MY FAVOURITE WRASSE LURES AND HOW I FISH THEM - PART 1 - SENKOS, PIN TAILS/BULB TAILS & NEDS
Thought it was time to detail my favourite wrasse lures. These lures i trust implicitly and over time have built confidence in. Some are readily available, but others you will need to trawl the internet for. I am always trying new lures and testing them against my current favourites. They all catch fish and not anglers. They are the lures that i use and how i use them; but i am sure there are plenty of others i haven't discovered or the same lures that others use differently?
Most lures that we buy off the shelf are not designed for wrasse fishing; more than likely they have been designed for fish without teeth, such as Perch and Bass. Many are derived for the American and Japanese lure fishing markets, but they are generally good lures for wrasse.
The problem with a lot of these lures is the plastic is too soft and gets pulled/bitten apart by Wrasse. Usually larger wrasse engulf our lures, where as smaller fish tend to bite and nibble them. We can overcome this ourselves by using smaller 3 - 4 inch baits that wrasse find easier to get into their mouths and bite less. There are times though where i wish to use a longer, thinner more supple lure. I'm afraid it is then a case of either buying lures made of Elaztech such as the Zman range or finding a lure where the benefits outweigh the cost.
Now we know the difficulties of sourcing a good lure where does this leave us? Well the lures that follow are those that i have complete faith in and find are worth any expense incurred. I will break them down into various profiles and explain how i fish them.
When i first started lure fishing for wrasse the most readily available lure was the humble Senko. It's such a versatile lure. It comes in a wide variety of colours and most lure manufactures have it in their line up. When targeting Ballan Wrasse we will be using 3 - 5 inch Senkos. The most famous and the original Senko was made by Garry Yamamoto and you will find none better. They are however expensive and difficult to source. They are very supple and can be easily bitten in two by wrasse. If money is no object then by all means use these as they are the best. I particularly like his Pink 3in Senko. It has caught me many a wrasse and i am sure it will continue to do so.
Fig 1: A wrasse caught on a Pink Senko fished on a Texas rig. I find these particularly good in milky water or winter.
Here in the UK i tend to plump for AGM Stick Worms www.agmdiscountfishing.co.uk . Although called Stick Worms they are in fact Senkos. They are very economically priced and are soft enough to give a good action, but tough enough to withstand the attentions of Wrasse. They come in a wide variety of colours, more than enough to suit our needs. A particular favourite of mine is watermelon/chartruese; it has caught me more wrasse than any other, but all the usual colours work. Some particular favourites are Emerald Sparkle, Junebug and Natural Craw. They do not however supply a pink Stick Worm, so i'm afraid you will have to trawl Ebay, AliExpress or the internet for these.
How to fish Senkos for Wrasse:
I find them best fished on a Texas rig. I can then rattle, drag or hop them back towards me. You can Neko rig, Wacky rig or even Weedless Weightless rig them. All traditional rigs work but i find myself using the Texas Rig 95% of the time. During the winter a lot of the weed dies back exposing the rocks, boulders and crevices more, this can cause you to loose lots of gear and make it at times un-fishable. It is then i turn to the Chicken rig, dreamt up by the great Gary Yamamoto. The rig involves screwing a weight into the head of the bait (as you would the Neko rig) but instead of nicking the hook into the side of the bait you thread the hook as you would when Texas rigging, but in this case start further down the Senko. As the head is heavy it stands tail up, thus giving a vertical presentation and enabling you to bounce it over the bottom. Unlike the Texas rig your weight will not snag on/in the rocks. It's a rig for flipping and pitching around at short range. Bites are harder to hook but at least you are fishing more effectively.
Fig 2: The Chicken rig showing the weight in the head end and the way the hook is threaded. The line exits about 2/3rds of the way up the Senko, leaving the tail to wave about provocatively. I have used a standard EWG hook here, but prefer a weedless worm hook. In this case i have a jewellery bead on the shank for a rattle and a screw is used for a weight.
PIN TAILS & BULB TAILS
Keitech Sexy Impacts: These are my absolute favourite wrasse lures. The pin tail on the end of the bait vibrates around with the slightest of movements driving the fish mad.They also have a wonderful squid scent that wrasse seem to adore. If you hold them upright in your hand you will see that that pin tail never stops moving, so you can imagine any movement on our part or that of the current/swell will only exaggerate this effect. They are my banker lure and i have complete confidence in them.
