Friday, September 26, 2014

With a little help from my friends.

On Monday night I was in two minds about where to go go fishing on Tuesday. It was either a day's fly casting practice with the chance of a tiger or golden trout, or a return to Burntisland for another attempt at catching a Yarrell's blenny. In the end I did what all good anglers do, I asked my mate Lee to decide for me and a session in saltwater was the result. Checking the tides I noted that high water was at about half past three. Perfect for a lazy sod like myself so after a lie in I grabbed my gear and headed over the Forth Road Bridge, arriving at the harbour at about noon.

Walking around to the spot I was going to fish I was surprised to find it already taken, but pleasantly so as it turned out to be Col, the angler who had recently caught a Yarrell's blenny there inspiring my own attempts. Sitting down next to him I quickly rigged up an Angleworm on a drop shot rig. It was nice to have some company but as we chatted away it quickly became apparent that whatever fish that were down below us were not really in the mood, gently nibbling away and proving difficult to hook. We persisted with our lures for a short while but soon both decided to switch to some bait. Col had some worms with him that he had dug in the morning and I had a few raw prawns. This switch didn't seem to produce many more bites but they were a bit more aggressive and I caught a small coalfish. The conversation soon turned to Yarrell's blenny and we were discussing my chances of catching one. Were they a species that live a solitary existence? Was there possibly a small group of them resident in the harbour? Maybe they only moved into the harbour to breed at this time of year? As we exchanged our thoughts Col was next to catch a fish and low and behold it was the one we were talking about. 

Col's second Yarrell's blenny from Burntisland Harbour. 

I was very excited to see this strange looking blenny in the flesh for the first time. It has an odd looking head with interesting structures on top of it as well as on the first two rays of its dorsal fin. I reasoned that Col catching two from the same spot meant that I had a pretty good chance of getting one too. I carried on fishing around the same area and then caught a couple of goldsinny wrasse. The second one had some unusual dark flecks on it. 

I've seen this type of "peppering" on a few long spined sea scorpions before but never on a wrasse. 

Things were still quite slow though and Col decided to try fishing over the back of the harbour wall to see if he could catch a ballan wrasse. I certainly wasn't moving from Yarrell's corner though! Pretty soon Col's rod had a nice bend in it and he was soon catching a few ballans. I wasn't getting many bites but when I finally got a positive one I managed to connect with it and soon had a huge smile on my face after quickly swinging a little pink and brown blenny up the harbour wall and into my hand.

My first Yarrell's blenny. A rather funky little fish.
In case you are wondering why it's called Yarrell's blenny, this is the Victorian naturalist William Yarrell who first identified the blenny and named it after himself.

I was over the moon and shouted over to Col to let him know, popped the fish back and then joined him up on the harbour wall. By now he had caught a few more ballans and landed a corkwing just as I climbed up beside him.

Col really likes corkwings. Who can blame him they are pretty fish.
Corkwing wrasse really like ragworm. Who can blame them they taste amazing!

Pretty soon I caught a few fish too. A ballan wrasse was followed by a couple of long spined sea scorpions and a couple of goldsinny wrasse.

I wish I had visited Burntisland earlier in the year for a few more of these.
A specimen long spined sea scorpion. 
This goldsinny wrasse had a nice golden mark on its flank.

As high tide came and went things went very quiet so we started fishing inside the harbour again. The action was almost non existent though so after a while I called it a day and left Col who kept fishing away. It had been a very enjoyable day in his company and I was very grateful that he had discovered Yarrell's corner and shared that information on his blog.

On the way home I popped into Leith Docks for an hour or so. It's normally a fairly grim place but the area opposite me was brightened up by a ship, a crane and a few other things.

Who said Leith Docks was fairly grim? Oh, I did. 

Keen to see what the murky water might throw up I went with an Angleworm on a drop shot rig. Casting it out and slowly working it back I soon caught a few chunky little coalfish.

Leith Docks are full of these little plump coalfish. 

