Late autumn and early winter is the time to target estuary flounder as they pack on weight prior to their annual spawning migration. The estuaries, pills, and salt marshes of south Wexford are home to some of the biggest flounder in Ireland, holding the current Irish record and producing specimens on a regular basis. My first session after these lunker flatties coincided with a four meter tide and a hurricane warning. The day however dawned frosty and calm with blue skies and a light south westerly, that was to change though as the afternoon progressed.
On arrival at the venue around 10.00am I met a local angler Paul Roche fishing with his nephew. The ebb tide still had two hours to run and the men had been busy. A nice bass and a flounder graced the bank providing plenty to talk about. Caught on peeler crab Paul proceeded to discuss the venue, fishing hot spots, and the virtues of fishing crab over worm when it comes to targeting the humble fluke. Armed only with lugworm, not living near any crab collecting area, a deal was done and I walked to my chosen spot a dozen peelers to the better. Setting up two rods rigged with flowing traces baited with lug and half a crab on each hook I cast thirty meters in to the ebbing tide.
No sooner had the grips settled then there was a distinctive rattle on the first rod followed by a slack line which quickly straightened in the current. The tip bobbed rhythmically as the fish flapped downstream before settling. Casting out the second rod I lifted the first and proceeded to reel in what felt like a good sized flat fish. Sure enough a few kicks and splashes at the edge were the give away before a large flounder slid up the bank. Two pounds plus and not far off a specimen, great start. A lean on rod number two signaled further interest. You do not have to hurry these fish, so a quick release of catch number one before dealing with its companion. A minute later flounder number two flapped clear of the tide line. Equally impressive this was some fishing.
A further two flounder were landed before things went quite as the current slowed on low water. Three of the four were lured by a combination of lugworm and peeler, with the forth on straight lugworm. The wind by now had backed around to the north west, turned cold and strengthened pushing heavy showers in its path. As the flood kicked on it carried floating weed which wrapped around the line making fishing difficult. With no further bites other than a few baby coalfish I decided to call it a day. Four big flounder, three over two pound and the forth 1.5lbs+, not bad for an afternoon’s fishing in November.
See also: Floundering Around in Co. Wexford.