Love on the rocks (wrasse article and videos, entry 371)

 Love on the rocks

 

I often describe myself as an all-rounder, and the only thing that stops me from doing more sea fishing is where I live. With the cost of fuel these days, living smack bang in the centre of England as well, I can’t exactly pop to the coast for a couple of hours. Time and money are the only two factors that stand against me though as far as being an active sea angler is concerned. However once we hit vacation time and we pack the car for our annual family holiday, along with my wife, girls, pets and the kitchen sink goes the sea gear. It’s amazing how much we get into our current car, which is a Rover 25. A bit like Doctor Who’s tardis really, but we manage. And my salt-water tackle isn’t sacrificed to lighten the load so that’s me sorted.

 

This year we headed for Wales, and in particular Anglesey. And if you want me to be very precise, Trearddur. It’s been a few years since we stayed there, but it is my wife’s favourite place and when I tell her I don’t care where we go just as long as there’s water I mean it. Next year we’re going to a sewage farm! And whilst I may kick a stink up over that choice of destination, the rocky bay of Trearddur presents no problems at all. As you can see from the image on the left, fishing in that environment is hardly a hardship. And for anyone that may be planning a holiday in the area and you want to know where I fished exactly, I was out on the point with the village to my left.

 

Many weeks before the holiday I knew what my target species was going to be and also my line of attack. In a nutshell – float fishing for wrasse. With a good depth of water right in front of the outcrop and also lots of kelp and rocks around the immediate coast, it is a wrasse stronghold. But the attraction of the environment also means that a traditional lead and multiple snood approach is out of the question due to constant tackle losses. That’s why I opted for a float set-up, going for a four-inch float which was more than adequate in the almost calm conditions that I had before me on session one of the holiday. A small bullet lead took the bait down to a bead/swivel and then a snood of about 2.5 feet culminating in a size 2 Aberdeen short shank hook.

 

This meant that the section of ragworm that I was putting on the hook was allowed to waft enticingly above the natural snags where the wrasse hide. With the flexibility of the stop knot I was able to adjust the depth at which I fished according to the tide, so that the bait was always just above the fish. And it worked, with both ballan and corkwing wrasse being caught. And the latter must surely be one of the most beautiful of our native fish.

 

 

 

I only had a couple of hours on the rocks but I enjoyed it so much I thought to myself, I know what I am going to call this article. And it’s not like the love on the rocks as per falling out of a relationship, but quite literally me being in a place of perfect contentment sitting on an Anglesey outcrop! And with a bite every single cast I was certainly a busy man striking at the float as it plunged beneath the surface. But wrasse are like roach in that they are lightning-quick and so I didn’t land every one. But with a total of twenty-seven being hooked fair and square I didn’t do too badly, particularly when other anglers on the rocks blanked. One even came over and asked me what the secret was. It’s obvious a lot of holiday makers give fishing ‘a go’ without really knowing what they are doing, but when I talked him through location (the fish are under your feet, there’s no need to cast to the horizon), presentation (you won’t catch with a bait six inches below the surface in twenty feet of water) and bait (bacon rind is good for Jack Spratt’s wife but not wrasse) then you can see the ‘penny begins to drop’ as we say.

 

Most of the fish I caught were corkwing wrasse and being as they are much smaller than their larger relatives the ballan, many were just palm-of-the-hand photographs. But a couple of the bigger ballans were worthy of me sharing the pose with them. The biggest one is pictured right and although not a monster, once I realised that the spot I fished was more quantity than quality, everything dropped into perspective and it wasn’t such a bad fish after all. Wrasse are probably my favourite sea fish, with ‘flatties’ (of all types) running them a very close second. There are several reasons why I like them but maybe it’s just the fact that in appearance they remind me very much of my beloved perch. That’s my number one coarse fish by the way, which you will know if you are a regular reader of my Angling Journal!

 

 

One of the positives about where we stayed in Trearddur was that we were walking distance from the coast, and so it was great to be able to pay a flying visit to the rocks and then head back to base. As I so often write, it’s not so much the amount of time that we spend fishing but rather the period of time that we do it in. And with a bite a chuck I was certainly doing something right. Isn’t it great when it all comes together? The only thing I didn’t like about the session though was the amount of litter left lying around by anglers. Packaging from angling related products plus the customary coke / cheap lager cans, Walker’s crisp packets and chocolate bar wrappers. These items appear to be the staple diet of a certain type of person that goes fishing. So predictable are they that you could build a character profile!

 

Session two saw me accompanied by my wife Debby. This is the first time, in eight years, that she has actually featured in my Angling Journal although she has certainly contributed to it, not least of all by composing and playing the piece of music that has been on my videos for a while now. And talking of videos, there are two this week and the second one is devoted to the couple of hours I had on the rocks with Debby fishing. That’s her (right) with a wrasse and I think she did great in front of the camera, and catching as well into the bargain. And when you think that she was only fishing with a crab line, her achievement from an angling perspective was brilliant. As well as ballan and corkwing wrasse she also caught a blenny. And I also had a third species as I landed a small pollack. (Article published August 14 2010)

 

Videos number 37 & 38 on the list

(Originally published August 2010)

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