Tackle and Tactics
SPINNING FROM THE SHORE Part 9 Lures 7.
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.
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Spinning from the shore.
A flounder caught on legered ragworm.
The Owenea estuary.
An angler legering in the Aln.
Spinning in the estuary.
One of my first 'baited spoon' flounders.
Spinning from the open beach.
Another spooned fish.