As a light game angler I have spent many hours studying the behaviour of such fish and many an hour having fun catching them, from the elusive Baillons Wrasse to the common Blenny, I have caught my fair share and I’d like to share a few of my findings and things I have picked up from other anglers along the way.
Many Mini species such as Corkwing Wrasse, Goldsinney Wrasse, Blennies, Gobies, Small bream etc favour similar types of habitat at times. A good rock and weed strewn bottom around rock or harbour structure will give you access to a large number of species which can soon see your tally go up quickly.
How many times I have witnessed people fishing close range from rocks and harbours and among snaggy ground with heavy and/or unbalanced tackle only to watch them constantly snag the bottom and have little success.
Using a light balanced set up, fishing light lines and light lures is actually a lot more forgiving even though it may sound alien.
For instance if I only need a 3g dropshot weight to get down and loosely hold bottom then that is exactly what I will use, a 3g weight will graze the bottom if moved and will not be so easily lodged in cracks and weed. Further more a light line and sensitive rod will allow you to feel the structure quickly and react accordingly, be it twitching your lure over a rock or pulling free of a waving patch of weed. Don’t move it too far though as that is where the fish are likely to be taking cover!
To bag up on mini species, there is little point fishing even a size 4 hook and a 2” lure, for the most part on this kind of thing I will choose a good fine wire size 10 like the Sabpolo Wormer hooks. These hooks are actually very well known to the bait guys and employed a lot in continental scratching rigs, they are light, sharp and pretty strong, I use them a lot for my dropshot rigs.
With this size hook a small lure no larger than 1.5” is needed. Many use a piece of Isome or Gulp but these types of lures are not so durable and are easily nicked by small-mouthed toothy fish, my personal choice is often an AquaWave Ami. AW Ami’s are 1.3” long and are super stretchy and durable, they are also real quality fish catchers too and I have caught scores of fish on these things before having to change one! If a fish grabs the end and not the hook they will often swim away with your isome or gulp, but not an Ami I can assure you, they will just stretch the lure a little yet when released the lure will retake its designed shape and remain enticing for another go that will hopefully result in a hook up, trust me try these lures!
Jigheads with small hooks are available but are often costly so I will often use a split shot rig or the super effective dropshot rig. Again Sabpolo Wormer hooks are not something I leave the house without and are used on both of these rigs.
I really do favour the dropshot rig as it is just a lovely presentation and is utterly versatile, as you can adjust the depth of your lure simply by reattaching the weight higher or lower on the trace if using a properly designed weight with a crimp swivel. The rig is also streamlined so a good cast can be achieved thus enabling you to cover a lot of ground.
No need to constantly twitch the rig with your rod either, do allow your lure to be static at times and trust the current to do some of the work for you, remember it is all about a natural presentation.
All fish do like falling prey as it becomes an easy target so whether fishing a jighead, splitshot rig or dropshot; do lift your rig occasionally and allow it to fall in a controlled manner. If a fish does not hit it on the drop allow the lure to sit static for a few seconds, a fish may have arrived to inspect your wares!
These tactics will also work over clean ground for a good number of species too; Turbot, Flounder, Weever, Dragonet and more.