That was all I caught with no surprises turning up but having caught a new blenny species earlier in the day I couldn't have really cared less! Once again a massive thanks to Col for sharing his original capture, giving me additional info and showing me how to catch one in person. Thanks to Lee too for being decisive when I was dithering. Finally thanks to William for discovering the species and giving it such an imaginative name...

Tight lines, Scott.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Ling time no see.

When my mate Ad asked me if I fancied a weekend staying in Oban and fishing a few spots nearby I reluctantly had to tell him I wouldn't be able to. Having used up all my holidays at work I couldn't book the time off unfortunately. I did however agree to drive through and spend a day with him, his girlfriend Katie and his mates William and Martyn fishing on Loch Etive and on Sunday I drove through early to do so. Arriving at the small stone jetty before they did I spent thirty minutes or so with my ultra light gear trying to tempt the rising trout with a small lure fished on a jighead.

A misty morning on Loch Etive.

I didn't manage to catch any of the trout that were splashing about but did manage a few coalfish and a codling before everyone arrived, we got everything loaded onto the two boats we had hired for the day and headed out onto the loch.

A bit of fun on ultra light tackle before the main event kicked off.

I was in a slightly bigger boat with Ad and Katie and William and Marytn were in the other boat. First off we tied up to some buoys in Airds bay and it didn't take us long to start catching a few spurdogs and dogfish on luminous hokkais and muppets baited with mackerel and squid.


The smallest spurdog I've caught.

This good start didn't last long however and it went very quiet after an hour so we headed north up the loch and tried a few spots there. Drifting near the quarry Ad caught a grey gurnard but apart from that there wasn't much happening.

Gurnards are pretty cool fish.

My one little target for the trip was to try and catch a ling so we drifted over a rocky area where Ad was sure there would be some having caught some there on a previous visit. After a few drifts over the areawith not much happening I eventually felt a few knocks and wound in hooking the fish responsible. I suspected it was a cod but when it came into view I realised I had got lucky.

It had been a couple of years since I last caught one so I was quite chuffed to catch this small ling.

That was it for a while though apart from the odd mackerel which we kept for bait. The afternoon was very slow indeed and despite moving around we just couldn't seem to find any fish. Heading back to where we caught the spurdogs in the morning William and Martyn caught a few grey gurnards and a poor cod. With our time running out we decided to drift in the middle of Airds Bay.

We were all hopeful of catching a few more fish before we had to head back in.

Things remained quiet until William and Martyn drifted over a pack of feeding spurdogs and seeing them boat a few of them we quickly headed over closer to where they were to get in on the action. We ended up catching about a dozen between us.

All of them were quite small but it was nice to end the day with a few of them.

The last one I caught was very small so I stupidly let my guard down and tried to handle it with one hand, only gripping it behind the head. It promptly did a manoeuvre similar to the one a dogfish normally does given the opportunity, wrapping itself round my arm and moving backward, driving its second dorsal spike into my arm, tearing a small but rather deep little gash into my wrist in the process. Just as well it was time to head in as I couldn't stop it bleeding.

 Ouch! Having now experienced what the dorsal spine of a small spurdog is capable of I thought about what a larger fish could potentially do if not handled carefully. As a result I now have an increased amount of respect for them.

Back on dry land and with my wound soon patched up I said goodbye to Ad, Katie, William and Martyn as they headed back to their hostel. I decided to visit a nearby pier for an hour or so to target gobies before driving home. The last time I fished their I caught one that I didn't quite recognise but accidentally dropped it back into the water before I could get a photograph so I was keen to see what might turn up. When I got to the pier the sun was getting quite low and what little wind there had been dropped off making the loch look quite nice.

The remains of an old pier. A snaggy home to many mini species no doubt.
This part of the pier is still in use and the sandy loch floor next to it contains lots of small gobies.

Using a split shot rig, a #18 hook and a tiny piece of Angleworm I had soon caught a dozen gobies but they were all the sand variety. Tying on a jighead I turned my attention to the trout that were once again splashing around as the sun began to set. As with the morning session the resident coalfish were much more obliging and a single pouting also took my lure. 

I think this was my first pouting from Loch Etive.

