Baitdigger’s Blog author Neil reports:

Finally the fishing starts to pick up……which in a way is rubbing salt into the wound for me as I only have until around the 25th before I have to pack up the rods and leave these shores… but it seems that Clare wanted to give me a send off.

To many lure anglers wrasse are the last thing they want to catch but I love their bright colours and the aggressive way they rip soft plastics, they may not have the running stamina of the bass but the first few lunges back to their bolt hole is always impressive even in the little ones.

People talk about how slow bass are to mature but wrasse are equally slow-growing and as they are more territorial than bass can be wiped off marks by anglers very easily, especially by those who think the ocean is an ever stocked larder that will always be full no matter how often they plunder it.  Why people can’t grasp the basic fact that if you take all the small fish there will be no big fish defies me?  Or is it they just do not care.  When will people realise the seas are not ours to rape as we please, we are simply the guardians of it for generations yet to come and as I see it we are not doing a very good job.

Once a Mecca for wrasse in recent years their numbers have declined in North Clare and in order to find some I decided to target a mark that I hadn’t been to for a few years as it requires a treacherous walk down and a long walk back but this exertion was rewarded by pristine rockmarks where the only fish-hunters have fur, feather or fin.

In sweltering heat I picked my way down as close to sea-level as I could only to be greeted by the first sprinkles of rain which in no time at all sent me scurrying hobbit-like into a sea-cave.

Setting up with a Texas rigged sandeel slug on a 1/0 EWG gamakatsu worm hook a started working along the rocks, casting long but tight in and parallel with the shore.  I worked this method for a while, getting hits on most casts but unable to connect.  There were a couple of big rocks about thirty yard out so I cast to them  and got a few plucks.  On the second cast to the rocks I stopped the lure after the first pluck and the line went tight with a good fish, a very good fish which was putting a good bend in the rod and doing its best to drag me off my perch. When the fish was below me I could see it was a massive pollack, but how was I to get it up the twenty feet of open air.  I decided on the plain old hand lining it up but it was only a few feet from the top when the braid started cutting into my fingers and the 1/0 hook straightened the pollack slide back and with it taking my last good conditioned dirty silver sandeel slug. It would have been a personal best but we have all lost good fish!

Enough for that day.

Armed with the memory of the big fish I returned to the mark and started in the same spot but this time I put on a Sakura 14g jighead and the very last and much shortened dirty silver sandeel.

Well the following two hours can only be described as rock fishing lure magic, the first cast didn’t even have chance to settle, the line straightening before I had turned the handle of the reel.  All the pollack were extremely aggressive, feeding and fighting hard.

The first fish was around two pounds.

After a few similar fish I decided to try to rest the dirty silver lure and swapped it for the pearl white version which I have had little success. This changed when the white lure passed the big rocks and was slammed into by a much better fish.  Learning from my previous mistake I walked the fish around the fifty yards that formed the bay to a stepped area where I could climb down. rod in hand to land the fish. Still not a monster but a good five pounds! enough to keep anyone happy.

It was one of those red-letter days when everything I tried worked.  Either that or the pollack were exceptionally hungry!

I was finding the bigger fish at range but also I was getting smashed up and taken to ground more often at distance.  It can be hard to tell at first if it is a big fish or just a strong fighter but it did not take too long before I was all out of strong jigheads and had to revert to Texas rigging a 3/0.

I went through the full range of sandeel slugs, silver, pearl and blue then onto other stuff in my bag that had never produced before, tsunami stick baits that stink of aniseed and all manner of worm and eel imitations.

I had one wrasse on the surface but it was not hooked just clamped onto the tail of the lure so I tried to scale down and go with the green senkos but to no avail I could not get through the pollack.

And then around what according to the clock should have been high tide it just switched off. Dead. I was getting the odd hit but very few but I had landed around thirty fish! Two were very deeply hooked and I had to dispatch them and them home.

My braid was in tatters, my arm sore and my fingers raw from pulling the medium-sized fish I had not wanted to chance the rod tip with but did not want to walk the distance to land.  Back up the hill but now with an extra ten pounds of fish on my back.

Compliments of : Neil

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