When fishing around rough ground such as rock and kelp one rig that I like to use is the Texas rig. This rig is made up by using a specially designed hook that lets you rig the lure in a certain way so that the hook point is lightly nicked into the top of the lure, making this rig what we call weedless. With the hook point being buried in the top of the lure, you can bring this rig through rough ground with the minimal chance of getting snagged up.
Although you can buy small weedless hooks that enable you to fish light like the size 8 Gamakatsu worm 325 micro game hook, I generally only fish weedless when targeting larger fish, meaning I generally use hooks around the 1 to 1/0 size. The main lures I like to use for wrasse and pollock are the Molix 4” Sligo or the Molix 4” Sator worm, both being a perfect size for rigging on this size hook.
The other thing to consider is how much or how little weight you want to add to the rig. You can use hooks with built in weights that are positioned on the shank of the hook such as the VMC drop dead weighted or the Berkley Fusion 19 weedless hook, or simply add your own weight such as a sliding worm weight that sits up to the eye of the hook. If your’re fishing over shallow ground with little wind or tidal flow, you can even fish this rig with no weight at all.
When I fish with this method, I always try to fish with a light a weight as possible. I slide a float stop onto my leader, which is normally made up of a 14lb rubbing flourocarbon around 3 foot long followed by a worm weight and then tie on the hook. Once the lure is rigged, I’ll let the weight sit up to the hook then slide the float stop to the weight so it pins it in position. At the other end of the leader I tie on a small swivel which clips onto a small lure clip that’s tied to my main line. I always make a few rigs up at home with different sized weights so it’s easy to change rigs if conditions alter.
I simply cast out and watch carefully as the rig sinks and as soon as it settles on the kelp I immediately start a slow retrieval by flicking, pausing, winding etc. I like to work the lure slowly as close as I can to the kelp, which is the reason I like to fish as light as possible as I don’t want the lure plunging through the kelp on the cast or retrieval. It also helps to use a bright braided mainline such as red or orange as it will help you see it sinking through the water column.
Bites are normally unmistakable. Wrasse and pollock generally hit the lures hard and try to dive back down into the rough stuff, so it’s imperative that you don’t have your clutch set too lightly or else before you know it the fish has got its head down into the kelp and trouble beckons. If bites aren’t forthcoming, don’t be afraid to alter the retrieval method or lure choice. Quite often a simple change of lure or colour can trigger a take. I prefer to use dark coloured lures such as brown, black and green although bright coloured lures such as yellow or orange can produce on the day.