The sun had soon gone, it was getting a bit cold and with a 120 mile drive to make I called time on a good day's fishing. It was nice to catch up with Ad again and join his fishing party for the day. The fishing may have been slow in the afternoon but it was nice to catch a few spurdogs and a ling, adding another species to this year's tally, especially as it's one that I hadn't caught for a while. I've been invited to do some cod fishing up around Aberdeen with Ad over the winter and I think I'll almost certainly take him up on his offer. Something else to look forward to.

Tight lines, Scott. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Cloudy with a chance of Yarrell's blenny.

With the recent change in the weather seemingly signalling the end of what has been a great summer my mind is starting to think about getting through another winter. Winter is not a season I particularly enjoy. It's obviously not pleasant fishing in the cold but unlike some anglers who down tools and complain about not being able to fish, I do try to make the most of what opportunities are available and fish all year round. This normally means a shift from saltwater to freshwater. Anyway, my mood was buoyed the other day when I took a look at Streamside Diary to find that fellow blogger Col had caught a Yarrell's blenny whilst fishing in Burntisland Harbour. They say chasing fish is usually not a good thing but blennies are territorial and usual where there is one there are more so on Wednesday off I went to try an emulate Col's catch.  

Burntisland Harbour. Like many Scottish harbours it is sadly pretty run down with several areas shut off including an old condemned wooden pier that is slowly rotting away.

Col kindly gave me very specific details about where he had caught the little pink fish so I fished in a fairly small area. A drop shot rig incorporating a #18 hook and a small section of Gulp! Angleworm was lowered down and it didn't take too long for my rod tip to start rattling away as the resident mini species attacked it. First to get hooked was a blenny but not the rarely caught one I was after. This was followed by a second, a goldsinny wrasse and a couple of small coalfish. 

A common blenny. Aptly named as they are very common indeed and loose all control when presented with most things on a hook. I was hopeful his cousin would be around and have a similarly ravenous/aggressive nature. 
My first ever goldsinny wrasse from Scotland's East Coast was quite a chunky one.

This great start to the session had me thinking that whilst the leaves might well be falling off of the trees maybe there was perhaps still some fun to be had with summer species yet. As low water approached however all activity ceased and after over an hour with no bites I decided to have a break, grab some lunch and try another spot before returning to my Yarrell's blenny swim later in the day. 

After a sandwich and a bottle of water I headed along to the far end of the long sea defences that run east from the harbour, clambered over onto the rocks there and cast out. The bottom was mixed and after loosing a few drop shot leads to patches of boulders I found a few cleaner areas to fish over and was soon getting a few tiny bites when I left the lead stationary and kept tension in the line. Hooking the culprits proved tricky but my persistence paid off eventually and I caught three of the tiny bottom dwelling fish that had been nibbling away at my tiny piece of Angleworm. 

The little rattles on my rod tip were caused by sand gobies. An unexpected bonus being a new addition to this year's species tally. 

With not much else happening though I headed back along to the harbour. When I started fishing again the tide was creeping back up the harbour walls and I was soon getting a few bites. Connecting with a few of them I caught a few more common blennies, goldsinny wrasse and coalfish before catching a corkwing wrasse. 

A very darkly coloured little fellow. 

Then a seal pup appeared right in front of me causing another unwanted cessation in action. 

Hello baby seal. How cute. Now bugger off!

After a short while I started getting bites again and a few strong ones at that. Some ballan wrasse had moved in and I caught four of them in a row. I also pulled the hook on a larger fish, also a ballan I think, one of the downsides of using such a small hook I suppose but at the end of the day I wasn't targeting ballan wrasse. 

Good fun on ultra light tackle but I've watched wrasse chase blennies before so I was keen for them to move off again. No doubt my target, if down there, would be hiding in a crevice whilst these were feeding in the area.

By the time light started to fade in the evening the wrasse and blennies had all become inactive and all I was catching was small coalfish. As it got darker they became even more active and I caught more and more of them. A tiny cod added a final species to my tally for the day but not the one I was after.

