Monday, 13 February 2012


Sundays day off found me jumping on one of  the Bryher Boats jet boats to make the short journey to the island of Bryher to test the wrasse potential. If you were designing the perfect place for wrasse, it has allready been done!! Possibly the most outrageously ideal habitat is to be found on Bryher and none more so than Hell Bay.

Above is a shot of Hell Bay, as you can see there are boulders EVERYWHERE not to mention deep holes EVERYWHERE and shallow kelpy gullies EVERYWHERE, rocky points with sandy patches that just scream wrasse. PERFECT wrasse ground hey !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It took all of ten minutes to walk from church quay, I was rather keen to get out there and found myself running down the hills like an excited child!!!!!

I decided as the tides werent perfect(ebbing tide) that I would fish the shallow marks first and work north with the reteating tide finding abit more depth the closer I got towards Shipman Head at the top of the map as the day went by. I had arranged to meet Neil at Shipman Head where we would try for a pollack as the tide turned meaning an hour fishing before I would have to head back for my ride home.

I had just recieved another fantastic parcel of goodies from Andy at Jackslrf and was very eager to try them out.

Above are the Jacks Own 3.5'' Tube, in both orange/brown and green, the Yoshikawa 4.25'' Superworm in watermellon and the Jacks baby crawfish patterns again in green, they all look fantastic and in my favourite wrasse colours I was sure would they would nail the fish. I also brought along if bites were hard to come by the Jacks Baby Hog.

With their many tenticles even the most curious wrasse would be hard not to have a munch at one of these bad boys. Minimal movement would get these lures going and get nailed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As usual I rigged them up texas style to a 1/0 Worm hook, followed by a 7g cone lead. Distance casting is not a major concern as you will find the wrasse anywhere and everywhere, even just under your feet. I cast out towards a submerged boulder the size of a transit van and bang, fish on!! Had to battle and give her plenty of stick to stop her going to ground the wrasse was safely netted, weighed and returned. A good start with her going 3lbs.

This continued, I had certainly found a good sport, an hour and 18 fish later a move was needed due to the gulley virtually having no water in it!. I wanted to cover as much ground as possible, so a yomp back up the rocks and a move 200 yards north to a huge beautiful rocky gulley. Got to be fish here I thought..........

The tide was rapidly ebbing by now but there was still a good 15 to 20ft in the gulley so it should hold a good head of wrasse. I couldnt believe just how many fish were there, wrasse after wrasse came out, to each and every lure I chucked at them. I had wrasse follow the lures to the surface and watched in amazement as one wrasse was adamant his lunch wasnt going to escape him and literally surfed a wave at my feet to grab the hog. It was so shallow when it hit the lure that it could only have been in 5 inches of water, one greedy wrasse of 3.10lbs!!!

I had another 36 fish out of the gulley before time to move again to meet up with Neil. As I strolled along the coast path I couldnt resist having a couple of casts in a real boulder field, it looked soooooo wrassey and bang, it certainly was.....

This fish fought like a demon, but nothing compared to what I hooked the following cast. You know instantly when you hook a brute as it gives no ''tap tap'' just BANG hits you so hard that it shakes you!! Well that is what happened, this was certainly a much much bigger fish and felt as if I was attached to a rottweiller tearing left then right left again heading to all the snags it could. I managed to get it to the surface, it was easy 6lb plus, when disaster struck. The swell had picked up with the water levels dropping when a wave picked up the fish as I was trying to net it, grating the braid on the barnacles and ping- GUTTED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I had a couple more casts in the vague hope of connecting with it again but to no avail so it was time to meet up with Neil for our sortie to Shipman Head. The pollack usually are plentiful from the end of the Head congregating here at low water before following the flood tide down into Tresco Channel. I switched to 9'' Jacks Nojo Serpent in a black colour while Neil rigged up a Slug-go on a 14g lead head. The tide was just starting to push so out went the lures, Neil got hit straight away on the drop and I got bumped, again OTD. Probably small pollack we both commented as I drew the net under his 3.5lb fish.

Sport wasnt exactly fast and furious with the bigger fish absent, just 8 pollack mostly all around the 2-3lb mark. I wasnt the only person to get busted up by a better fish as Neil was slowly reeling what he imagined was another small fish when all hell broke loose as it neared the base of the rock, diving into the thick kelp below us. Clearly a much better fish which again was lost, story of our day it seemed!!! I tried a couple of sneaky casts across the area in which it dived only to find even more wrasse....................................

This one tipping the scales at 4.6, a nice fish but not the chosen target!!! Sadly it was time to head back to the quay and the boat home. Looking back it was an awesome days fishing, over 60 wrasse and 8 pollack, in February! The day was topped off with 8 porpoises herding up a shoal of baitfish(is it really only feb??????)only 100 yards from us. Ok so we didnt manage to land the better fish but we will be heading back to Bryher and Hell Bay to do battle in round 2. Like the headline for this post said,

HELL BAY, MORE LIKE WRASSE HEAVEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  1. F**k me Del sounds like a dream session ...really enjoying these posts ...I must get over there at some stage seem's like wrasse heaven
    Keep up the good work


  2. Cheers Jay, certainly does seem like a wrasse heaven here! havin such a blast learning all the time and havin fun in the process. We have sooooooo many other islands to explore and none have been fished properly aswell...........................

  3. What a seriously amazing day Del! Am so chuffed the lures worked so well for you mate and I trust they'll continue to do so as the year progresses.

  4. Great blog again del,
    ohh blimey, 3 years of holidays to bryher and I have only fished hell bay once (aiming for pollack), what a prat I am for missing that one. not sure why I always dismissed it (quite often it is un-fishable as you say), I think I had it in my head that wrasse prefer more sheltered areas, I find they don't tend to like too much current, so I thought massive waves probably wouldn't be their favourite place either. how wrong I was. shipmans head is an interesting one, I always look at it longingly (wanting to hit the pollack) but I have never managed to get on to it (big gully bit cutting me off), can you only get to it at low water?

    1. hi there chris, dont be mad with yourself just make sure that when u r over next time to fish it then. It really does live up to its name of hell bay doesnt it! me and neil have been waiting since december to get out to it and fish it properly. blooding waves and swell making it impossible until the short session we managed. the pollack fishing off the end can be mental! neil has had them to double figures and one time had 6 fish over 6lbs in consecutive casts, crazy hey!!! u can only get to the end of shipman head just before low water on spring tides, there r a serious of boulders to the left of the gulley u speak about that u hop over to reach the head. it only gives u a couple of hours MAXIMUM before u get cut off though!!!!!!!!!!!

      Hope to see you out this way sometime soon mate, cheers Del

    2. Thanks for the reply Del, and for the tip about shipmans head, i will remember to come on spring tides next time. i would love to get a decent pollack, biggest I've had on Bryher is about 2.5lb. it was the lack of pollack that turned me to target wrasse, I used the same lures just with lighter weights over shallow rather than deep ground and boom fish everywhere.
      have you tried Samson yet? might be worth a go ;) I think I might well have been the first person to ever target wrasse on Sp on Samson lol. the most mental hours fishing of my life. :)