Ballan Wrasse
Distribution:
The Ballan Wrasse is one of the few fish that can be found all around the irish coast that is still in abundance. Although this is definately one of the more beutiful fish in our waters it is certainly not a culinary fish in any sense. This tough hided fish is full of bones and does not have a good flavour and so has had no comercial pressure placed upon it. Very common on the west coast. Cork, Wicklow, Kerry, Dublin, Wexford, Claire and Mayo all see good fish each year. Particular Hotspots are around islands that have relatively no angling pressure. 
Habitat:
The Ballan Wrasse is a rock dweller. Anywhere there are boulders or under rocky cliffs, shallow wrecks or reefs will surely hold a few fish. The Wrasse is not a fussy fish and is not put off by shallow water at all. 10 ft of water is more than deep enough for these fish and 6-7lb fish can easily be taken quite close to the shore. The Wrasse loves to hide among kelp beds and jagged rocks where it can carve out a territory and lay its eggs. Wrasse are just as happy to live in water up to 100ft but as a general rule good fish will be taken in numbers in water 40-50ft deep. You will never find Wrasse over a flat sandy bottom.
Baits:
Theoreticly Wrasse feed upon mussles and razorfish and crabs. All these baits will catch fish but Ragworm for some reason seems to be the best bait. This is probably due to the fact that Ragworm like course gravelly sand around rocks that are uncovered when the tide gos out. The wrasse move into these areas as the water level begins to rise and so maybe they feed more on these than people realise rather that the stereotypical limpet/crab feeding theory although stangely enough fish will sometimes fall to sandeel suggesting that Wrasse have a more mixed diet than many anglers give them credit for. Wasse will also take small green crabs. Limpets have also been known to catch Wrasse. Keep your eyes open, what kind of bait is available where you are fishing?
Wrasse feed only in the daylight hours which suggests they hunt by sight. Coloured seas do not fish well for wrasse. However, during these times shellfish baits can be very productive as the fish are searching for molluscs broken in the storm. Wrasse tend to feed on the first two hours of the flooding tide  and then go on another killing spree around high water.  It is however worth noting that since Wrasse are best found around the bases of cliffs etc. that a strong tide run when bait fishing in a boat is not always such a wise idea. If the weather is in any way rough be on extra careful alert and always keep the boat at a constant safe distance. they are only fish after all and are not worth either your boat or more imprtantly, your life...
Tides and Weather:
Because of the type of terrain that wrasse inhabit, fishing for them in a boat can be quite precarious. Because of this reason a light uptide outfit is a good idea. if you anchor the boat close to a cliff, this tackle will allow you to cast over to where you figure the wrasse are lurking without you worying that the boat is drifting onto rocks. If you find this is resulting in too much tackle loss  another good method is to again anchor the boat near the chosen area and use a float. Your fish finder should give you a good indication of how deep the water is that you are in. Adjust the hook length even using more than one hook on the rig until you start taking fish aboard. Hitting multiple fish at the same time can really put your tackle to the test. Mount the hooks at different depths to find where the fish are feeding. The float allows you to use the current to cover more ground and take the bait into caves/cracks in the cliff face. A 12lb rod is great for wrasse as long as you use a rotten bottom setup in case of snags. When you can get away with it however, a simple paternoster rig will easily take fish. Try casting this rg very close to the rock face. Kelp will grow there and the wrasse patrol this area searcing for food.
Tactics:
Ballan Wrasse Profile
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