My mate Del lives in the Isles of Scilly where he runs his own taxi business and fishes in some of the most fish-rich waters I have ever come across anywhere. We met many moons ago on a tournament casting court when we were at Plymouth uni, indeed from memory we had both hooked our casts way out of court and then got yapping, started fishing together etc. Del is one of the nicest blokes you could hope to meet and he is a seriously talented angler who really thinks things through - it's through him that my family and I are so in love with the Isles of Scilly. He is godfather to my youngest daughter and my girls simply adore him.
As Del says below, a while back I was urging him to have a go at this whole wrassing on soft plastics thing. For some weird reason that nobody seems to know, they don't get bass in the Isles of Scilly, but then they do have about the best pollack and wrasse fishing I have come across, plus some truly monster mullet etc. Well now it's me who asks Del for advice on catching wrasse on lures. He's got it big time and he catches the most ridiculous numbers of wrasse over there with an average size that is at times bordering on silly. I stand by my belief that you will catch more and bigger wrasse when fishing with soft plastics, and Del is proof to me that this is indeed the case. It's not every day of the week though that you land a 7.5lb wrasse - around the time that I was helping a fellow angler out on Monday, Del was landing this beast of a fish, and I asked him if he would mind doing this guest blog post for me. Here's his story :
Self-timer shot by Del
"It all started a couple of years ago after chatting to my old pal Henry (oi, enough of the "old" Del !!). He had been pestering me to get some soft plastics and go out and target the plentiful wrasse that we have around the Isles of Scilly. ''You will be amazed how much fun it is, boy'' he said. That first session I remember well as I landed 20 wrasse to 5.14lbs and was well and truly ''hooked'' and haven't looked back!!"
"I, like many other anglers, cut my teeth by catching wrasse with a bucket of hardbacks and heavy old beach casters. Nothing wrong with that and it still works well today. But fishing for me is all about having fun and enjoying the sport. Light, balanced tackle coupled with braid, barbless hooks and Texas rigged soft plastics bumped and twitched over boulders often results in catches of 50 to 60 wrasse per session and generally better sized wrasse too. I learned a great deal through reading various blogs especially Keith White's who with his team in Jersey is responsible for much of the ground breaking and who first really targeted wrasse with soft plastics. Each time I go fishing I learn something new which is part of the fun."
"Just recently the Isles of Scilly have been getting a right old pounding by big ground seas and this has meant me targeting wrasse in really shallow bays. We are talking 3-8ft of water and the sport has been insane! I sight fished a 6lb wrasse the other day in 4ft of water, seriously cool I can tell you!! The last few sessions have all seen wrasse over 5lbs topped off with Monday's memorable day.........."
"All flights had been cancelled due to thick fog so I grabbed the chance and waded out to a rocky brow as the tide was stripping out of a shallow bay. The bay itself is pretty big but the entrance is only 40 yards wide and 4ft deep meaning all the fish are concentrated as they enter or leave the bay and ambush the mental amounts of shrimps and gobies that go in and out with the tide. I started with a watermelon Z-Man ZinkerZ, a crazy lure that is soooooooo stretchy!! There were plenty of wrasse around as I could see several fish moving about between the jap weed. I must have landed 30 fish up to 4lbs when things went quiet. This is usually a good time to change colours or lures, I think wrasse get a little weary with the same lure going past them after a while."
Self-timer shot by Del - look at the wrist of the tail on that fish !!
"I changed to my old faithful, a Yoshikawa Superworm in watermelon and green flake and flicked it out across the entrance. No hits on my first cast but on the second as the lure was 8ft out I felt a strong 'tap' and then the Century Vectura slammed over!!! You have to get a wrasse moving and away from the snags as soon as possible but this was a really powerful fish! I held the rod up and let it absorb the lunges as the wrasse tried going left then right and thrashing the shallow water. Applying side strain to get the wrasse through the jap-weed I saw these huge lips surface and an enormous head, it was then I realised it was a belter of a wrasse. The power of the wrasse in close quarters was immense and I breathed a huge sigh of relief as I guided her over my landing net. Only as I lifted her out of the water did I realise the weight, Christ it's got to be 7lb I thought! Pulling the scales down to7.5lbs I was made up!!!!! Keeping her fresh and alive in a big rock pool between each photo, I couldn't get my hand around the wrist of the tail as it was enormous and it had really broad shoulders and that massive head. Such a beautiful wrasse and a new PB on the lures, watching her swim away was a great feeling. Go find some shallow, bouldery ground and give it a go- just hang on and have fun!!!"
Check out Del's fishing blog here.