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The common sole is often referred to as the Dover sole but as they are found from the north of the British Isles all the way south to Senegal it’s certainly not restricted to the Kent coastline.


The long oval shape of the sole is light brown with darker blotches and a black spot at the base of the upper pectoral fin. Both eyes are on the upper side and the mouth is on the right.


The sole is a nocturnal feeder but are sometimes caught in daylight if the water is very cloudy and in rough water when the bottom is stirred up. They breed in the western channel between April  and August and usually arrive in numbers off the Sussex coast in mid July.


British boat record is 4lbs 6ozs caught from the Solent in 2005

The Dover Sole

Fact File

Latin Name: Solea solea


Distribution: Generally favours warmer water, meaning it is more common in the south of the British Isles, especially the English Channel, Irish Sea and southern parts of the North Sea. Does, however, sporadically show up in northern parts of the UK in limited numbers.


Habitat:  Muddy or sandy bottom - shallow water


Size:  Up to up to 3ft


Season: Caught all year round


Staple food: Mostly marine worms, prawns and invertebrates, but will feed on other food sources such as molluscs and crustaceans if they are present.


Angling tactics: Caught by ledgering on the bottom close in, from the beach


Bait Worms


British Record:

Boat caught; 4lbs 6ozs from the Solent

Shore caught; 6lb 8oz


Caught mostly by shore anglers - rarely caught in boats mainly because it is a night feeder



Dover Sole Dover Sole - night feeder not often caught in boat