Parophrys Vetulus

Pleuronectidae

Pleuronectiformes

Nearshore, Muddy Bottom

2 - 3 pounds

12" - 19"

English Sole Game Fish Quality Very Good
English Sole Meal Quality Excellent
English Sole Fly Fishing Quality Very Good

English Sole

English Sole
Also Known As: N/A

English Sole (Parophrys vetulus) Description

A dextral flatfish, the English Sole has its eye on its right side. Like most flatfish, the English Sole has a diamond-shaped body and a small head. Its fins protrude outward which allows it to propel itself over the seafloor rather than it swimming upright. It has a white to yellow underbelly with a brown top. The English Sole however may not always be plain brown and sometimes has dark speckles covering its body.

As a flatfish, it has two major fins that help with its movement: the dorsal and the ventral fin. Both of these fins are dark brown in color. The English Sole also has a lateral line that curves towards its pectoral fin.

 

Diet and Size

Like most flatfish, the English Sole has a preference for plankton. They will however feast on some marine worms such as Horseshoe Worms, and Flatworms. English Soles also love their mollusks such as clams and maybe a sea snail or two. They also eat crustaceans such as small shrimps and crabs.

English Soles on average  20-24 inches in length.  However, the average size of a female English Sole is around 14 inches. As for their weight, they can vary from 1 pound to a maximum of 3.3 pounds.

 

Interesting Facts

  • English Soles may not be preferred by some especially those who are aware of what they eat. They are known to eat parasitic worms.  Despite the worms being parasitic to fish, they are not parasitic to humans.
  • These fish are known for their soft, white meat. Usually, a common sole and sometimes even an English Sole is used in fast foods since they’re a cheaper fish to procure in comparison to other white meat fish.
  • English Soles can live up to 22 years.
  • Female English Soles live 4 years longer than male English Soles.
  • Female English Soles are bigger than males.
  • After spawning, English Sole eggs are known to sink to the bottom of the water.

 

Fishing Techniques: How to Fish for an English Sole

When catching an English Sole, you’ll have to take note of the season. During spawning season, They are also commonly found with other soles such as Starry Flounders and Sand Soles. Their peak season for spawning is around February to March.

Although English Soles are around 1-2 lbs in weight, sometimes you'll need heavier gear. English Soles sometimes can be found in areas with strong currents that might tear your equipment apart. However, if the currents are light, anglers recommend using a lightweight tackle for that extra challenge. Usually, lightweight tackle works best if you're fishing for English Soles by bridges and piers. At least your equipment won't look like microwaved spaghetti if you're fishing for them by bridges and piers.

For catching them, the best kind of lure so far are jigs. Anglers recommend jigs for English Soles especially since they like staying in the bottom. But sometimes, they're okay with small plastic lures also. If you're going the bait route, English Soles love variety. They love worms, shrimps, prawns, and some cut-up fish pieces. Before introducing cut fishes pieces, however, make sure it's within the regulations. Otherwise, you're better off catching a fish nearby the English Sole's area, cutting it up, and throwing it back in for bait. Some people recommend using a Black Lug with a Size 4-6 hook. A Black Lug is a large worm and although gross to look at, it's the English Sole's preferred worm so far. 

They usually come out at night though, during Spring and early Autumn. While their peaks during seasons do vary depending on the area, they are mostly active at night and they feed at the shoreline. Check the tides while you're there to make sure your equipment can withstand the current. Tides can also work in your favor since English Soles will bury themselves in the sand and turn themselves over depending on where the current is coming from. This will make it easier for you, especially if you can just dig them out yourself.

 

Habitat and Distribution

English Soles live in deeper waters (around 820 ft) near the Pacific Coast of North America. While young, English Soles stay near the surface. Normally, the larvae stay by estuaries and nurseries for the next 1-2 years before the wind blows them away. When English Soles grow older, they usually head out to the deeper waters where it's easier for them to bury themselves in. They usually stay on the Western Coast of North America. English Soles can also be found swimming in the Bering Sea and the Aleutian Islands to central Baja California.

English Soles can also be found in intertidal zones of shallow bays and tidal flats.