|West Saltram Beach|
If catching big winter flounder gets you excited, then take a look at these six marks for your best shot at a new personal best flattie. After the autumn gales have departed and the first of the winter frosts have set in, then is the time to go hit the mark!
The roadside of the estuary is more accessible and seems to produce more fish, whereas the opposite side of the estuary is more tucked away from life and seems to produce the bigger specimens. The estuary can only be fished two hours either side of high water.
Don’t be alarmed if you arrive at any of the marks in this hotspot only to find other anglers have got there first. A short walk north or south along each side of the estuary will reveal many other marks that fish just as well as the main ones.
Ragworm and peeler crab are the killer baits but lugworm may be dug from the estuary on spring tide low waters. A word of warning – the river is lined with local anglers’ peeler crab traps. Please respect their efforts and leave the traps alone. These are also public areas so make sure you pick up all litter!
Situated on the outskirts of Plymouth, it isn’t hard to find the Plym Estuary. Heading towards Plymouth from the north or south along the A38, follow the signposts for Plymouth. Exit the A38 at the Marsh Mills roundabout. From Marsh Mills follow signposts for the city centre and the estuary will be clearly visible on the left-hand side of the road – it’s as simple as that to find.
The Embankment Benches can be found on Embankment Road just five minutes from the A38 and the Marsh Mills roundabout. A car lay-by can be found right next to the benches. This is a convenience mark if ever there was one. You can park the car and just a few yards away you’ll find a spot to fish. Adopt simple rigs and simple baits for the best results. A short, overhead lob will put you straight out on to the mudflats and among the fish. All you have to do then is pick your bench, sit back and wait for the bites!
The Rowing Club
Just a few hundred yards towards Plymouth from Embankment Benches you will find a small concrete building on the water’s edge known as the Rowing Club. Park your car in the lay-by by the benches and make the short walk. Behind the Rowing Club you will find a small concrete platform capable of handling a small number of anglers. Again keep baits and rigs simple, fish light, and to combat any tide try flattening a small pear lead with a hammer to avoid bottom roll.
Moving towards Plymouth from the Rowing Club you will see grass banks that follow the estuary for the next mile or so. Parking can be found in the area of an old boat yard about half a mile down the road from the Rowing Club. Park up and then pick your spot anywhere along the vast stretch of mudflat beach. This area has been known to produce the odd good fish, so it may be worth fishing two rods – one baited with worm aimed at catching the numbers, and one baited with just peeler crab for a bigger fish.
Head towards Plymouth city centre but start to follow signposts for Plymstock. After crossing Laira Bridge take the first turning on the right, where you will find a small lay-by to park in. Park the car and make the short walk back to the bridge. Just under the shadow of the bridge you will find a reasonably-sized concrete platform to fish from. This area rarely dries out, except on big spring tides. A short cast will put you on the mud and in the take zone. Laira Bridge can throw up numbers of flounder and the odd big fish, but sometimes school bass can be a nuisance.
The Water-Ski Pontoon
Leaving Laira Bridge, make a short drive down the lane and past the council depot. You’ll see a small gravel car park on the left park the car. Just a few yards from the car park behind the bushes you will find an old wooden pontoon used for water-skiers. Fish anywhere along this stretch for a decent flounder. Small hooks baited with worm will give you the best chance of numbers, while sitting it out with decent-sized peeler bait may just pull a good one.
A quarter of a mile further up the road from the Water-ski Pontoon you will come to a dead end. Just on your left you will find Saltram Beach. The beach can be fished using the same methods as for previous marks. This is not the end of the line though, because from here on heading north you will find a mud track which heads north towards Saltram House. The path can only be walked so travel light. As you walk you will find many gaps, beaches and marks between the undergrowth and this is where the really decent fish come from.
The Rockey Pindar Boat Yard, Pomphlett Quay, Tel: 01752 484233.
Clive’s Tackle & Bait, 182 Exeter Street, Tel: 01752 228940.
Manadon Angling Supplies, 11 St Erth Road, Tel: 01752 795060.
Osborne & Cragg, 37 Breton Side, Tel: 01752 223141.
TF Top Tips
For the bigger fish use a simple running leger. Try attractors but keep it simple. Use size 1/0 hooks and bait with ragworm or crab. Remember to avoid tidal roll on your end tackle, so flatten all your plain leads with a lump hammer.