SOME LIKE IT FLAT
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
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.