by David Proudfoot

Solea solea

species ID sole

Distinguishing features

The sole is an oval shaped flatfish with a small head and a small offset mouth. The dorsal and anal fins are joined to the tail by a thin membrane. The upper side of the sole varies in colour from dark brown to sandy brown with blotches and the underside being a creamy white. There is a dark spot on the pectoral fin.


The sole can grow to 60 cm and a weight of around three kilos although the majority of fish encountered will not exceed 30 cm.

British Record Fish List

UK Shore Record: 6lb 8oz 10dms / 2.965kg
UK Boat Record: 4lb 6oz 0dms / 1.984kg

European Line Class Record for this species


The sole will be found where the seabed is sandy or muddy in depths of 10 to 100 metres. It is found mainly in the southern North Sea and down the Atlantic coast to the Mediterranean. The sole tends to feed best after dark inshore.


Although sole will occasionally feed on molluscs its main diet consists of worms and crustaceans.


Smallish neat ragworm, black lug or blow lug baits are the most effective bait for sole.

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