This week – wrestling with wrasse....

It still seems a little quiet on the fish front and as if everyone is holding their breath waiting for the summer species to arrive.

I would expect mackerel to appear as early as the next two weeks, but certainly by mid to late May.

It is worth putting out a float now to try for an early garfish, or indeed for pollack from the coast rock marks. Don’t forget, as a general rule, set your float shallow for gars – three to five feet is good – and deeper for pollack, anything from midwater to the bottom.

Bideford’s recent 24 hour roving competition saw Andy Clements take first and second places, top spot going to his thornback ray of 7lb 8 ¾ ounces, while second was a rockling of 1lb 2 ½.

Nathan Clements took third with a dogfish of 2lb 1 ¾, but the placings could have been different.

A certain person who should have taken first with a 1lb 6 rockling unfortunately fell asleep while waiting to go to the weigh in and didn’t wake up in time…

If you can stay awake, the increasingly good water clarity should lend itself to a spot of wrasse fishing from North Devon rock marks.

Floatfished ragworm is an excellent method and great fun as these hard fighting fish try and make a break for their boltholes in the kelp.

Ledgering is likely to pick out the larger specimens though and I’ve found nothing tempts a wrasse better than a live hardback shore crab. They are easy to collect, either by setting a prawn trap or by turning over weed and stones at low tide – but please remember to replace the rocks as you find them.

Peeler crab is another good, but time consuming or expensive, option.

I simply use a three-way swivel with a 30lb trace and wide gape 2/0 or 3/0 hook, tying a weaker ‘rotten bottom’ link for the lead.

Don’t forget, if you have any catch reports, pictures or questions, email me at the address below.