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Offline JV

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Ballan Bonkers!
« on: May 07, 2012, 07:38:41 PM »
Here is our Spotlight article for May 2012

Ballan Bonkers!

Ballan wrasse are found all around the rocky shorelines of the UK and Ireland during the warmer months of April to October.  A good ballan is a fish over 3lb in weight with a 5lb’er a real specimen. Wrasse offer exciting fishing which can often be hectic and challenging!  They’re a favourite fish of mine due to their fighting qualities.

A lovely coloured wrasse from North Wales.



Most of the best wrasse fishing around our shores is found in remote, tackle hungry areas that require a bit of effort to get to.

Wrasse are slow growing fish and tend to be found in the same area most of the time. With this fact in mind it’s no surprise that wrasse holding marks can be quickly cleaned out of fish. My advice is to put all wrasse back for other anglers to enjoy.

The best areas for wrasse are deep water, heavy kelp, rock marks, with steep or near vertical drops into the sea. The more remote and under fished places will often hold specimen size ballan wrasse.



How to catch ballan wrasse.

I use a bass rod combined with a fixed spool that's loaded with 40lb braid. I’ve found the Daiwa supercast bass combined with a shimano 8000 reel perfect for big wrasse fishing. Often a long slightly pokey rod helps when dropping baits in close in. I rarely fish with a heavy rock type rod as most wrasse I catch are within 20ft of sheer cliff edges, lighter rods and reels are more sporting.

Find those Ballans close in!



Tackle that is light but sturdy is required to get the best out of wrasse fishing.  I call Ballan Wrasse the pitbulls of the sea due to the fact that they fight well beyond their weight!



Bait: Peeler crab is best by far but ragworm, lugworm and prawn will take fish.  From the south west coast big wrasse will take hard back crabs and even shads but it’s not a bait or method I’ve ever caught anything on up north.

Peeler crab is best for Ballan Wrasse



Terminal Tackle

There are three methods that I use with the first being the simplest and best.

1 ounce drilled bullet and hook method.

Simplicity itself, basically slide a 1 ounce drilled bullet onto your braid or mono and then tie on a 3/o sakuma manta hook. Pic below:



Bait up with peeler crab, ragworm or prawn and drop into a likely looking wrasse holding area. It’s possible to induce bites by moving the bait about every so often and into different water depths until you find where fish are feeding. The great thing about this method is there’s nothing to snag up with when you connect to a fish. My top choice when fishing into deep calm water.

Float fishing:

Float fishing is best on calm days. For  ballan wrasse, set your bait close to the bottom and just above the kelp fronds.

To set up your float:

1: bead onto mainline, 2: float onto mainline, 3: drilled bullet (that’s the correct weight to cock the float) onto mainline, 4: Tie on your swivel.

5: At this point I drop the float in and out of the water and adjust the stop knot  (elastic band, knotted on my mainline) up or down as required until the float begins to cock upright in the water and the bait and hook when tied on will be down deep, around 15ft of the bottom is perfect.

6: Tie 3ft of clear mono in 40lb to the swivel and then to the 3/0 sakuma manta extra hook, add your bait and start fishing.

Top of pic to bottom: Elastic band to tie around your mainline as a stop knot, power gum is also ideal. Bead, float, drilled bullet, swivel, 3ft of 40lb clear mono (not in pic) to connect the hook to the swivel. Finally my choice of hook a 3/0 sakuma manta extra.



I prefer the heavier type floats with drilled bullets to 2 ounces in weight, they are just easier to cast and to see. 3/0 sakuma manta extras are a great choice of hook, they are strong and the largish hook size helps in avoiding hooking unwanted small fish.

A bite is signalled when the float is pulled quickly under water and once it begins to disappear into the depths wind into the fish. A very exciting and addictive way to catch!

The third and final method to use is a simple paternoster made with the help of a three way swivel. Pic below:



I tie a knotted 30lb short length of mono from the bottom of the swivel to the weight as a heavy rotten bottom, if you use too light a line as a rotten bottom weak link every weight will be lost!

I rarely use more than a 3 ounce weight for wrasse fishing as they are cheaper to lose and easier to carry than more expensive heavier weights.

A 2 ft, 50lb clear mono hook trace from the middle of the three way swivel to hook is my choice. Connect mainline which can be as heavy as 60lb braid or mono if you wish to the top of the three way swivel. A heavy mainline reduces tackle and fish loss but doesn’t deter hungry wrasse!

Ballan Wrasse from Eyemouth in Scotland



Ive had wrasse to just under 6lb and loads around 4lb to these methods, places to try are the rocky areas in South East Scotland, West coast of Scotland, Wales. Ireland, Cornwall and Devon.

Beautiful and hard fighting fish that deserve all anglers respect!



I hope you put my methods into practice someday and they help you catch that monster wrasse. Tightlines, David.
"For we are the Vikings tamers of the deep" Check out my blog http://viking-valhalla.blogspot.co.uk/

Offline BrianJ

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Re: Ballan Bonkers!
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2012, 03:01:43 PM »
Great report Dave & some fantastic info.
Never caught a wrasse but will be trying your methods out this year to catch my first wrasse.
I will only be out for a couple of hours pet.

AnglingBuddy

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Re: Ballan Bonkers!
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2012, 07:25:12 PM »
nice lil write up dave and top info  http://smileys.on-my-web.com/r

Offline Dave

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Re: Ballan Bonkers!
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2012, 09:36:19 PM »
great info dave, never really targeted wrasse on light gear before, will have to give it a go cheers

col

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Re: Ballan Bonkers!
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2012, 10:26:31 PM »
canny write up dave,theres a few of them around sunderland/whitburn areas,and just out of reach of the shore anglers at hendon over the rough ground aswell as the marks you mention.
Ive found that ragworm will more often than not,outfish crab baits in the eyemouth area for some reason tho ;)

Offline ELTEL

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Re: Ballan Bonkers!
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2014, 08:54:31 PM »
Dave your going to have to give me a piggy back down next year to some of those marks mate

Offline Bob C

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Re: Ballan Bonkers!
« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2014, 11:31:56 AM »
Can you Piggy back 2 of us Dave lol. Great write up that will get juices flowing & folk wishing s|pring was here. smiley32 .cool.

Offline JV

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Re: Ballan Bonkers!
« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2014, 01:08:14 PM »
Haha bob if only. ..I fo wish it was wrassing time though. ..thos cod thing is bah humbug! !!
"For we are the Vikings tamers of the deep" Check out my blog http://viking-valhalla.blogspot.co.uk/

Offline fishingmark

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Re: Ballan Bonkers!
« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2014, 04:29:53 PM »
Also a small thing to add, never write off black lug as a bait for wrasse. I've had some cracking results with it this year both float fished and ledgered.

Offline ELTEL

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Re: Ballan Bonkers!
« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2014, 04:47:47 PM »
Haha bob if only. ..I fo wish it was wrassing time though. ..thos cod thing is bah humbug! !!
yeh dave once I have had a few of those coddies out then I start wishing it was summer again also

 

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