LRF Species Hunt: Cornish Tips

Ahead of any Cornish Lure Festival Species Hunt it’s useful to know what to expect and where to head for. Our guide introduces you to some of the most productive Cornish LRF fishing marks.

LRF Wrasse

Hi everybody! By this time next week we’ll know who the 2016 Bass, LRF and Wrasse hunting champions are! While the bass and wrasse sections are more of a random expedition for most, the LRF Species Hunt is an intense and varied journey with competition fierce. Knowing the area can help, but a little bit of luck will always come in handy too. Josh Fletcher won the event with a total of 19 species last year, which is completely RIDICULOUS! 19 in 48 hours! All on lures! This year the potential for a couple more has been added to the table, with me separating Blenny species so that the much loved and slightly rarer Tompot has a higher, separate score.

So, I thought this year I’d try to help any anglers visiting the area in giving them a little bit of an idea as to where they may find some of these species around the county and maybe how to catch them. Obviously random species could turn up almost anywhere and my advice is just based on my own experiences. Hopefully this will give some of you an idea of areas to target if you need to catch certain fishies on an LRF species hunt.

Best if I keep it to a fairly simple list form:

Common Blenny

They like to hang about off the bottom, sticking themselves to the side of various harbour walls. Try places like Mevagissey (far right hand side of the outer wall, near the corner), Hayle (just over bridge where water runs in to the pool, hanging on wall on the seaward side) and Falmouth (along many of the town walls). They’re almost even easier to snare by wandering the rockpools though – north or south – because of the shallow depth and fact that you can sight fish for them more easily.

Recommended method: Split Shot rig. Marukyu Isome. Hold up against the wall (touching) – not on the bottom.

Tompot Blenny (my favourite LRF species)

Similar to above and one of my favourite LRF species, Tompots hang about around holes in rocky walls. Use slightly bigger lures than you would for the common fish. Not so many at Meva but Hayle and Falmouth will produce them. Rockpools certainly.

Recommended method: Split Shot rig. Marukyu Isome or EcogearAqua Straight. Hold up against the wall – not on the bottom.

Bream

Rare, but tiny Black Bream will show up in places like Fowey, Mevagissey and the general St Austell area. Near structure, but not right on it. Small lures. Couch’s Bream will show up very, very occasionally, again in places like Fowey and along this coast.

Recommended method: Dropshot rig so that bait is slightly off bottom. Tiny hook, Marukyu Isome or Ecogearaqua Aji Straight.

Dragonet

They like cruising over clean sand but you’ll catch them near to structure. Again, Mevagissey and Fowey, plus maybe Hayle (further towards the river mouth). They have tiny mouths so small pieces of Isome and #16’s best (like lots of these LRF species).

Recommended method: Split shot rig. Tiny hook, Marukyu Isome. Hard on bottom over sand.

Flatfish

The Fowey and Camel estuaries are both worth a look for Flounder. The Town Quay at Fowey is a popular spot. Plaice are in the Fowey too but like the deeper water further out. Turbot like the sandy beaches. Again I’d concentrate on the south coast, particularly along Whitsand Bay. The weird Topknot are different to all the others. They stick themselves to rocks and harbour walls so not only will you find the odd one in a rockpool, you’ll catch them mid water, against the walls at places like Mevagissey, Fowey and Falmouth.

Recommended method: Flounder & Plaice – Splitshot, dropshot or jighead. Slow moving bait bouncing bottom. Marukyu Isome of Ecogearaqua. Topknot – small jighead covering plenty of wal
l by regularly moving.

Garfish

Seem less common these days in some areas, but deeper water marks will be best. Around Rame Head in the south east always seems to hold a few though. Small metal jigs kept high in the water could potentially catch you one in almost any part of the county though.

Recommended method: Light casting jig fished near the surface.

Goby

Prolific little things. One of the harder places to catch them is actually Mevagissey, but you’ll find them generally close to or on the bottom around most harbours or rockpools. All species bar the Leopard Spotted version count as one (so don’t spend time on them once you’ve caught yours).

Recommended method: Split shot rig. Tiny hook. Marukyu Isome.

Gurnard

These will be more prolific as the year goes on. Fowey, Charlestown and the inside of Padstow harbour are known to throw them up though. Metal jigs will account for some on the first two while Isome at close quarters in Padstow have done the business in the past. This is however also worth trying around the floating pontoons in Fowey.

