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We were talking yesterday about wrasse bites.

Kevin White has already used the description "SOS" bite for smaller wrasse pecking at a lure. And a lot of the guys fishing for wrasse on lures reckon they can tell the size of a fish by its bite. Pecks and nibbles and also lures being attacked near the waters edge (see Keith White's post on tag team wrassing) do seem to involve smaller fish. It seems that modern tackle is letting us tell the difference.

Whatever the size of fish, there do not seem to be any sail away runs without any prior indication whatsoever, as can happen with some other species. All wrasse seem to snap or peck at the lure initially.

OK so a lot of wrasse bites, even those rattling the rod tip, can be missed, but the bites of those being hooked still seems to be proportionate to their size.

Curiously, the bigger bites are just as (if not more) missable than the smaller ones. You'd think a bigger fish would get hold of a lure better than a smaller fish wouldn't you? These things are more infuriating than mullet at times.

So anyway, with that first peck at the lure giving you a good indication of the size of the fish, the bites we are all looking for are the ones that feel like someone has just hit the lure with a hammer. So powerful that you are too surprised to strike (in time), your knees knock and you pray that the fish will bite again...

Then, if you are lucky and hook up, the great thing about any fish over a pound or two is the way it seems to stay immobile for a second as if it is trying to work out what is going on, then goes nuts. And straight to the nearest hole/boulder/snag usually.

I was wondering if this momentary stop was genuinely because a lot of these wrasse might not have been caught before? We are certainly fishing the odd spot that doesn't get much bait fishing pressure, if any at all.

Does the strike put them off balance*, or are their reactions sluggish? Err, I don't think so. No, I genuinely think they are surprised. A small fish they have just crunched is pulling them in the opposite direction.

So next time you hook into a solid weight and it doesn't move immediately, hold tight. It could be the wrasse of a lifetime.

I'd be interested to hear if anyone else has noticed this delay syndrome in bigger fish and/or has any theory as to what is happening.

*We have noticed that a lot of wrasse seem to have a balance problem after a hard fight, even if unhooking is very quick. Is there a connection? Do they get dizzy? Or is that just me LOL!
 

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Very well put Paul there is usually a second where i think the fish and the angler don't know whats going on!

they both work it out pretty sharpish though.
 

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Trying to stay with heavier gear to target bigger Rockfish to photograph has led to swarms of bites confusing the big picture.
I totally de-sensitised to bites later today and missed 2 bigger fish bites that went 'thump'.

Loads of LRF pigs around, endless bites.

Do we risk the lighter gear ?
 

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Today was the first trip where we only tried for wrasse, nothing else. We normally try and mix it up a bit and swap from one to the other, but today was total wraase of softies. We didnt get any monsters but hey, Bob did have a nice one to the surface that the hook came out of, looked 3lb at least. anyhoo, I did notice that the bigger fish, possibly 2lb, did seem to pick the lure up and mouth it a bit, well thats what it felt like, it is hard to feel things and guess whats going on down there. There seemed to be one good thump, then another....tempted to strike....then a slow pull down that feels like you have snagged weed (remember we were drifting away from the fish here), I would try and give line to keep the lure where it is, feel the slightest pull and then I was striking. It didnt feel a million miles away to how I used to fish for wrasse with crabs from the shore, you must let them feel they have won and can make off ith the lure, then strike and set the hook. Now this may be totally contrary to what Keith, Kev, Paul, Callum etal have ben experiencing from the shore, but it was defo the way I noticed i was conection with more fish. I suppose we had about 10 today, bon temps.
 

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There is a difference in bites ****. It might feel different from the boat but I think you have the general frustration nailed down.
I've never had so many bites whilst lure fishing. It's crazy.

We might risk a scale down later today... water is so gin clean that the fish are following in teams then hovering around like it's alien or something.

We've caught a number of Wrasse but gameplan is to 'try' to get some bigger and more colour variety.

