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Thread: Sole in PWS

  1. #1

    Default Sole in PWS

    In a few spots in Port Wells and again, just inside of Esther bay, I caught several of what I assumed were very small Halibut. They were usually less than 16" long and most were snagged in the head as their mouths were too small to accommodate the hook. I'm familiar with starry and arrow tooth flounder, and these weren't. Wondering if these might have been some sort of sole? These had fins that pretty much followed the shape of the body, where halibut fins kind of reach an apex mid body. Other than that, they looked like halibut to me. I released all of them since I was in search of the fabled 20 pounder. So the big Are there sole in those areas? Is there an easy way to distinguish them from mini halibut?

  2. #2
    Member spoiled one's Avatar
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    Lots of sole in that area. Halibut will have smooth skin the sole will have rough scales. The kids catch them all the time jigging buzz bombs.
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  3. #3

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    Thanks, spoiled one. I bet that's what they were. I remember the sand papery feel while I was releasing them.

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    I've heard there are upwards of 50 varieties of sole/flounder in AK waters. I've taken them in several spots when either mooching for silvers and letting my rig hit bottom or just goofing around and putting on smaller jigs and trying shallow points.

    If you fillet them up and cook them right away they are pretty good eating. But they have an enzyme that breaks down their flesh and turns it mushy so it's not worth putting them in the ice box. I have an aversion to releasing fish that are bleeding and hence occasionally eat fish I normally wouldn't target.
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    I have a poster with 12 flatfishes from Alaska and I know it's missing a few...


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    Member FishGod's Avatar
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    I counted 29 species of flatfish in the book Fishes of Alaska
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  7. #7

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    i have always used the pick up by the tail method. if you can pick the fish up by the tail it is probable a halibut, if you cannot it is a sole.
    the tail of a sole will colapse so you cannot get a grip on it, the halibut has meat on the tail so you get a grip.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bering Nomad View Post
    i have always used the pick up by the tail method. if you can pick the fish up by the tail it is probable a halibut, if you cannot it is a sole.
    the tail of a sole will colapse so you cannot get a grip on it, the halibut has meat on the tail so you get a grip.
    Another very useful way to identify...Thanks!

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bering Nomad View Post
    i have always used the pick up by the tail method. if you can pick the fish up by the tail it is probable a halibut, if you cannot it is a sole.
    the tail of a sole will colapse so you cannot get a grip on it, the halibut has meat on the tail so you get a grip.
    True for sole but doesn't help exclude flounder and turbot. Plus picking up halibut by the tail is bad for the meat.

  10. #10

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    flounder and turbot are in sole family. the next time you catch one, try picking it up and tossing it back over the side,( if you choose too) or in the cooler," by the tail ". it can be done but not easily and not before dropping it on the deck a half dozen times.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bering Nomad View Post
    flounder and turbot are in sole family. the next time you catch one, try picking it up and tossing it back over the side,( if you choose too) or in the cooler," by the tail ". it can be done but not easily and not before dropping it on the deck a half dozen times.
    The most likely fish to be confused with a halibut is arrowtooth flounder or Greenland turbot. My point was just that your tail method doesn't exclude these. They both can be picked up by the tail quite easily.

  12. #12
    Member homerdave's Avatar
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    Here's a pretty good pic of a starry flounder and a decent sized rock sole.


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