Recommended method: Casting jig for larger specimens, split shot rig and Isome for smaller versions.

Mackerel

They could be harder to catch than you’d hope. Still relatively few and far between at the moment for what should be an easy LRF species hunt target. Deeper water headlands like Newquay, Pentire, Rame and Trevose would be where I’d try though, along with Mevagissey harbour.

Recommended method: Casting jig. Cover lots of water.

Pollack

Again, like the Goby these are one of the two you should probably all find fairly prolific. They’re catchable on pretty much all of the usual spots. Headlands, harbours, almost everywhere. Deep water, rocks and weed usually help, but they’re everywhere.

Recommended method: Casting jig. Straight retrieve.

Poor Cod

They show a bit randomly but by far my most prolific spot is Mevagissey. Usually dragging a bait slowly along the bottom in the entrance to the harbour, casting from the left hand wall towards the right. That said, I had one last week down the wall on the right.

Recommended method: Dropshot rig. Slowly scraped along (just above) the bottom. Isome.

Mullet

They’re a tricky fish to tempt, but get a little lucky by dropping a bait on one’s nose and you might get lucky. Falmouth, Millbrook, Looe and Padstow are just a few spots to try.

Recommended method: Ultralight splitshot rig. Drop bait on one’s nose.

Sandeel

There were masses at Mevagissey last week. Mostly tiny though some come with tiny hooks. The odd better one among them. Tricky to catch though, it’s nice to know they’re around. Gorran Haven always with a look. Always easy to catch on north coast beaches like Harlyn or south of Porthcothan on calm days though.

Recommended method: Larger versions, tiny casting jig. Smaller ones, Carolina rig, tiny hook, Isome.

Scorpion Fish

A lover of rocky, weedy ground. They’re possible from the walls in Fowey, Newlyn, Mevagissey and the like. You’ll find this LRF species in rockpools too, especially on the north coast.

Recommended method: Jighead or split shot rig. Marukyu Isome scraping bottom.

Scad

Fowey is one spot for there. There are some really small ones to be had inside Padstow harbour too. Fish under the lights from dusk and in to dark.

Recommended method: Jighead. Small soft plastic lure.

Smelt

These show around most of the county’s harbours. They’ll begin to show as dusk nears and you’ll catch them around the lights.

Recommended method: Carolina rig, tiny hook, Isome.

Weaver Fish

Lovers of shallow, sandy areas. Hayle estuary and St Ives are two prolific places worth trying. Charlestown too. They’re tiny, mostly.

Recommended method: Larger versions, tiny casting jig. Smaller ones, Dropshot rig, tiny hook, Isome.

Ballan Wrasse

Along numerous south coast rocky marks you’ll find these. Smaller ones around harbours like Mevagissey. The rocks around the mouth of the Fowey estuary are popular too. There are loads and loads of rocky marks where you might pick one up though. The area around Tintagel on the north coast is one that is very much less explored than many of the south coast spots, but you would catch plenty of fish of varying species up there.

Recommended method: Jighead. Ecogearaqua or 2″ soft plastic.

Goldsinney & Corkwing Wrasse

From an LRF species hunt point of view you quite often find these two in similar places. Most of the rockier, weedier harbours hold both. Definitely try the north wall at Hayle, especially around the end. Mevagissey used to hold more than it does now, but they’re still there. Both like a moving bait – smaller for the Goldsinney.

Recommended method: Goldsinney – dropshot, Isome. Keep it slowly moving. Corkwing – tiny jighead, small SP or Aqua.

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Now, obviously there are stacks more to go at than that, but the truth is that a lot will (hopefully) show up almost randomly while you’re on your travels. Certainly there will be other places not listed that you may catch some of these species too. This is just an idea of where I’d be heading if I was fishing it myself.

It’s worth bearing in mind that we have the Marukyu Isome Challenge happening in Fowey on the Saturday evening (July 2nd from 6.30pm) so this is a good chance to fish down there. To make the most of the LRF species tally, you’ll likely need to pick yourself 3 or 4 venues to fish over the weekend. Maybe more if you feel like it.

I hope this helps! As an aside, there’s 10% OFF EVERYTHING at The Art of Fishing on the Friday sign-in day so hopefully I’ll see some of you there!!!

Click this link to view our full range of LRF tackle.

Ben