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how do you spot flatfish, like flounder etc

Andrew the fish

Well-Known Member
Oct 17, 2010
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Burnaby BC Canada
I have been trying for flounder for at least couple month now, with very limited success. It is like a roller coaster from exciting to frustrating all the time. I know there are way more of them than what I see. Actually, pretty much the only times I see a flounder is when it is against pebble bottom and can't dig itself into the sand.

Any tips
 

Mr. X

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Jul 14, 2005
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Sunny Britain
I rarely see flat fish. I normally prefer to dive around rock structure and weeds, I find the sandy sea bed I associate with flatties tedious to dive. So I think you are on the right track by specifically targeting flatties.

They are often but not always hard to spot. Some have amazing "photo-realistic" camo and only become vaguely visible fleetingly like ghosts when they move. The few I have come across were very close to me - sometimes a knife would be more appropriate than a speargun and even a 75cm speargun can seem overly long and cumbersome. My aging eyesight is now making it even harder to spot flatties.

The place I have seen most flatties doesn't usually have flatties (that I can see), just occasionally. But I think there are areas that are more reliable. For example, I believe Poole Harbour us well known by anglers for producing good size plaice in winter. Sometimes in very shallow water.
 
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OP
Andrew the fish

Andrew the fish

Well-Known Member
Oct 17, 2010
355
51
68
Burnaby BC Canada
thank you Mr. X.

I hear you, flat sandy bottom is the most boring sight, no action there. But then, one day one good fella of mine tells me how good the spot is for flounder, and I never thought of that area being able to produce anything more than occasional crab and maybe clams. It is a sandy beach bent into a lagoon. To me there is no food there, no urchins, no cucumbers, no rock scallops and no fish whatsoever. So I though he is inventing a story. Then, one other day a lady at the dock with a fish rod tells me she pulled 5 flounders since morning, and I know for fact there is rarely anything other than pile perch. Makes me scratch my head, maybe I am missing something. Since I stuck for work on this particular small Island, with nothing but gentle sloping pebble beach shores, I decided to push for flat fish. Was basically forced out of having no choice.

Yesterday I caught 6. For the first time I could take two fish in one dive, did it twice. I did not have to reload the gun, simply impaled the second fish onto the shaft driving it by hand.
 
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Mr. X

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Interesting. The place I last saw flatties was a sandy bottomed funnel shaped inlet between Rocky reefs, which probably concentrated them (I saw 3 that day) and made them easier to spot. It was a particularly fishy day (I had a nice bass and a couple of good mullet, further out), warm, flat seas and with high tide covering what at low tide is a narrow, sandy beach.
 
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cdavis

Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2003
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Sarasota, Fla
Ahh, one of the hard ones. I've had success with two methods. Look for their eyes and the line of the jaw. When you see one, don't think about how much you want to shoot him. Relax and think, nice flounder, pretty flounder, I love you flounder, and keep thinking that till you stick him. Sounds weird, but they pick up real quick if your body language suggests that you are a predator. Second method, night diving. They don't camo at night and are easy to see.Aren't nearly as spooky either.

They will collect around anyplace that holds eating size bait, edge of sandbars, sand funnels, base of jetties, edge of wreaks, etc.
 
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Mr. X

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Jul 14, 2005
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Surprised you haven't noticed it yourself but perhaps you already have the right attitude as you hunt. I think this may be why seals appear so playful and nonchalant. Think like a seal, act like a seal ;)
 

Troek

Member
Aug 12, 2019
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Japan
Everyone I’ve ever seen whether Japan or California has been by its eyes. I also site fish a lot with a fly rod and it seems your eyes can get better and picking up certain shapes and such the more you do it.
 
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