(Labrus Bergylta)

Wrasse are found predominantly around the west coast of the British Isles and around Ireland, although it is not uncommon to find them in the English Channel. They tend to prefer to stay close in to shore and are found in the largest numbers close to rocky protrusions and high cliffs. Wrasse are found in a variety of colours, dictated to a large degree by their environment. These colours can range from very dark brown through to red and bronze but their underside always remains a pale cream. The diet of the wrasse consists of shellfish, including mussels and limpets which they prize from rocks using sharp, pin-like teeth. The jaws are very powerful, and the rubbery Iips and sharp teeth are designed for tearing shellfish from rock faces. The peg-like front teeth are bright white in colour and are only used for tearing. The wrasse grinds its food down with a set of pharyngeal teeth located further back in the mouth. The Ballan Wrasse the largest and most common fish of the wrasse family.

Where To Find Them

Widespread in the British Isles. Bigger specimens are found on the west coast of Britain around the Scillies and Channel Islands. South Cornwall and the south-western coast of Ireland also offer specimen-sized ballans. Larger fish are often found in deep water close to rocky overhang and where rocks walk away steeply under the water. In the cover of thick kelp they can feed at leisure on small crustaceans, such as crabs and lobsters. Smaller wrasse are often caught from breakwater walls and piers. Alderney in the Channel Islands is famous for producing big wrasse.

When To Find Them

April through to October.

Natural Food and Best Baits

Limpets, common mussels, velvet-swimming crabs, other crustaceans and molluscs.

Tips and Tactics

Try float fishing or legering a small, hard backed shore crab for instant results. Look under the rocks and weed near to where you are fishing for crabs about one inch across.

UK Records

Shore: 9lb 1oz

Boat: 9lb 7oz