Last weekend I met up with an old friend of mine, local retired diver Mac Mace over on the island of Byryher to discuss an assault on a wreck he used to regularly dive. This particular wreck was home to many large wrasse and one in particular, believed to weigh in excess of double figures - WRASSEZILLA!!!!
If it was still around, god only knows how big it would be, certainly a record that's for sure!!!
Mac knew this fish well and used to hand feed it whole 3'' edible and shore crabs that it used to swallow in one! Divers used to think it was a grouper as wrasse were never that BIG, but this brute was and its habitat is the reason why. Over time the sides of the wreck had fallen in and the various decks had dropped leaving 2-4ft between each one. In the event of bad weather the wrasse could hold up in the various lowered decks which stretched 50 yards or so and be perfectly safe and enable them to grow to such large sizes! The wreck lays in 50ft of water, swept by strong tides meaning that only around slack water would the wrasse be out and around the wreck and this would make them a realistic target on soft plastics. The rest of the time Mac said the wrasse would be right in the wreck, ambushing any prey that swam past. They would dart out, grab the unsuspecting blenny, goby etc and shoot back into their holes. This would mean we would literally get the one chance to drag them out and away from the wreckage before they realised - ambitious, HELL YEAH!!
As we made our way out to the mark, the fog that has surrounded the islands for far too long finally started to clear and that funny thing called the sun appeared we hoped it meant a good sign! The tide was pretty slack so an old rock that would act as our anchor was lowered uptide of the wreckage and we payed out rope to position us in our chosen spot, directly over the wreck. This would let us alter our position with the tide and still fish the exact spot. Game on, lures were dropped down, I chose the old faithful wrasse tastic jacks lrf Hogs coupled with a 10g cone weight and flicked it 10 yards down tide. It hadnt even reached the bottom when the braid started to come off the spool quicker meaning something had picked up the lure on the drop. Bail arm closed I reeled in the slack until I felt the weight of the fish which tried its hardest to head for the wreck giving my new toy, a sparkly 7ft 6'' Major Craft Crostage a serious work out. (lovely rod which I will talk about more after some more testing)
After several dives and a spirited scrap up surfaced a nice pollack of 5lbs.
Not what I was expecting but great fun nevertheless! I cast out again and the same thing happened with a fish taking the lure on the drop, this was a much better fish that did me into the wreck on its first dive! A switch to the heavier Sakura Shinjin rated 15-50g that I had brought along I decided to go all out for the pollack seeing as it was alive with them down there! I chose a SavaGear Sandeel Slug mounted on a 14g jig head and flicked it out again, what happened next was mental with pollack after pollack crash diving into the lures. These were all of a good stamp with fish from 6lb to 10lbs on every drop and the best bit was as the water was only 50ft deep they not only scrapped unbelievably well but they all went back alive without their swim bladders bursting!!!!
These were the lures that did the damage today, 7.5'' Slug-Gos - 16.5cm SavaGear Sandeel Slug-14cm SavaGear Sandeel Slug.
I got busted up by some serious fish on a couple of occasions and had a beauty to the boat that was a good 12lbs before I made a school boy error and lost it-ARSE!! Mac was well impressed as he had never seen pollacking like it with the light rods and soft plastics and I may have converted him!!
As the tide had virtually stopped it was back to the task in hand and try and get THAT wrasse out. Switching back to the Major Craft Crostage I tried many lures but everytime I hooked a wrasse they dived straight back into their underground hideaway and bust me up on the sharp wreckage. I finally managed to get a couple of fish out up to 3lbs. Sadly Mac was faring the same as me, the wrasse would bolt straight away and he lost a couple of incredibly powerful fish that gave him no chance. Thankfully he did get a couple of larger ones out up to 4.5lbs but not the monster that we were after sadly.
So its back to the drawing board as to how we are going to get old WRASSEZILLA out from its home. We will be back thats for sure, trying a few different things to entice it away from the wreck such as heavy groundbaiting 20 yards uptide with old crushed crabs so that we stand a much better chance of landing this beast. Failing that its going to be time to break out the heavy boat rods and drag the bugger out!!! Mind you thats if we can get through the outstanding pollack that also inhabit the wreck!!
Until next time...................