The whole idea of deliberately targeting one of our finest saltwater species on soft plastic lures is really taking shape in my mind, and I will be the first to admit that what a bunch of very switched-on anglers over in Jersey are doing literally as we speak is really helping to inspire me. All credit to the guys for going out and working this stuff out. The first saltwater species I ever caught was a wrasse, and I have been in love with them ever since - too many anglers forget all about the huge amount of fun these fish can provide because they get too wrapped up in the "seriousness" of it all. I have caught my fair share on various lures when targeting pollack or bass, but I have never really gone out all guns blazing to deliberately go lure fishing mainly for wrasse. It just looks like huge fun to me..........(you will note that fun is an important word in my fishing. What's the point otherwise ?).
I can never forget watching Bruno of Ultimate Fishing stand on that exact rock back in October last year over in Ireland and nail a bass, pollack and then a wrasse in three casts, all on that insanely lethal soft plastic lure that is the (already legendary) 4.5inch MegaBass XLayer. Reassuringly costly, but you can't ignore the facts - they slay all kinds of fish on a regular basis. Note that Bruno is not using some kind of scaffold-pole of a wrasse rod (that I used to tend to do for a lot of my bait fishing until I "saw the light" and started having much more fun doing it with a spinning rod) - in his hands is nothing more than the sublime, "finesse" 7' Tenryu Injection (trying my best to resist, might be futile). A mix of real power and plenty of feel looks like me to be really important to maintain contact with your (fairly light) lure and also get the fish in.
Get yourself over to Keith White's excellent blog (here) and have a read through his recent posts especially - if you don't come away all fired up to have a go yourself then you must have been looking at something else !! Keith is going to be doing some specialist shore guiding as well this year, so you could do worse than booking the guy up and experiencing some of that fantastic fishing that the Channel Islands has to offer. If you don't believe me about the effectiveness of the XLayer, read through Keith's posts. The use of soft plastics is one huge learning curve and I am loving being on it........
You can now take this a step further if you want and register on the newish Lure Forum to check out a number of posts on there about what the Jersey guys are doing with wrasse fishing on soft plastics. There is a whole heap of info on there, as well as a bunch of lure fanatics who are always more than willing to help out. Bass might well be our principal lure species that we all spend a lot of time and effort on, but increasingly it seems that the "humble", hard-scrapping wrasse are becoming known as a legitimate species to chase with lures. The Lure forum and World Sea Fishing (WSF) are the two main saltwater-based forums that I would always advise anglers to check out if they are interested.
The three colours of MegaBass XLayers you can see above are proven bass-catchers, but have a look around and you will note that there is a load more patterns to be played around with. As with hard bass lures, surely it must be so much more to do with action than with colours ? I am coming around more and more to the opinion that colour is much more of an angler confidence thing than it is something of huge importance to the fish. You will notice that there is a little rattle chamber inside the tail of an XLayer and I do firmly believe that this does help with the lure's appeal. I wish I could give you a definitive "this is why this particular soft plastic is a killer" kind of statement, but I can't. They just work. But I have brought up the "noise a lure makes" issue again.
I see that the Jersey boys are really getting right in amongst the roughest ground and maintaining very direct contact with the bottom - where we all know that wrasse love to live. Some degree of gear loss must be inevitable, but you've got to in it to win it with wrasse fishing especially. If you do go fishing for them, firstly I wish you every bit of luck going, but more so I implore you never to kill any of these magnificent fish, however big a specimen you might manage to land. All wrasse should be safely returned to the water.