Oh well, despite failing to get a Yarrell's blenny it had been a fairly enjoyable day fishing somewhere new. It was a bit slow at times but I think that was due to the tidal state more than anything else. I think it probably fishes better on a bigger tide and over high water. The variety of species caught has also given me food for thought regarding the current state of saltwater fishing. Summer might be over but it would seem nobody told the fish so I will go back, perhaps with some bait, for another go before they hear the news.

Tight lines, Scott.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

You won't catch anything in there pal.

It was a nice day on Wednesday and I was in two minds about how to spend it. Should I go fishing down in East Lothian or go fishing closer to home? One of my goals for this year is to travel less to fish but to be honest I have failed miserably to do so. With addressing this in mind I decided to head down to nearby Leith Docks.

Leith Docks is a working facilty but some areas are accessible. 

I hadn't fished there for quite some time and when I did the fishing wasn't great but whilst I had low expectations I was also curious to see how much using ultra light tackle and the deadly Angleworm fished on a drop shot rig would perhaps improve my catch rates. Casting out and slowly working the lure back towards me I got an immediate indication of how the area would fish using this approach when my rod tip arched over and a nice flounder was landed after a spirited fight.

Off to a great start. 

Very pleased I carried on fishing and got lots of bites, catching a small coalfish almost every cast which was good fun. 

Angleworm, not just effective in the crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean also great in the murky waters of Leith Docks.

After a reaching double figures I was approached by someone who was walking by who uttered an expression I've heard once or twice whilst fishing in such venues, "You won't catch anything in there pal!". This always makes me smile as I usually proceed to prove them wrong most of the time. After doing just that I decided to move around the docks to another couple of spots and caught a few more coalfish at each. Pleased to have found a productive mark to have some ultra light fun on locally I then headed along the coast to Granton Harbour to try and catch a herring. I've caught them there before but sadly when I arrived I found that the area I wanted to fish was completely fenced off. Someone from the port authority then approached me and told me it was now off limits as it was unsafe and had been condemned. He then pointed me in the direction of another spot though and after catching a few more coalfish I hooked a fish that put up quite a scrap, making a few strong runs. As I suspected it was a nice mackerel which I decided to keep for my dinner. Heading home I reflected on a couple of hours driving that I hadn't done and a couple spent fishing enjoyably. I might have to re-evaluate the fishing that is available closer to home and will certainly be spending a bit more time fishing Leith Docks in particular. 

Tight lines, Scott.

The colours of the rainbow.

Before I went to Zakynthos I spent a day fly fishing trying to catch some funky trout. The funky trout in question being blue trout, a variant of rainbow trout, and tiger trout, a hybrid of our brown trout and the American brook trout. Basically I failed miserably, caught nothing and got a reminder how poorly I cast a fly. To try and remedy this I booked a couple of hours with Scottish fishing guide Callum Conner who runs Scotia Fishing. We have chatted before via text and email but Tuesday morning was the first time we had met in person. Off we went to a park so he could help me improve my basic fly casting. By the end of my two hour session Callum had certainly managed to do just that, had given me a lot of good advice and things to go away and work on to improve some more hopefully. Afterwards we also had a chat about fishing the River Ebro in Spain which is something Callum has done in the past and I am keen to do next year with my mate Martin to target perch, largemouth bass, wels catfish and zander on lures. Anyway, it was a very productive morning and keen to practice some more and hopefully catch some fish in the process off I went to a nearby trout fishery. My knowledge of flies is pretty poor too but Callum had also given me a few pointers regarding them and recommended using buzzers so I went with a deep red one. The pond I was fishing wasn't very deep and as I could see trout I was able to cast towards them and very slowly twitch the buzzer past them trying to get the fly at their depth as I did. After a while I managed to get a trout interested and seeing the white flash of its mouth as it took the fly I lifted the rod and hooked the fish. I knew it was one of the fish I was after so took my time playing it and it was soon in my net. 

My first ever blue trout. It's basically a rainbow trout with a genetic mutation which alters its pigmentation and has a dull blue back and a silver underside. They look a lighter shade of blue in the water.

