Of The Sole (Solea Vulgaris) I am inclined to say little. In the first place, it bids fair to become extinct ; and, on account of its scarcity and night-feeding habits, is not often caught by the angler in salt water. During warm weather soles come into fairly shallow water, retreating into the deep in winter, their migration, if it may be so called, depending in a large measure on the temperature of the air and water. Soles are fairly prolific in the matter of eggs, a fish of one pound having been found to contain 134,000 ; but so great a destruction of fish-life goes on in the sea, that such vast quantities of eggs even as this are insufficient to counteract the destructive agencies, natural and artificial, human and inhuman. The sole is a fish which is found all round the coast of England in suitable localities, but gets scarcer towards the north of Scotland. It is also common on parts of the Irish coast. A cast of a pair from Ireland which weighed 12 lbs. was made by Frank Buckland. Yarrell records one of 9 lbs. which was for sale in the market at Totness.
If any of my readers are fortunate enough to find a fishing ground where soles are plentiful, they should fish on the bottom with the tackle shown on p. 243, and bait with lugworms if obtainable ; failing these, mussels, ragworms, and the tails of hermit crabs may be tried. The fishing should be done at night, and a most favourable time will be when there has been sufficient sea to thicken the water. Then the fish may feed in the daytime.
There are several varieties of sole—Solea lascaris, Solea variegata, and Solea lutea. Solea lascaris may be known by a series of spots or blotches over it, while Solea variegata is partially barred, and lutea has a few well-defined black spots placed widely apart.
Lemon Sole is a local name applied to three different species of fish. The long rough dab (Hippoglossoides liman-doides) is so called in Scotland ; the smear dab (Pleuronectes microcephalus) takes the same name in Ireland ; and the term is also applied to Solea lascaris, already referred to. The fish to which I have been in the habit of giving this name is the second of the three mentioned. I have caught a good many when fishing for codling on the edge of rocky reefs. They are fish which are usually found in such localities, and there is no better bait for them than the lugworm. They have a differently shaped mouth from the sole, and are much darker coloured, but the colour of all flat fish varies a good deal with the ground on which they lie, so that nothing dependable can be said on that point.