Summer is upon us and the wrasse should now be back inshore in good numbers. There are multiple ways to target this species, with the most popular being to ledger, float fish or target them by lure.
I am personally a big fan of targeting the species by float and have enjoyed much success in doing so, that said however, I have often found that the float fishing method is only ever at its most productive during the “peak” periods of the tide. This varies from venue to venue also linking in closely with the weather conditions, often a successful session can fall baron almost in the space of a few casts.
When this happens I find that switching to ledgering can quickly bring the fish back to the bank, additionally I have found that the bigger run of fish can sometimes be found in this way, especially if you are getting large numbers of smaller fish falling to the float fishing method. Of course none of this is an exact science and I couldn’t explain why it seems to be this way, but time after time I have found larger fish and indeed just any fish at all when the float is not producing by switching to ledgering.
Most of my Wrasse fishing is done over very rough and snaggy ground, whilst the species can be found in all sorts of locations, I think it is fair to say that the most productive and prolific areas are definitely rough ground marks, at least this is certainly the case along the coastline local to me.
With this in mind I always keep my set up very simple. Wrasse are typically found close to the bottom moving in and out of the rocks and kelp searching for crustaceans and shellfish; so fishing fairly tight to the bottom is a must if you want any real degree of success.
I have experimented with all sorts of rigs and methods to reduce tackle losses and associated costs over the years and for me personally, the most simple and effective method is the good old 3-way swivel to create a basic single hook paternoster!
Tie the mainline to the top of the larger swivel, with a 3ft line trailing from the bottom eye to the lead. Tie a Snood of approximately 12” to the smaller swivel eye for your hook……..Simple!
This keeps the bait just clear of, but tight to, the bottom.
A note regarding the line to the lead; ensure that this is about 10lb lighter in breaking strain that the mainline you are using. This ensures that in the event of being hung into a snag you are able to break free without losing everything. This also ensures that if you have hooked a fish you should not leave it anchored to the bottom in the event of a snag as when you pull for the break the weak link should go first.
This rig is intended for use at short range; Want to cast some distance? - No problem, simply add a rotten bottom release to the rig on a short section of line the same strain as your shock leader!
Then we move on to the hook:
Hook size will vary dependant on the size of fish you are targeting or the bait you are using but regardless of the size I always select the Cox & Rawle Chinu pattern. Wrasse can grow fairly large with the British record currently standing at a little over 9lb’s however anything above the 5lb mark is a pretty fine specimen. Despite their size and aggressive nature their mouths remain fairly small by comparison so don’t be tempted to go too large. The Chinu with its short shank, sensible gape and unique shape gives you an epically strong hook in a neat and compact format. Similar sized patters of a finer wire and longer shank may be more prone to bending out or failing under the heavy pressures these tough little fish can exert so the Chinu is a great choice being small and strong. Don’t ask me why but I have always found the shorter shank to be an advantage in hooking up with Wrasse, certainly when compared to using a long shank hook – it may all be in my head but I think as with most anglers I know, once you have found something you like and that seems to work you stick with it.
I typically select this hook from around a size 1 through to a 4/0 dependant on the bait in use. Explore the range here - http://www.coxandrawle.com/products/hooks-singles/chinu-hook
The 3 Way Swivel and Chinu, the Wrasse-Tastic Duo!!
Tight lines – Rich, SAA