Well as the title suggests, I am going to explain my way of bottom fishing for Ray and Flat fish.
The set up is extreamly easy to use with no fuss, easy to tie and most important very productive. It will pick up a wide variety of species not just what I’m suggesting it for, depending in hook size and line weight everything from small Dabs to bass and if using heavier gear small sharks (Tope) and Skate are also targeted using this method.
Basically it’s a single hook ledger Rig, the rig is tied to suit the species that I’m after.
First of all I place a simple zip slider on my main line followed by a single bead then tie a snap swivel to the end of the line, the bead is very important as it helps prevent the later weighted zip slider from damaging the knot to the swivel!!!!!! From here we then make up traces to suit the target species, in most cases for general fishing I use a 20/30lb mono bite trace of around a meter long. For heavier species like Ray I up the bite trace to around 40/50lb mono, and for Tope I use 100lb write to stop them biting through the trace.
Next we have hook size……… A size 1 or 1/0 is a good all round hook for general bottom fishing for smaller species.
For flat fish and Ray a long shanked hook is essential like the Cox and Rawle UpTide Extra in sizes 2/0 to 4/0 depending on the size of the target species. For the bigger stuff like Tope we move the hook up to a 6/0 or 8/0 attached to the wire bite trace.
When making my traces I make some plain and with others I add coloured beads at the hook as attractors. Now in some cases the rigs with beads have produced better than without and in other cases it was the opposite so I think it really depends on the fish and location.
Next we have bait and methods……. Flat fish are better targeted while anchored and keeping baits hard on the bottom, best suited baits for flat fish would be most worm baits though fish baits will also work.
Ray baits are better suited and more productive if drifted slowly on the sea floor, a lot of factors will vary this drift like wind and tide, the drift can be slowed down by using a drogue. And the best suited baits are large fillets or flappers of Mackerel, they have a huge mouth and will attack a large bait with ease. The weight is better kept as light as possible to suit the conditions to make bites more easily identified, and by fishing two rods increases you chance of hook up!!!!!
My main lines are also rarely heavier than 18/20lb mono unless targeting Tope where I use 60lb braid.