Tackle and Tactics
Mike Ladle


Information Page.

Wrasse rarity.

Ben, my grandson, has been desperate to go fishing down at the coast and at last the weather gave us a reasonable chance. It was a calm, warm afternoon and my local tackle shop had a few ragworm left so we bought a quid's worth, tackled up and set off. We walked down to Pondfield, a small, rocky, kelpy bay. After a quick scramble onto the rocks we were ready for action. We had one bait rod (Ben's) armed with 4kg nylon, a single size 6 hook, a couple of shot and a small split cork for a float. The tide was out so the weed was only a metre or so benath the surface. We baited up with a piece of worm, set the depth of the cork at about a metre and Ben swung his tackle into a hole in the kelp.

After no more than a minute the float dipped and shot under and he was into his first fish - a small ballan wrasse. We unhooked the fish, took a picture and put the fish in a handy tidal pool so Ben cold examine it at his leisure. To cut a long story short the next hour (our allotted fishing time) was a constant cycle of baiting up, casting out and landing, missing or losing wrasse. The fish were mostly modest ballans and big corkwings but about ten minutes into the session Ben reeled in one of the smallest fish that we caught, clearly a wrasse but it looked a bit different. The mouth was tiny, the body was a beautiful golden brown colour and the throat was marked with irridescent blue streaks - amazing. Ben was chuffed when I told him that the fish was a rock cook wrasse - a species which is very local and not often seen. Also it was quite a big specimen. All in all the fish that we caught (and we had a lot) were, in terms of colour and patterns, quite the equal of any tropical species. I expect that we'll be going wrassing again as soon as the fates allow it.

If you have any comments or questions about fish, methods, tactics or 'what have you.'get in touch with me by sending an E-MAIL to - docladle@hotmail.com

Ben's ballan.

No monster but these fish pull hard and are quite tricky to keep out of the kelp on the light gear when they get to this size. Look at that turquoise mouth.'


The mahogany and gold colouration of a ballan is a sight to behold.  Ben said 'fantastic!' when he saw this one.'


The brightly coloured network pattern on the throat of a corkwing is characteristic.'

Rock cook.

Only a tiny fish but strikingly different. How did it get the hook into that tiny mouth?'

Close up.

We thought that the contrasting irridescent blue lines were spectacular.  When he saw this Ben started asking about how he might set up an aquarium to keep wrasse at home.'