I then hooked two more in fairly quick succession that managed to throw my barbless hook. After this positive start things were pretty slow however and none of the other anglers who arrived to fish the pond were having much luck either so I moved to another one nearby. A few anglers on this second pond were complaining that things were slow too so when I hooked and landed a second trout I felt I was doing quite well. This one turned out to be a standard rainbow trout. Another angler along from me then had a rainbow trout and a brown trout both on a dry fly. I stuck with my buzzer though and managed another two rainbow trout. 

Grey, gold, pink and silver. The natural colours of a rainbow. 

I could see the odd tiger trout in this pond too but couldn't get any of them to take. Oh well, I guess I shall have to try again. I think the next time I get my fly rod out though I shall head to Leith Links to practice what I learnt from Callum. I have to be honest also and say that I'm not overly keen on trout fisheries, I'd much rather be fly fishing on a river or loch but if I am to catch a tiger trout and the other variant of the rainbow, the golden trout I shall have to keep visiting them. Wild trout are so much nicer but before I get my waders on I'd like to improve my fly casting skills first. I'd also like to fly fish for grayling this winter so I better get practicing. Pike is another species I'd like to cast a fly at and obviously it can be used to target some saltwater species too. It's definitely an area I'm keen to explore more in the future and I think I'll be making use of Callum's excellent services again. If you too are interested in improving your fly casting then you should check out Scotia Fishing for fly casting lessons in Scotland.   

Tight lines, Scott.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Species hunting adventures on Zakynthos : Part 3.

Early last Saturday morning I didn't go fishing and just got up with Lillian. After breakfast we went to Zakynthos Town and had a walk around. I was allowed to fish in the harbour for an hour or so and thought this might be a good spot to try and catch some blennies and gobies. Fishing a split shot rig straight down the harbour wall I didn't have any luck locating either but I did catch a few wrasse and seabream including some annular seabream which was an addition to the trips species tally.

At first glance it could easily be mistaken for its white or saddled cousin. The yellow pelvic and anal fins are the feature to look for on the annular seabream.

We then headed to a Ceramic Art Studio to have a look around and buy a couple of souvenirs. We were welcomed by the owner and given a glass of home made lemonade to enjoy while we looked around which was lovely in the afternoon heat. Lillian picked out a couple of things she liked and we bought them before heading back to Porto Roma.  After lunch we headed up to St Nicholas beach to have a swim and a snorkel around Vasilikos Cape.

Who needs a fish finder?

Whilst doing this I spotted a few fish that I hadn't caught. Small groups of Salema, large shoals of sand smelt and a solitary Atlantic lizardfish were all down there as we swam around as well as lots of wrasse, seabream and striped red mullet.

Swimming around was quite tiring and when we went back to the apartment Lillian fancied a nap so I drove back to Vasilikos Cape to try and catch a salema or an Atlantic lizardfish. Fishing in the areas where I had seen them things were very slow and I only manged to catch four fish. One of them was a small Atlantic lizardfish though so I was happy enough. One more species left to reach my target of twenty.

Towards the end of this session my fishing was interrupted at one point by what I thought was gunfire. Rather confused I looked up towards the small church to see that sure enough someone had fired what looked like a rifle three times out over the sea. Walking along towards the church at the end of my session I realised that a wedding had been taking place and the gunfire must have been part of the ceremony.

The next day I got up early and decided to head down to Porto Roma beach for a change. Fishing small soft plastic paddletail lures in conjunction with a caro I started at the harbour and worked my way along the beach as the sun rose. Sadly this did not produce any takes so I headed onto some rocks at the far end and had a few casts over a submerged reef off to my left. Again this didn't result in any action so I switched to Angleworm on a drop shot rig. First few casts with this and I caught a painted comber and an annular seabream. These were followed by a rainbow wrasse and a white seabream. Then I spotted a small fish moving across the sand in front of the rock that I was standing on. I was fairly sure it was a goby. Rigging up a split shot rig and #22 hook as quickly as I could I started twitching it along the bottom in the area where I'd seen the small fish but could no longer see it. As I lifted the rig up off of the bottom however a few small weevers appeared from beneath the sand and attacked my tiny piece of angleworm.  Jigging my rig up and down disturbing the sand it didn't take too long to hook one and I lifted it out to be pleasantly surprised to find out that it was the lesser variety.