As to giving them leeway ****: In an ideal situation we do indeed throw a tiny amount of slack in after feeling the bigger fish bump (If your arm isn't already bent) but, we are fishing so IN the boulders it's scary. Too much leeway = hooked fish but lodged fish. It's happened before and it will happen again... LOL
 

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I had noticed a slight delay as well but different to you lot I have had more on a swimming bait than a static shaky presentation though I have missed a lot of rattles and thumps on the pause and shake I put it dwn to too big a bait/hook rather than not striking quick enough? I'm still to bait angler minded with rockies I think, waiting for them to move off like they do after the initial rattle on a hard crab.
 

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Great read Paul, it will be good when we can suss out a Wrasse mark over here in South West Wales and have a go :-D
 

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We were talking yesterday about wrasse bites.

Kevin White has already used the description "SOS" bite for smaller wrasse pecking at a lure. And a lot of the guys fishing for wrasse on lures reckon they can tell the size of a fish by its bite. Pecks and nibbles and also lures being attacked near the waters edge (see Keith White's post on tag team wrassing) do seem to involve smaller fish. It seems that modern tackle is letting us tell the difference.

Whatever the size of fish, there do not seem to be any sail away runs without any prior indication whatsoever, as can happen with some other species. All wrasse seem to snap or peck at the lure initially.

OK so a lot of wrasse bites, even those rattling the rod tip, can be missed, but the bites of those being hooked still seems to be proportionate to their size.

Curiously, the bigger bites are just as (if not more) missable than the smaller ones. You'd think a bigger fish would get hold of a lure better than a smaller fish wouldn't you? These things are more infuriating than mullet at times.

So anyway, with that first peck at the lure giving you a good indication of the size of the fish, the bites we are all looking for are the ones that feel like someone has just hit the lure with a hammer. So powerful that you are too surprised to strike (in time), your knees knock and you pray that the fish will bite again...

Then, if you are lucky and hook up, the great thing about any fish over a pound or two is the way it seems to stay immobile for a second as if it is trying to work out what is going on, then goes nuts. And straight to the nearest hole/boulder/snag usually.

I was wondering if this momentary stop was genuinely because a lot of these wrasse might not have been caught before? We are certainly fishing the odd spot that doesn't get much bait fishing pressure, if any at all.

Does the strike put them off balance*, or are their reactions sluggish? Err, I don't think so. No, I genuinely think they are surprised. A small fish they have just crunched is pulling them in the opposite direction.

So next time you hook into a solid weight and it doesn't move immediately, hold tight. It could be the wrasse of a lifetime.

I'd be interested to hear if anyone else has noticed this delay syndrome in bigger fish and/or has any theory as to what is happening.

*We have noticed that a lot of wrasse seem to have a balance problem after a hard fight, even if unhooking is very quick. Is there a connection? Do they get dizzy? Or is that just me LOL!
Only just read this by searching through the HRF archive.

A great post Paul. The bit you say here "I'd be interested to hear if anyone else has noticed this delay syndrome in bigger fish and/or has any theory as to what is happening." is spot on and we were saying this only the other day. When Ben hooked into his bigger wrasse it stayed firm and deep for a brief time before doing almost anything! However once he got it moving it didn't half go!

I think what you say about surprise/shock sounds about right. One minute your munching a small meal and the next your being horsed in by some chavs in red coats ;)

I also find it hard to tell from a bite what size the fish could be. Even when we were fishing for bass, we noticed that the smallest pull, could turn into a decent fish. With wrasse though, since only straight retriving for them, I've noticed that I'm not getting those taps and bites anywhere near as much and its usually a hook up from first contact. I'm not saying that I'm catching more fish, just means the bite to hook-up ratio is greater? Does that make sense?

Say before I would chuck an x-layer down and deadstick and shaky and get plucks and taps and this would, on some sessions happen most casts and i'd catch 3 or 4 fish (if lucky ;) ). Well now I just cast out and reel in. As a result I get less bites but when I get the bites (I think because my baits moving) I usually get the fish!?

Oh dear, I'm confusing myself now. I'll try and explain this better when I next see you, if it doesn't make sense.
 

