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Brill, Scophthalmus rhombus

Irish Record Fish: We have withdrawn the details on the Irish record and specimen weights as the current IFSC rules require anglers kill all such fish, hardly sporting or conservation minded, is it?  Alternatives exist.
Boat Specimen:
Shore Specimen:
Photo Credit:

Marie Gavin Hughes


Introduction: Sadly the Brill has become extremely rare in recent times.  A smaller version of the Turbot, with bony protuberances down its back being the main difference in appearance, adult Brill can reach 15 lbs (7 kgs) however you are more likely to encounter fish around 2 lbs (1 kg).  The above specimen came from Clew Bay in 2000.  Whilst they are a very tasty fish, given their rarity, catch and release is very strongly recommended. 

Boat tactics: An impressive flatfish it will tackle any bait with plain ragworm offering you the best bet but with lugworm a decent backup - you have to keep the hook size down to perhaps a set of 1/0 or 2/0 in a pennel rig, and the terminal tackle can be the same as for most flatfish like Plaice, Flounder etc.  Brill like Turbot will take small fish baits like mackerel strip and sand eels in season.  Crab is another excellent bait.  A light boat rod is more than sufficient for tackling these wonderful flatfish. To be honest, no-one fishes specificcally for Brill, they are caught as a very happy accident.

Shore tactics: Find a big isolated beach, probably in Mayo or Donegal or some equally quiet place where the commercial trawler and trammel netters can not get in and dredge everything away, (see the section on virgin shore marks) get out your beachcaster and reel, and punch the baits out well into the surf.  Brill are mainly encountered by accident by shore anglers looking for other flatfish, Bass and similar species on wild storm beaches.  It seems that they prefer colder waters, so your best opportunity will be on the northernmost marks.