I took a friend of mine out fishing yesterday afternoon/evening - Mark has been fishing for years. He knows what he's doing, he happens to love a bit of wrasse fishing, but he's never caught or even seen a wrasse on soft plastics. Most of his wrassing is float fishing in gullies etc. Mark and I have spoken about it before, so we made a plan to get out on the rocks about two hours into the push - "no need to bring a thing Mark except for yourself. I have a rod, reel and a bunch of lures for you to use. Just turn up here at 3pm and we will go from there."
I happen to think that a bit of wrassing with lures is a lot of fun. Sure, if conditions were bouncing out there with these big tides when I would have been out bass fishing for sure, but I'll take this warm weather any day of the week, and I will forever fail to see how anybody who enjoys their lure fishing could not raise a smile or two at working soft plastics for wrasse. I really wanted to help Mark get started on it and then see how he might react with getting a few bites and hopefully catching his first wrasse on a lure.
I quickly showed Mark the basics of a Texas rig, how to rig a soft plastic on a weedless hook and then bury the hook point away, and I distinctly remember how alien this sort of hook is to an angler who has never used one before. I am fishing close to Mark so I can help him out easily enough, because the main thing is to get him fishing - he's an angler after all, and at the end of the day, bumping soft plastics along the bottom is hardly rocket science. A couple of minutes into it and Mark is fishing away perfectly happily.
And a few minutes later he is striking hard and bending into his first ever wrasse on a lure - cue a raft of beaming smiles at just how fun and direct the whole experience was. Sure, watching a float is mesmeric, but those wrasse bites on the lures that transmit through the rod and down your arm like a jolt of electricity - how much fun is that? I took a few snaps of a rather happy angler, we slipped the barbless hook out, returned the fish, and carried on smashing a few more. Does it get much better? I cannot tell you how made up I felt that I was able to take a friend out fishing, show him the basics of a "new to him" method, and then jump for joy at seeing a lifelong angler beaming with sheer, unbridled pleasure at catching a species of fish he has always bait fished for - but on a lure this time. No beachcaster, big reel and heavy leads. Just about makes my week that does.
Mark obviously asked how it came about that we were lure fishing for a species of fish that everybody used to bait fish for, and I told him a little about the two Jersey lads who I credit with discovering that wrasse are in fact very much a lure species. I have a sneaking suspicion that Mark might well be rather hooked on this way of catching them!! Sure, we had missed bites, fish cutting us off on sharp ledges, and the odd bit of gear loss, but I know Mark was taken aback at how efficiently he could fish for the wrasse by using lures, and I also remember myself at how freaky it is that a fish one has always used bait for has actually become this fish that we can fish for completely differently.
Holy frigging cow those Z-Man Scented CrabZ and Punch CrawZ are deadly for wrasse - I used them for the first time yesterday after my mate Del said he had been smashing silly numbers of wrasse on them over in the Isles of Scilly. Del reckons he had over thirty wrasse on the same Z-Man crabZ, which at the end of the session he then put back (undamaged) in the packet for the next time - do not mix these Z-Man plastics with other plastics as they start melting etc. These Z-Man things are one strange kind of material which doesn't make for easily burying the hook point away - but then I have a suspicion that their buoyancy helps prevent them snagging up very much as you bump them along the bottom.
I had a bunch of wrasse of a good average size yesterday that just absolutely nailed these things. I shall be purchasing a load more after my midday raid on Wadebridge last week!! I know The Art of Fishing and Absolute Fishing over in Ireland stock Z-Man stuff - and to those cynics out there who love to believe it's all one big conspiracy theory - well I am constantly asked where to buy certain things and I choose to try and help those people out if I can.