As the lure fish­ing scene in the UK continues to grow, eye-open­ing catches have be­come a reg­u­lar oc­cur­rence. But for sheer strange­ness, lure fish­ing for floun­ders takes some beat­ing, reck­ons Dom Garnett

Angling Times (UK) - - SOUTH -

PER­HAPS it was in­evitable with the huge rise of drop shot and light rock fish­ing, but barely a week goes by these days with­out some­thing crazy being caught on a lure.

Whether it’s a carp from the canal or all man­ner of bizarre mini species from the coast, lit­tle seems off lim­its.

Even so, news of floun­ders being not only caught but suc­cess­fully tar­geted on lures got me both ex­cited and baf­fled. But with my pal in Dorset Andy Myt­ton reg­u­larly catch­ing them, I knew there had to be method in this mad­ness. So how ex­actly do you go about catch­ing a preda­tor that’s as flat as a pan­cake?

The first key is in lo­cat­ing these well-con­cealed crea­tures, around the edges of boat­yards and shel­tered, man-made struc­tures where they love to am­bush shrimps, crabs and small fish.

From what I’ve seen so far, night fish­ing with a head torch is key. Be­cause in these witch­ing hours the rather com­i­cal, al­most not even three-di­men­sional floun­der be­comes a sur­pris­ingly ag­gres­sive and ef­fi­cient killer.

Spot­ting them in the first place

is like solv­ing a strange pic­ture puz­zle as you peer into shad­owy wa­ter. You have to train your eyes for any lit­tle ir­reg­u­lar­ity – if only these flat as­sas­sins were as easy to lo­cate as the har­bour mullet or schools of fry.

The more you stop and stare, the stranger it gets on a cold night. Per­haps weird­est of all is the sight of a floun­der ca­reer­ing around af­ter shoals of small fly, sev­eral feet off the bot­tom. In­deed, they will cap­i­talise on any plen­ti­ful prey, whether that means a sly am­bush or charg­ing around like a crazed ma­niac.

At these points in your fish­ing life you pon­der not how much, but how lit­tle you re­ally know.

It doesn’t take too long to find the odd floun­der be­hav­ing in a much more text­book fashion, though, lurk­ing mo­tion­less on the bot­tom. Here, you have a great chance to catch them with a small soft plas­tic worm, fish or even a crab, sneaked across the deck.

If you’re lucky enough to see a take, it is a cu­ri­ous af­fair – the fish an­gles it­self up­wards slightly, be­fore an ex­ag­ger­ated mouth shoots open in car­toon fashion and it’s game over.

Or at least it should be, be­cause the other vi­tal les­son is to pause a split sec­ond to let Mr Flat Stuff gob­ble your lure down prop­erly.

But if some chances are eas­ily missed, oth­ers fish give solid thumps on the rod-tip.

The pul­sat­ing fight that fol­lows is just about ev­ery­thing you wouldn’t ex­pect from an av­er­a­ge­sized flat­tie.

Am I see­ing things? Are floun­ders to be­come the new pike? There’s lit­tle chance of that, but for any­one with an open mind these are bril­liant and sur­pris­ingly fierce fish to tar­get on lures.

Once night falls, floun­ders grow bolder and greed­ier. Flat­ties give a great tus­sle and sur­pris­ingly bold bites on light lure tackle.

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