Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Species hunting adventures on Crete : Part 1.

At the start of October I had a two week holiday on the Greek island of Crete with my partner Lillian. Obviously some fishing tackle went with me and somehow I managed to squeeze in a few hours everyday. I took with me a selection of lures and in the morning on the first day I fished locally in the harbour where we were staying in Elounda. My tactics were very simple and mainly I fished Gulp! Angleworm on a drop shot rig. Small paddletails on jigheads were also employed too. Both methods caught fish.

The first spot I fished was Elounda Harbour. Drop shotting around the moored boats was quite productive.
I got bites from my first cast and it didn't take long to convert them into my first fish of the trip, a beautifully coloured painted comber. One of my "Most Wanted" species so a great start to the species hunt.
As well as the light blue spot on their flanks, painted combers also have nice facial markings too.

I would catch a few more of these. They are very aggressive and like to hide around rocks on the bottom. As well as taking the Gulp! they also loved small paddletails fished on jigheads jigged back along near the bottom quite quickly. Next up were a few seabream. I was using #10 Sabpolo Wormer hooks which I've been using a lot recently for targeting mini species and these small fine and very sharp hooks were great for their small mouths.

One of a few small annular seabream that I caught.

Moving around to the end of the harbour I switched to a small paddletail on a jighead and began casting it out. I caught another painted comber and popped it back in a shallow rocky area where it sulked around for a bit. Lillian was watching it when she spotted another fish sitting on a big flat rock which she pointed out to me. I recognised it as being a blenny straight away and quickly rigged up a simple split shot rig and put a small piece of Gulp! Angleworm on. Lowering it down the blenny had a few goes at it before being hooked. Quickly hoisted up I soon had my first new blenny species of the trip in my hand.

I was hoping to catch a tentacled blenny during my trip. I would discover that these rusty blennies are much more common.

In the afternoon Lillian and I headed over to the small island of Kalydon that lies to the east of Elounda via a narrow crossing that connects the two. Parking the car and climbing down onto the rocks in a sheltered bay Lillian relaxed whilst I fished for a couple of hours. Again fishing Gulp! Angleworm on a drop shot rig I got plenty of bites and caught a few more new species including a few lizardfish. These are quite common and can be found over sandy patches.

Lizardfish bury themselves in the sand and dart out to attack anything that moves. They have big mouths with lots of little teeth to grab their prey.
The shape of their head makes it easy to see where they get their name from.

The following day saw us drive south to Agios Nikolaos as Lillian wanted to go and find out about trips on a semi submarine. When we got there however we were told that due to the wind the trips wouldn't be running until the weekend so we had a walk around town. I stumbled across a fishmonger and bought a small bag of whole prawns to use as bait. We then headed to Lake Voulismeni, a small body of water surrounded by restaurants and connected to the outer harbour via a channel.

Known locally as simply "The Lake", Lake Voulismeni is reputedly 150ft deep in places. I cast out to see and discovered it was indeed very deep. Very snaggy too so I fished mainly in the shallow areas using a drop shot rig to avoid excessive tackle loses.

There were a lot of fish in the lake and in just over two hours I caught eleven species. I also spotted a solitary red mullet grubbing about on the bottom but couldn't tempt it despite it patrolling the area I was fishing several times before disappearing again. It was a lot of fun fishing there and being a popular tourist spot many people took interest in the fish I was catching particularly the colourful ones.

This lovely salema was my first fish from "The Lake".
Ornate wrasse are very common here and are very aggressive. They appear from under rocks and muscle their way past other species to get to your bait. This one is a male.
This slightly less colourful ornate wrasse is a female. Still very nice.

I love wrasse and ornate wrasse was another one of my six "Most Wanted" Mediterranean species so I was well chuffed to catch them if a bit surprised how common they were.

Well the first few short fishing sessions had been even better than I had anticipated, I was racking up the species and was thoroughly looking forward to trying new marks to see what else would turn up as the holiday progressed as well as trying to track down a few species in particular that I really wanted to catch.

1 comment:

  1. Thats a great report Scott with some really nice pictures of the fish..but then I've come to expect no less from your reports!