There is an underated thug of a sporting fish that inhabits our shores, frequently encountered, often dismissed, the humble Ballan Wrasse really doesn’t get the respect it deserves sometimes. I, however, have a continuing fascination with this particular species that started from an early age float fishing around the Cornish coast right up to the present day dabbling in modern saltwater lure fishing. In fact targeting these brutes on lures is ideal as they hang out around some of the roughest terrain the UK can offer, spots that can turn into tackle graveyards of the highest order.
With falling water temperatures and the onset of the usual changeable winter conditions creeping in, I took the advantage of favourable tides and a northerly breeze to hit the south Cornish coast to sneak in a session on the wrasse. I met up with a few like minded lure enthusiasts and headed out to one of my now favourite wrasse marks having been introduced to it by good mate Luke Fox.
The first task of the day was to set up the fishing tackle – my weapons of choice consisted of a 7′ 6″ 10-35g rod, 2500 size reel loaded with 15lb braid and a 12lb leader, tipped off with a 3.5″ soft plastic lure rigged on a 1/0 textposer (weedless) hook or (3.5g) jighead.
Working methodically, covering as much ground as possible I worked the gullies with a very slow, twitched retrieve. After a series of mini runs and missed takes, the lure finally got leathered. Cue braid stripping and rod banging as the fight for supremacy ensued. The key thing when taking wrasse with insanely light gear is to control that first run. All they want to do is to go to ground and if they are successful then kiss good bye to your end tackle! Through a mix of decent drag control and a little brute force I managed to turn the Wrasse’s head and play it in around the various snags right to my feet. Just check out the photo below, the humble Ballan is a great looking fish! 3lbish of pure muscle!
The session went on with a few fish showing between us with Luke (pictured below) having a personal war with a couple of lunkers that were playing hard to get by taking him on a merry run around various gullies and outcrops in front of him. It was he who was laughing last however as he managed to muscle out the biggest fish of the day at just shy of 4.5lb.
All in all it was a great day out in awesome company in the pursuit of an awesome fish. Hopefully this post is the first of many about my adventures in the world of modern salt and freshwater lure fishing in and around the Westcountry. The fishing is generally pretty decent but one thing is always constant and that is the stunning scenery.