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Very interesting reading a wrasse that i bagged at night a month or o ago now had the pause on take. I thought i had snagged a rock! Then suddenly i though hang on rocks dont swin away from you!! So yep i will go with a surprise of what the hell has just happened?
 

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agree with Richie. I hook way more fish on a slow retrieve than I do with a shakey style.
I am really surprised at this, I would have though a drop shot style would be best, it is very similar to how we would fish with crabs. But in all fairness when Bob and I were trying for the wrasse from the boat we never caught any when in slack water or on the anchor, we caught way more whenthe boat was drifting and we were litterally dragging the lures behind us over the bottom or weed. So thinking about it I agree, a moving bait has seemed better for me (ah, just thought, young Lukes wrasse was caught when wiggling, not moving....DOH!!) Bloody fish they dont play by the rules!
 

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I said hook more, not bigger ;)

Tend to get quite a few smaller ones and maybe a still approach is better for the big boys. i've not had a big one on the lure yet...
 

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I'm not saying shaky and deadstick doesn't work by the way. Its a preference thing really. I use to get so frustrated with getting loads of taps and bites but not as many hook up. So now I use a constant retrieve and hook up what bites (usually) haha :)

That being said, I heard of the wrasse you and your friends have caught **** so your obviously doing it right! Fishings, fishing at the end of the day. Who knows what fish want! Might even give the grab ago soon for a laugh ;)
 

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Andy, Ritchie - when you bring your lures in on the slow retrieve what weight jig head do you normally use, or do you go weedless (with/without cone head??).

Also, is it your intention to retrieve it whilst still maintaining some sort of contact with the bottom (sounds like a recipe for losing lures??) or do you try & keep it just above bottom (how would you know that you're just above the bottom - cast out, hit bottom & then lift your lure up slightly & apply a constant, slow retrieve??) or do you come up further & retrieve the lure kind of mid water?

I maybe guessing here but I would have thought its the second option??

Edit - another thing I've just thought of is that isn't an xlayer on a straight retrieve a bit lifeless or do the ribs on the side send out some kind of vibration. I was thinking that to get the rattle inside the x layer to work you'd have to drop it or impart some kind of vibration on it?? Are there certain types of lure that are better used on a straight retrieve & others that are better used sink & draw/shakey style/deadstick (whatever that means lol)?
 

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When Luke & I were out with Paul at the recent Jersey Fest, Luke was nailing all of his by fishing tight to the bottom with an Xlayer. He puts long pauses in, utilises the 'Shakey' method, and was getting straight into the fish (he also has an uncanny knack of getting out of snags - sometimes aided by a Wrasse :p). When Luke gets snagged, he actually sees it as a positive :shock:, as he has had Wrasse get him out of snags on quite a few occassions !!!

I nailed a couple using that method, but also had a couple using a slow retrieve with a 4" Paddle-Tail. With a rod like the Infeet you are able to 'feel' how close you are to the bottom, and even though i was fishing over boulders, i would say that i was generally within a foot of the bottom, bouncing over boulders, and certainly wasnt ever mid-water. You will still lose a few rigs using this method, but the more you do it, the more you become in-tune with the ground you are fishing over, and you can actually feel whether you are bumping into rock, weed, kelp, etc . . . .
 

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Cheers Simon. For the methods that you described (yours & Lukes) were your lures weighted e.g. jighead, weedless + conehead, shakey head etc etc, or does that just depend on the terrain/water you're fishing?
 

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Cheers Simon. For the methods that you described (yours & Lukes) were your lures weighted e.g. jighead, weedless + conehead, shakey head etc etc, or does that just depend on the terrain/water you're fishing?

We've done all of our Wrasse fishing using Jig Heads. I like the Jig Power ones from **** http://www.mrfishjersey.com/jigheads/jig-power.html they are reasonably priced & good quality. We fish as light as conditions will allow. Out in jersey recently, we were using 3g & 5g heads. Any heavier & it takes you down into the snags too quickly. You can fish them weedless also, but we havent tended to do that so far.
 
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