My 20th species of the trip. Mission accomplished!

Trying for a bit longer to see if I could catch a goby I caught two more lesser weevers before heading back up to the apartment. On my way back along the beach I heard a strange noise and looking along the beach I could see a dog at the far end plodding along and pausing to howl in a most peculiar manner. The noise it was making whilst still distinctly dog like was oddly familiar and then I realised it sounded rather like a cockerel crowing. The confused canine headed up the road as I was putting my stuff into the car but I soon caught up with it.

I was sure that this dog thinks it's a cockerel!

Over breakfast Lillian and I discussed our plans for the day. Lillian still had a few things that she wanted to do and as she loves castles there was a Venetian Fort on her list so off we went to the small village of Bohali to explore it. I must admit I'm not a big fan of wandering around old ruins but when we got up to the fortress the views from its walls high above Zakynthos Town made it worthwhile.

A lovely view. A few clouds rolling by but to be honest it was nice to get a break from the midday sun.

There were also quite a lot of butterflies fluttering about and a few lizards running around to keep me interested while we wandered around the crumbling remains of the fort.

This butterfly was camouflaged rather well against the lichen on this rock.
Eddie was rather quick and it was hard to get close enough to get a photo.

Next on Lillian's to do list was a trip to Xigia beach. Located on the eastern side of the island this small beach is flanked on either side by cliffs. Spring water containing collagen and sulphur is said to enter the sea nearby so a swim from this beach is said to be good for your health. The down side is it smells of rotten eggs. Off we went but before we got there we stopped at Alykes for lunch. This gave me the chance to fish in the River Skourtis which runs into the sea there although there are no freshwater species in it as far as I'm aware.

There was no current to speak of due to the lack of rain water and as far as I could tell the river is really just a channel that runs inland that is full of seawater. It is also full of mullet but rather than get frustrated trying to catch one I fished small soft plastics on jigheads and small hard lures. After a couple of follows I hooked a small fish that turned out to be a small spotted bass, my forth new species of the trip.

Only slightly bigger than the last bass I caught.

I then caught a striped red mullet and a white seabream before putting my gear back in the car and we wandered upstream to find somewhere to eat. As we crossed over a small stone footbridge I spotted a rather big blenny sunning itself on a ledge on the side of the bridge and permission was given to go back to the car and get my gear. Soon back at the bridge, Lillian had been watching the fish and had spotted a few more so I started lowering small pieces of Angleworm down in front of them. To my surprise the big blennies just turned their noses up at it and swam off into the nearest crack. My disappointment and frustration was soon forgotten however when a smaller, darker blenny appeared from one of these cracks and eagerly swallowed my offering. I was most pleased to discover that it was a rather beautifully marked peacock blenny meaning I had achieved my other target for the trip of five new species.

This species was also recently added to my "most wanted" list so I was very excited to catch it.

Waiting until the bigger blennies reappeared before presenting my tiny lure to them they carried on taking exception to my efforts to catch them. I did however catch a couple more peacock blennies and a few slender gobies before giving up on the big ones and heading off to lunch.

I've caught these before but at the time thought they were juvenile giant gobies. Not really a new species but I'll add it to my lifelist as it should have been in it already. 

After trying some tasty village sausage, a spicy dip called Tyrokafteri made from Feta and green chilli and yet another Greek salad we headed up the coast to the foul smelling swimming spot. The beach was rather busy despite being very pungent so to try and escape the gathered masses and the smell I did a bit of snorkeling further out while Lillian opted to have a swim closer to the shore.

Who let rip?

Visibility wasn't great due to all the health giving particles suspended in the water but I did see a few wrasse and a couple of wide eyed flounders which was pretty cool. After a while we'd had enough so we got out and headed further north to Agios Nikoloas for the second time. I had an hour or so fishing at the back of the harbour again. Metals and hard lures didn't produce another amberjack or anything else for that matter so I switched to a drop shot rig and caught a few seabream, a couple of painted combers and a parrotfish before landing a wrasse I'd never caught before.

