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Corkwing Wrasse, Symphodus melops

Irish Record Fish: not recognised
Caught: not recognised
Boat Specimen: not recognised
Shore Specimen: not recognised
Photo Credit:

Johnny Jensen

Introduction: The Corkwing Wrasse is another small highly coloured wrasse, caught occassionally along the south east coasts.  As with all wrasse it is the males of the species that display the strongest most vibrant colours. A corkwing wrasse is a real rarity and well worth a photograph for posterity.  They do occassionally shoal in small numbers over a preferred territiory but your best bet is from Wicklow around to Waterford.

Boat tactics: Wrasse typically live off mussels and other shellfish.  Their powerful mouths are crammed full of strong and sharp teeth - not a place for an unwary finger.  Wrasse will not take artificial lures but anything organic is on the menu!  Corkwing Wrasse are relatively small fish so the hooks are generally around or below the 1/0 mark.  Due to their perferred habitat the rig is often far stronger than the fish itself warrants... 

Shore tactics: Wrasse have a remarkable knack for sucking worms off the hooks so a swinging boom will give better bite detection and allow immediate changes to the depth of the bait presentation.  To stop them sucking off the bait, a bit of squid or mackerel behind the hook barb will hold the worm in place.  Although float fishing for wrasse is a favoured technique, Corkwing Wrasse will only be encountered on the offshore reefs. A Corkwing Wrasse taken from the shore would be a remarkable achievement, with none reported so far...