Pleuronectes platessa - Plaice

Phylum: Chordata - Class: Actinopterygii - Order: Pleuronectiformes - Family: Pleuronectidae


Young plaice live close to the shore for the first three or four years of their lives, and then they move out to deeper water. Specimen plaice are generally caught in water 10 to 50 m deep and occasionally much deeper. They are particularly fond of mussel beds.

The bright orange or red spots on the brown 'eyed' side of a plaice are a distinguishing feature (not visible in the picture above); the underside of the plaice is white, as with other 'flatties', and only occasionally is the underside marked with dark blotches. The scales are smooth, unlike those of a flounder, which are rough.

Plaice reach maturity typically when they are between four and six years old. They spawn during the winter and can live for up to 20 years, by which time a plaice can weigh more than 3kg ( lb). A plaice of just over 7lb (approx. 3kg) was caught from the shore at Deganwy, in north Wales, in 1983 and this fish holds the Welsh rod-caught record.

When fishing for plaice, a moving bait is generally better than a static one, and adding a bright bead or spoon to the trace adds attraction. Worms, razorfish and mussel are very effective baits for plaice, and light tackle is practicable when fishing inshore sandbanks. When fishing from a boat, plaice are most likely to be caught on the drift rather than legering.

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