Some of you reading this may think that its strange to target small fish but, on light gear, small wrasse put up a great account of themselves and it can be quite an achievement to catch the rarer and more elusive wrasse species.
We set up on the side of a small gully and dropped down light weights and size 8 hooks loaded with small sections of rag worm into the weed.
It wasn't long before the tips of our 5-30g lure rods were rattling and soon enough we had a few Ballan Wrasse, Labrus bergylta, and Corkwing Wrasse, Symphodus melops, between us - the more common Wrasse species.
After a few more between us i managed to connect with a small bite and after a spirited fight a golden coloured wrasse flanked with electric blue scales and fins emerged from the kelp lined gully..... A Rock Cook Wrasse, Centrolabrus exoletus! These little wrasse are incredibly beautiful and elusive so catching one made my day. They are not often caught on rod and line due to their small size and when caught are often confused with a small Corkwing Wrasse due to the similar facial markings and patterns.
Time to try and catch one of the other possible wrasse species.... bites dried up so i moved 20 meters down the gully in the hope to find a Goldsinney or a Cuckoo Wrasse. Sure enough a Goldsinney Wrasse, Ctenolabrus rupestris, found the bait quickly followed by two others. Another pretty small wrasse species not often caught due to their small size. As with all wrasse species they are equipped with an impressive set of teeth for munching up crustaceans, molluscs and worms along with the odd small fish.
It was nearly time to go and it was looking likely that we wet rent going to catch a Cuckoo Wrasse when Hollys' final bite of the day yielded this lovely female Cuckoo Wrasse, Labrus mixtus!
Not quite as stunning as a male Cuckoo Wrasse (photos below) but a welcome sight bringing our total Wrasse species count to 5 - quite an achievement for a few hours fishing in one gully! Its not often i get to photograph the rarer species so i was happy to be able to get some nice photos of the Rock Cook and the Goldsinneys.
Goldsinnney wrasse can sometimes be confused with female Cuckoo Wrasse. A comparative photo is shown below to show the visual differences between the two species.
A fun few hours fishing at one of the most stunning places in Cornwall and nice to see that the local wrasse population is still intact after the winter storms. Its not often you get to see 5 Wrasse species in the same day! Im still after the rare Baillons Wrasse, Symphodus bailloni, and the extremely rare Scale-Rayed Wrasse, Acantholabrus palloni.... one day they will show up!
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