Ballans on the coast

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Combe Martin SAC member Ross Stanway caught this stunning wrasse of 3lb 7.5oz on a recent trip to a ¬†North Devon Rock Mark. Big wrasse have become harder to find in recent years. During the 1980’s wrasse of over 5lb were a regular feature in fishing competitions. It is unclear why the population of these beautifully marked fish have declined. They are caught in large numbers and shipped to Scotland for use in fish farms where they control the sea lice that infest the salmon but I am not aware of a large number being taken from the North Devon coast.

ROCK DWELLING WRASSE

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Andrew Parish used King ragworm purchased at Braunton Bait Box to tempt this handsome ballan wrasse from a mark near Combe Martin. Ballan wrasse were plentiful along the North Devon coast during the 1980’s but catches have not been as good over recent seasons. A contributory factor could be that less anglers target the species these days as they tend to reside in among thick kelp and rock that deters some anglers. It would be great to see some pictures of these fine fish. Crab baits were always favourite for the bigger specimens though king ragworm was always a great bait for numbers of fish. Recent developments have seen wrasse targeted with great success using lures a method that is perhaps underused in North Devon?

Andrew Parish
Andrew Parish