all for plaice fishing are the Skerries Banks, a series of sand banks off the coast of Dartmouth in Devon and the Shambles Bank off Werymouth.

When To Find Them

February through to end of September.

Natural Food and Best Baits

Mostly shellfish, such as razorfish, mussels and cockles. They also feed on most marine worms. They respond well to all manner of baits and a ragworm and squid cocktail is a firm favourite.

Tips and Tactics

The addition of half a dozen or so brightly coloured beads or sequins above the hook attracts plaice. Like other flatfish, they are very inquisitive.

UK Records

Shore: 8lb 8oz

Boat: 10lb 3oz