A bit of research when I got home later would make me reach the conclusion it was a female East Atlantic peacock wrasse.

This took me to twenty four species for the trip. I then caught a few more fish before hooking something that put a nice bend in my rod. Bullying it up away from the rocks I was surprised to see a small goldblotch grouper appear.

These are very fiesty for their size.

I caught a second shortly afterwards before we headed off to enjoy a lovely evening meal. On the way to the taverna we passed a shop selling nets which reminded me of the amberjack I lost. Posing for a photo I picked one up and pulled a sad face. I didn't spot the praying mantis on it until I put it back down again. We both found this very funny as we checked the photograph of me only to realise it was right next to my face on the net.

I really need a travel net.
Always wanted to see one of these fascinating insects. Very aggressive as I soon discovered when I put my hand near it, lashing out at me with its front legs/weapons!

Relaxing by the waters edge in out chosen taverna more Greek salad was accompanied by swordfish and grilled squid before we made the drive back to our apartment.

On Monday I just got up with Lillian and after breakfast we headed to the small turtle rescue centre that is being established near the nesting beach of Gerakas.

If the turtles actually grew this big then they'd probably have the beaches to themselves. 
Whilst people can visit most of the turtle nesting beaches there are controls in place to try and minimise the impact this has on the turtle's breeding activities and a National Marine Park had been established within which there are restrictions on human activity. There is ban on fishing within this area, including fishing from the shore that runs from the peninsula to the east of Porto Roma all the way around the southern end of the island to the peninsula to the west of Keri. 

Afterwards we headed to Zakynthos Town to have a walk around, send our postcards and to have some lunch.

The church of Agios Dionisios sits near the harbour.

On the way back to our apartment we stopped in Argassi for a quick game of crazy golf.

I won but Lillian did manage a hole in one.

Having not fished all day I was suffering from withdrawal symptoms so after yet another home made Greek salad on the balcony we headed back to Zakynthos Town harbour in the evening and I fished on the large breakwater. Fishing into the deep water next to the pier that projects out half way along the inside didn't produce anything so we moved to a flat concrete platform on the outside and I fished into the open sea. 

Once again I gave some small metals a go to try and cover more water.

The water here was deep but chucking small metals around and working them at different depths for a while didn't produce anything so I tried fishing close to the bottom with drop shot tactics. After a while this produced a couple of seabream, a common pandora and an Atlantic lizardfish. 

Atlantic lizardfish have an impressive set of needle like teeth.

When we headed back to Porto Roma it was a lovely still night so we went down to the small jetty for half an hour and I cast my drop shot rig around the bay. Things were very slow and I only caught a single saddled seabream before we headed up the road to bed. Perhaps the flat calm sea and moonlight weren't the best conditions to fish in relatively shallow water. 

During the night I woke and heard a strange continuous noise. At first I thought our air conditioning unit had developed a fault but getting out of bed and waking up a bit I realised it was raining rather heavily. Quite surprised I woke Lillian so she could have a look. When we opened the shutters to our balcony the sky was illuminated by lightning followed by it's accompanying thunder. The power in our room went off briefly then returned. Before we flew out the forecast had been for sunshine for the entire duration of our holiday and I never thought to see if that had changed. A quick check revealed rain was forecast for spells the next day.

Tuesday was our last full day on the island and having done most of the things on Lillian's list and achieved my species hunting targets we decided to go for a drive up the mountainous western coast of the island and just stop if we saw something interesting. When we left the apartment it was dry, the sun was out but the power was off again. Driving up towards Argassi we saw a sign for Daphni Beach and Lillian recalled wanting to visit it but couldn't remember why so we headed up through the hills towards it. On the way to the beach we found a turtle information centre and had a look round. The power was off inside but the volunteer working there opened a few windows shutters and this provided us with enough light to read the information and look at the displays.

