Tackle and Tactics
Mike Ladle


Information Page


One of the best sea angling books ever written is John Garrad's book on baited spoon fishing for flounders. All of Garrad's fish were caught in the summer by trolling large, ragworm baited spoons behind a rowing dinghy. In fact he was rather scathing about the possibility of casting and retrieving these lures from the shore, considering that the retrieve was not long enough to allow the flounders to mouth and take the bait. What he did show was that the size of spoon and way it is fished is ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL.

Lots of things have changed since those days. Modern spinning gear makes it easy to cast much further, even with weightless tackle and this opens up many possibilites. First of all it is necessary to distinguish between spinning and simply attracting flounders to the bait by adding beads or even 'spoons' in front of the hook while legering or bottom fishing. Lots of anglers do the latter but very few indeed have tried the former. The truth is that flounders will readily take unadorned worm baits and since they may well investigate anything bright or shiny flashy attractors are effective.

Spinning for flounders is similar in principle but utilises scent, colour, movement and vibration. Years ago, in the estuary of the Owenea River in Donegal, I caught lots of big flounders on unbaited Mepps Minos. At the same time I successfully used a large, white luggage label as an attractor. However, it was years later that I actually began to catch flounders by spinning from the shore with baited spoons. Iwas on holiday in the North East of England and visited Alnmouth on the coast of Northumberland. The River Aln runs across the sandy beach and during my visit one or two people were fruitlessly bottom fishing. I had a couple of 'mullet spoons' in my bag so I decided to try them for flounders.

Following Garrad's principle I started by casting upstream in the estuary and retrieving with the current. It was not long before I caught my first flounder (about the size of my hand). This gave me confidence and I paddled down onto the beach to try in the open sea. There was a slight, longshore current so I continued casting 'upstream' and retrieving. Within an hour or so I had landed eight flounders up to about 400g in weight. The fish chased the spoon, just like mullet, and more or less hooked themselves. In truth, although I have caught a number of flounders since then, when I was fishing for mullet in Devon and Dorset, I feel that I have never really developed the full potential of the method for these flatfish.

If you have any comments or questions about fish, methods, tactics or 'what have you.'get in touch with me by sending an E-MAIL to - docladle@hotmail.com


Spinning from the shore.


A flounder caught on legered ragworm.

This fish was taken in winter from the estuary of the Dorset Frome.

The Owenea estuary.

I caught lots of flounders by spinning and by using my baited luggage label attractor.

An angler legering in the Aln.

Sport was very slow on bottom fished baits.

Spinning in the estuary.

My first cast was upstream and I had a fish within minutes.

One of my first 'baited spoon' flounders.

The blade is a number four and the spoon body consists of light plastic beads so that it is possible to spin quite slowly.

Spinning from the open beach.

The fish came thick and fast and I had eight before it was time to pack in.

Another spooned fish.

Although they were mostly small big flounders do take the spinners and it may be worth scaling up the size of the spoons.