Most anglers entering the water do so in a pair of waterproof or neoprene waders – but not always.
One of the more unusual fishing methods means getting your feet well and truly wet.
Flounder start off swimming upright and have their eyes positioned on either side of their heads. But as they grow, they not only flip over onto their sides and head for the seabed, but one of their eyes actually migrates, so that both end up on the same side. Catching them is a popular winter sport for sea anglers – although flounder have been found as much as 30 miles up river.
One way of catching them is with rod and line, but another method involves taking off your waders and sloshing about in the shallows.
Feet are one of the most sensitive parts of the human body, and are home to thousands of nerve endings. Use these to locate your prey. You’ll feel your flounder wriggle under your foot.
The challenge is to avoid the temptation to scream and jump a mile in the air. Instead – keep absolutely still. Slowly reach down and take a firm grip of the dinner plate sized fish under your toes, and hey presto – that’s dinner for one.
Competitive Flounder Tramping
Until recently, treading on flounders was a competition sport. For over 40 years, the Grande Internationale World Flounder Tramping Championships was held in the chilly River Urr in Galloway.
Waders from across the country and beyond would congregate to see who could trap the most fish with their bare feet. The winner received £150 and three bottles of whiskey.
The contest was cancelled back in 2010 due to health and safety concerns and the difficulty in obtaining affordable public liability insurance.
It’s unfortunate that Britain’s only venomous fish shares some of the same muddy habitat as the flounder. The weaver fish has spines protruding from its dorsal fin which inject a protein based toxin into the foot of anyone unfortunate enough to stand on one.
The pain is extreme but easily cured. Simply plunge the afflicted foot into water as hot as you can bear – and wait for the pain to die down.
Needless to say – beware of wading in areas where the tide runs faster than you can retreat, or where you’re likely to be cut off.