Maxcatch Pin Tails: You can buy these lures from Optimumoutdoorstore on ebay here: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/313381570811?hash=item48f6ff48fb:g:ZoQAAOSwCdhgAKr-
In this case they are a rip off of the Keitech Sexy Impacts. I do at times feel guilty about buying copies but sometimes there are other colours available which might be more suitable for wrasse. I particularly like the Dark Green, Black Grey and Deep Red colours. They really are fantastic lures.
Both the Keitech and Maxcatch lures are superb, if i am not getting bites on them the fish are either not there or not in the mood! They are that good. The only exception to this being when they want a creature bait such as a crab or prawn imitation, but this is very rare.
Zman Fattyz: They are a big wrasse bait and catch big fish. As they are made of Elastech they do not get bitten off and are super buoyant. Colour wise look for Black Blue Flake, Junebug, Watermelon, Green Pumpkin, Green Pumpkin/Orange and the Deal. To be honest they all work. They are not a bait i use all the time but if i think there is a big old rock pig around they are very often employed.
Rooneys Fishing Supplies produce a 5.25inch Bulb Tail that is a great lure for Big Wrasse but for every day fishing it's a bit big. Find them here: https://www.rooneysfishingsupplies.co.uk/product-page/5-25inch-fluro-orange-fire-tail .This isn't really a problem as i just bite off the top inch and mount as usual. This produces a perfect sized Wrasse bait and like the Fattyz they have a hook recess in them. They come in a wide variety of colours. I particularly like the Fluro Orange Fire Tails, as they seem to drive Wrasse mad. Fish them the same as you would a FattyZ. When buying from Rooney's quote code CA10 for 10% discount on all soft plastics.
How to fish Pin Tails/Bulbtails: I like to fish them on all the usual rigs. The Texas rig works a treat as does the Free Rig but if the ground is not too rough i love the Cheb as it gives free movement to the bait allowing it to stand up, waft around and at the same time allowing us to have good contact with the weight, thus enabling us to shake it in place. This is a particularly good tactic in winter when the fish are less active due to cold water temperatures. You can shake the bait or leave it in place and allow the current to move the bait for you, at times this can be the only thing that works.
Fig 3: Rooneys Fishing Supplies 5.25inch Fluro Orange Firetail
For the purpose of this article we will define a Ned lure as a short straight/semi tapered, buoyant or floating stick bait.
Rooney's Fishing Supplies 3" Ned Lures: Well if you've followed my YouTube channel over the last 12 months you can't have failed to notice i have developed a love for these lures. They are just such a fish catcher. I have caught on almost all the colours but my favourites so far are have been the Ned Black Glitter, Glitter Tartan and Pink Black Core Shot. I still have many to try though. They are just a perfect size wrasse lure. Not too thick and not too skinny, with a tail who's wiggle wrasse can't resist. I have caught up to 8 fish on one lure which also makes them a very cost effective bait. What more can i say, buy some.
https://www.rooneysfishingsupplies.co.uk/3inch-ned Use code CA10 for 10% off all soft plastics
Fig 4: A 3.5lb Wrasse caught on a Rooney Fishing Supplies Glitter Tartan Ned.
Zman Big TRD: It's a classic Ned lure and super buoyant. If you are after big fish try the Big TRD, which is 4" long. This is the one i tend to favour but you would be surprised how many decent sized wrasse get caught on the standard size 2.5" version. The colours i favour are Black/Blue, Bubble Gut, Bubble Gum, California Craw, Copper Chartreuse, Green Pumpkin Orange and the Deal. There are so many to choose from and it really gives you room to experiment. Great lures, great material and cheaper than they used to be.
How to fish Ned Lures: Great on Texas and Cheb rigs. I love to rattle these lures with little hops and pauses. If they are buoyant enough they can be particularly effective on a Cheb rig, especially when using one of the larger eyed EWG hooks from Gurza or Crazy Fish. The combination allows the Ned to stand up thus looking like a worm burrowing into the bottom. Fish love this presentation.
Well i hope that helps you to decide which lures to buy. In part 2 we will cover Craws, Beaver baits, Tubes, Hula Stickz and Ticklerz.