Flatfish graining/gigging?

Mon Jun 29, 2020 6:54 pm

Quick question?
On the assumption that it's done responsibly regarding minimum size and bag limits, has anyone here in Ireland undertaken/tried graining/gigging for the various flatfish such as flounder and plaice, dabs etc.

For those unfamiliar with the term, it essentially involves the use of a "trident" type fork (basically a 5-7ft length of broomstick with a +- 20-30cm wide steel multi-prong spear point on the end, say 4 to 6 individual spikes (with or without barbs), which you then poke/jab into the sand in front of you whilst you wade through an estuary or seashore sandbanks and flats. Typically no need to go deeper than knee deep, so no real risk of drowning or being swept away unless you are being really reckless.
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In South Africa we used the term Graining, with a Graining Fork whilst in the USA and Aus/NZ they use the term Gigging, using the same sort of forks.
We used to do this during daytime on long sandy beaches, targeting the deeper sandbanks at low tide which were then safely wade-able.
Now, with the advent of modern high-power headlamps, it's possible to wade the flats at night when the flatfish are much shallower and out feeding and are thus more visible as they are less covered in sand and concealed, thus permitting one to be much more selective as opposed to just merely random jabbing around in the sand where you could spear juvenile specimens.
It's a relatively low-risk high reward experience.
In SA, the biggest risk was possibly stepping on a covered electric ray whilst wading thigh deep on a sandbank in the surf and getting a solid thump through your nervous system and heart - actually a fairly common occurance. I don't imagine much risk here in Ireland other than perhaps getting hyperthermia or getting stuck in some quicksand if in an estuary.
Would be interested to hear some local opinions on this strategy.

Re: Flatfish graining/gigging?

Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:58 pm

Forgot to mention if not patently obvious that this "angling" technique is expressly for catch n cook, as certainly no prospect of C&R once a fish has been speared. So the essence is to ideally be more selective and target only adult size fish, and only enough to eat. Angling responsibly for future generations and our youth.

Re: Flatfish graining/gigging?

Tue Jun 30, 2020 12:42 pm

I used to do it as a lad with a 6 inch nail with a barb filed in it jubilee clipped to the end of a bamboo cane. Sometimes the flatties would see refuge under your feet

Re: Flatfish graining/gigging?

Tue Jun 30, 2020 5:07 pm

I guess the only risk to this method apart from currents and quicksand would be weeverfish but only if you were doing it barefoot in shorts or whatever. My 2 cents

Re: Flatfish graining/gigging?

Thu Jul 02, 2020 9:44 am

My only concern would be that water makes the fish look bigger then they actually are, so careful selection would be necessary as it would not be catch and release