Free Rig Wrasse

First Ballan Wrasse of 2023 but it was far from easy on one of the smallest tides of the year.

In fact, as it turns out, yesterday was the smallest tidal range that I’ve logged a lure-caught fish of any species. Weirdly, it felt much more akin to fishing a reservoir where the wind direction dictates. And so it did yesterday. Without any real tide, the wind dictated the boat all day, regardless of which way the tide was flowing.

On the West to East ‘run’ it proved impossible to present a lure naturally enough to the wrasse, despite all my usual tricks. You can see the void in fish during the early afternoon.

When I did get bites I seemed to have another challenge. The water clarity was bad enough that I needed to choose a highly visible lure, but for whatever reason there was no interest at all in creaturebaits or bigger shads. So I was forced to use small lures in poor water clarity, which is always a tricky situation.

I landed upon the Illex Method Shad 2.8″ in Atomic Chicken colour, a bright red and orange colour scheme. I’m not sure I’ve ever caught a wrasse on it before. But for whatever reason, they wanted it yesterday.

All fish were between 27 and 37cm. No big fish. Only had a single, male-looking fish. Out of 13 fish, only three had the characteristic green metallic colouring of early season breeding fish.

Although it was a hard day, it felt good to break the code. At least the day ended well with multiple fish per drift. And more importantly, we’re off the starting line for 2023!