Sunday, May 11, 2014

There's more than one way to skin a flounder.

I met up with my mate Nick last Sunday for a session targeting flounder from Thorntonloch Beach. He warned me beforehand that he might be a bit hungover and sure enough when I rang him to say I was down at Dunbar Harbour at the prearranged time he had just woken up. Not a problem as I had some ultra light tackle with me and had a quick fish at "flattie corner" while he got ready. There were plenty of small flatfish around and it was good fun watching them chase my lure as I slowly worked it along the bottom. Before long one of them was hooked and was quickly hoisted up to my hand and unhooked. It was a flounder but was quite unusual in that instead of a white underside it was exactly the same colour underneath as its back. Quite odd and perhaps the result of a genetic mutation if I had to guess. Unfortunately when I tried to photograph its anomalous belly the flounder took the chance to flip out of my hand, straight over the edge of the harbour wall and down into the water below before quickly shooting off down to the bottom.

The all brown flounder. You'll just have to take my word for it!

Before long Nick arrived and we headed off to dig some blow lug to use as bait. This didn't take long at all and we soon had enough for the session to go with the mackerel, black lug and squid we already had. Back on the road we headed further down the coast and parked up before walking along the beach. As we walked along we soon found a spot with some nice looking fish holding features that the tide would soon cover. We both opted to fish using a different approach. Nick fished a more traditional setup with two light beachcasters with multiple hook rigs. I meanwhile had only brought a light rod and planned to fish a single bait on a running ledger. Nick was also giving circle hooks a go and while I stood holding my rod upon retrieving his first two casts both rigs produced a double shot of flounders. With no obvious bites shown on either of his rods though the fish had taken the hooks into their mouths and were not lip hooked. Luckily I had a set of forceps with me and we managed to unhook them all. I thought the length of his snoods might be the cause and suggested Nick shorten them to help the circles work and improve bite detection. It went quiet for a while and as the tide flooded we moved back up the beach.  A couple more flounder were caught by Nick taking his tally to six and after changing his bait presentation slightly so that the circle hook was at the top of the bait the last one was nicely hooked. 

At the time its light colouration reminded me of the honeycomb centre of a Crunchie bar. Maybe I was hungry?

I meanwhile hadn't had so much as a bite and due to not getting a lot of sleep the previous couple of nights I started feeling rather tired. So much so that I stopped fishing and had a lie down further up the beach. You would have been forgiven for thinking I was the one suffering from a hangover! It was quite a relaxing spot and the sun even put in an appearance briefly. With no more bites coming for Nick and with both of us feeling a bit drained we decided to call it a day just before high water. As I had hardly anything to pack up I messed about balancing stones on top of each other whilst Nick sorted his gear.

So many different types of stone on the beach but there's nothing fishy going on here. No adhesives were used, just a steady hand.

Well my choice of approach had failed miserably. In fishing, when it comes to tactics, there's usually more than one way to skin a cat, or in this instance a flounder, but on the day I guess I chose the wrong one. I really prefer using a light rod held in hand so when a flounder is hooked they can show their fighting qualities but I guess it also reduces my chances of catching them and getting the right balance can be tricky. Food for thought for future beach flounder sessions.

Tight lines, Scott.

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