As we were not able to watch some of videos that were part of the exhibition, the volunteer kindly gave us a short talk. The power came back on half way through that so when she was finished we got to watch the videos anyway. It was interesting to learn more about the turtles and the centre is well worth a visit if you are on Zakynthos. We then popped down to see the beach before we drove across the island to the west coast. Passing through the small picturesque mountain village of Agalas we saw a sign for the Damianou Caves so went up there for a look.

The Damianou Caves. Information on these was non existent other than a few signs pointing the way. The walk down to them was nice though and the view out from them was lovely. I wondered if anyone had ever lived in them. 

Afterwards we had lunch in the nearby taverna. Then we headed up the coast enjoying more of the scenery before driving east to head to Alykes. I wanted one final fishing session to have another go at catching the big blennies.

By the time we arrived in Alykes the sky looked like it could open up at any moment and drench us.

Stopping at a shop to buy some raw shrimps on the way we parked up next to the stone foot bridge and I quickly spotted a big blenny, shelled a shrimp and tossed the head and shell in to see if it was hungry. Sure enough it may have turned its nose up at a piece of Gulp! the last time I tried to catch it but it couldn't refuse a delicious shellfish snack and promptly snaffled it before swimming into a crack. Setting up a split shot rig I baited a #18 hook with a small chunk of shrimp and lowered it down close to a second big blenny. As with my previous attempts here the slender gobies proved to be much more eager though and a few of them got to my bait first before I finally managed to get my bait close enough to the big blenny for it to grab it.

A big chunky plump rusty blenny. The final addition to my trip species tally was a bit of a fussy eater.

I carried on fishing for a little while longer and caught a few more. Happy to catch some blennies as my final species of the trip we headed back to the apartment. In the evening we went down to Porto Roma for a nice meal. Shortly after ordering our food the nice view accross the bay disappeared in a torrent of rain which made us both laugh. We'd been lucky and had avoided the rain all day. Because I didn't have to drive I had a few beers and our grilled prawns and octopus in vinegar followed by moussaka and grilled steak was excellent as was, you've guessed it, the last Greek salad of the trip.

Flying home on Wednesday afternoon, we just had a lie in and after packing our stuff and saying goodbye to the apartment owner we drove to the airport. The end of a holiday is always tinged with sadness but we'd had a great time. As well as seeing a lot of Zakynthos and its attractions I had done a fair bit of fishing and had achieved the species hunting goals I had set myself. Twenty six species caught including six new ones wasn't bad especially as the fishing was a bit slow at times. Here is a summary of what I caught, the new species are in bold.
  1. Annular Seabream x 7
  2. Atlantic Lizardfish x 2
  3. Axillary Wrasse x 1
  4. Cardinalfish x 2
  5. Common Pandora x 2
  6. Damselfish x 2
  7. Dusky Rabbitfish x 1 
  8. East Atlantic Peacock Wrasse x 1
  9. Five Spotted Wrasse x 2
  10. Goldblotch Grouper x 2
  11. Greater Weever x 7
  12. Lesser Weever x 3
  13. Madeira Rockfish x 4
  14. Mediterranean Rainbow Wrasse x 12
  15. Ornate Wrasse x 16
  16. Painted Comber x 6
  17. Parrotfish x 3
  18. Peacock Blenny x 3
  19. Rusty Blenny x 4
  20. Saddled Seabream x 5
  21. Slender Goby x 9
  22. Spotted Bass x 1
  23. Striped Red Mullet x 4
  24. Striped Seabream x 1
  25. White Seabream x 7
  26. Wide Eyed Flounder x 1
Having caught lots of nice colourful fish if pushed I'd probably say my favourites were the peacock blennies with their beautiful blue markings and the fiesty little goldblotch groupers. However by some distance my best catch so far is still Lillian.

I don't think anyone else would tolerate my fishing obsession the way she does and at times she actually encourages me. I'm a very lucky man indeed.

I really enjoy fishing abroad and fortunately it won't be too long before I get to do some more. I'm off to Menorca next month for my first ever week long hardcore fishing trip to the Mediterranean with my mate Lee. I can't wait!

Tight lines, Scott.