Moody May Wrasse
For me catching Wrasse in May has never been that successful. I catch the odd fish or maybe several small fish but never feel really confident about catching in May. Maybe it’s my particular patch and those dreaded easterly winds that seem to have an adverse effect on it. Too many easterlies definitely unsettle the fish in my area. I think other areas where easterlies are offshore kick of sooner. Of late I have really been thinking about this. Several reasons come to mind but none I can prove. Spawning, preoccupation with naturals, the wrong kind of weed, May bloom, more suitable habitat in deeper water and the wrong wind direction might all be a factor. Maybe it’s a combination of all these things but my local marks can be unreliable at best. I really must start to record meteorological data more, maybe this would help me ascertain when is best or at least when not to go. The problem is it’s all up there in my head, but I’m not as sharp as I used to be and I generally go as and when I have chance. I just like to get out and smell the sea air at times. Let’s look into a few of these points. Spawning - when exactly do they spawn? There is little information on this other than it is usually early spring/summer. Does spawning deter them from attacking our lures? It may, or it could simply be the fact they become more localised whilst nest building. I sometimes think a yard out, is as good as a mile at this time of year. I suspect this is more the case, so location becomes even more important and accurate casting a must, therefore access to fish holding structure close in could help our accuracy. I catch a lot of fish at range and it is hard to always cast back to exactly the same spot when you have a side wind etc. I actually believe they become more aggressive when spawning. Other fish do whilst protecting their nests, so why not wrasse? I do seem to do better in deeper water at this time of year and wonder if the more favourable /stable water temperatures and conditions play a factor. I’m not talking really deep water but more marks with say 10ft or so over low water or at least deeper water very close by. Do fish relocate to more favourable areas when conditions are consistently unfavourable? I see no reason why this wouldn’t make sense, especially when you factor in May bloom, or the type of blanket weed we can get on the shallow marks at this time of year. If I turn up and see most of the bottom is covered in this type of weed I’m never confident. I just feel its not beneficial to the invertebrates etc that the Wrasse may feed on, it’s the “wrong kind of weed”, this of course might just be in my local area. It’s also harder for the fish to see/find our lures through this blanket of weed. I’ve tried floating lures on Carolina and Free rigs with some success, but not enough to think I have the answer. Sometimes I believe fish become preoccupied with an abundance of naturals. Just like Bass, I am sure they become preoccupied with the first large crab moult. Why wouldn’t they? Why take a lure when there is an abundance of juicy peeler crab about. I guess we could try and match the hatch but unless that lure actually looks and smells the same I can’t see them being that interested. There have been occasions when I can only catch using crab lures, but this has happened throughout the year and I feel is more to do with it being more realistic, much the same as an imitation prawn is. So what about the infamous May Bloom. It definitely has an adverse effect. I and a lot of anglers have never done well when it is about. Does it irritate the fish? Maybe it gets in their gills? I’ve heard it deoxygenates the water and some say it’s toxic? It can be patchy or form huge drifts, which prevent light from penetrating the water as easily, so I guess this may cause fish to move or hunker down. Wrasse can become preoccupied with lure colour at times. Blue or Black/Blue lures seem particularly effective at this time of year. Fishing lures of this colour can help, but are by no means the solution. I guess we might never know and our own marks may vary tremendously from season to season, but I have never found it easy on my patch in May. I guess I will keep trying to make sense of it all and select marks that are more favourable to the fish, rather than those I want to fish or have time to fish. I suspect as I live so close to the sea I will still attempt to catch even when conditions are far from ideal. I think this can do your head in, but generally makes you a better angler. Catching a small fish under difficult conditions is almost as satisfying. Who am I kidding I want some real lumps this year!