Anglers Insight - Flats Wrasse BIcatch with Jake

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My name is Jake Reilly & I've spent my life savings on Tattoos. 

Born & Raised in Mackay, addicted to Flats Fishing & I swear more than you!

Oh and I'm 24.



FIRSTLY THESE FISH ARE A PROTECTIVE SPECIES SO YOU CANNOT ACTIVELY TARGET THEM. BUT BEING THE GREAT BARRIER REEF THEY ARE A VERY COMMON BICATCH, AND HERE'S HOW OT HANDLE AND CARE FOR THESE BEAUTIFUL CREATURES! 

Wrasse are such an iconic species and you seem to catch them regularly, what’s the hardest thing about chasing these fish?

100% the fight! They know how to run, where to run and they know where home is!

You've got to be quick on the engine or hook one in a very good spot to have a chance of stopping a bigger model. Even on PE 8 they still manage to dust you within seconds. The power coming off their tail is insane! 



What setups are you running for this species? Line, Leader, Rod, Reel, lure etc;

As you guys would know I run all of your rods haha! For chasing GT'S over flats I'm using the PE 8 Casting with Pe6 Nomad Pandora on a Saltiga 5500. The lure of choice more likely than not is the Death Wobble, the action is basically unbeatable for these fish. Which is generally the preferred lure of choice for Wrasse aswell! It's so natural yet easy to work, making fishing relatively, plus they sink fast enough to get close to where the Wrasse is holding.

Often Wrasse will eat your lure when other fish are chasing the lure down - it's like they show their dominance. 

Wrasse love eating small trout, so either the Trout, Orange or Black Shadow colour is what I've found works best!

I usually run 150lb shock leader for GT's which will stop these fish aswell! 


When you're approaching a flat what’s the first thing you look for?

I usually look for Reefs holding a sandy bottom with good current & must have clusters of 'plate coral'. I don't like fishing reef flats with Staghorn coral. 

Mainly the same structure your fishing for GT's is where these fish will hold aswell


Is there a technique to fighting these fish as you seem to regularly land them?

Haha, I do get smoked a lot - however, it's critical to make sure you're on the engine if a big wrasse eats. You can tell straight away it's not a GT just by the sound it makes! They're one of those Fish that know exactly where home is - we either try to drag the fish into a sand pocket or drive on top of it. And make sure you know how to grab a spool haha!

How important is boat positioning when chasing these flats species?

Very important, controlling the boat is crucial to landing one! You've got to be ready at any time. Ideally going fish for fish with someone always on the wheel, but we always get greedy haha. Always keep an eye on where your bombies are around each drift, The species that hang around this structure always know where home is so don't be putting your lure in bad places!


How do these fish fight once hooked?

It's absolutely chaotic, like a bus landing on the water then taking off like an F/A 18. The power of these fish is absolutely insane. They will pull a GT backwards in my opinion. 

How do you handle the fish? Are they quite tough or do you have to be quick with the release?

They're actually fairly resilient, however, we always rush the process to make sure they swim away. If taking a photo, have your gear readily available. We never try and hook this species but they are a very common bycatch up here so you just have to be quick with everything!

They're a no-take species so all fish must be released and cannot be targeted!

If there’s one piece of advice you would give someone starting out what would it be?

Haha, Spool Grab, High Stick & Free Spool if reefed. Oh and take a 10 pack of 120mm DeathWobbles, you'll burn through them!  

What’s your most memorable moment when chasing these fish?

Watching a 40+kg monster eat a DeathWobble boat-side & feeling the most insane amount of power I've felt on the reef flats. I fought the fish for about 20 seconds before it showed me who was boss! This is why I love these Fish!

 

Deathwobble Flats Jake Reilly Topwater Wrasse

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