Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Light game fun on Tenerife : Part 1.

After a two week long self imposed fishing ban, which to be fair was quite easy to observe due to horrible weather, I was looking forward to relaxing for a week and enjoying a bit of light game fishing in the sun on Tenerife when I flew out there with my girlfriend, sister and her partner on Tuesday the 8th December.

El Teide, the tallest mountain on Spanish soil, pokes up through the clouds. 

Arriving at our hotel in Los Gigantes on the west coast in the middle of the afternoon it was nice and warm despite being overcast and rather windy. From our balcony I could see the large marina down below that I had looked at on Google Maps before travelling and was planning to fish around early in the mornings. There was a bit of a swell slowly rolling in and breaking around the outside of it. 

I knew fishing on the inside of the marina wouldn't be permitted but I was hopeful that I'd be able to fish from the back of it or perhaps the end of its outer breakwater. 

Once we got unpacked we took a walk down to get our bearings and have a look around Los Gigantes. Unfortunately a quick walk round the marina soon revealed that as a fishing venue it was a non starter. There was no way to access the sea defences on the outside of its outer breakwater and the end of it was walled off too. Fishing from Playa de los Guios, the black volcanic beach to the right of its entrance, was also not permitted. 

Off limits as well.

I was a bit disappointed but we went for a walk following the coast so I could find a place to fish from in the mornings. This proved to be rather difficult with most of the coastline as we headed south being built upon and no obvious way to get to the shoreline. In an area called Crab Island I finally found two alleyways leading to the coastal rocks but at the end of both I found a set of metal gates which were locked. Walking further south still we finally found a stretch of coast that was easily accessible just past the Barcelo Santiago hotel. It looked promising and despite some waves breaking over the rocks someone was fishing from them. 

A local float fishing. 

The next morning I didn't do any fishing and after picking up our hire car we headed into the island's interior to visit El Teide and take a cable car up to it's summit. After driving up undulating roads through stunning scenery and several distinct areas of different vegetation as our altitude increased, we drove along the road which passes through the barren lava fields that surround the mountain. 

Typical of the Canary Islands these lava landscapes are quite strange and look a bit like ploughed up rocks. They always make me think of the planet Mars. 
Strange twisted rock formations are dotted around, formed by various volcanic processes and weathered over time. Some of them have been given names like the one above which is called "God's Finger". The softer rock at the bottom of the warped column has eroded faster than the harder rock at the top. It looks very odd and will eventually collapse under its own weight.

Back at the hotel by the middle of the afternoon, I grabbed my light game gear and headed down to the mark I had found the night before to fish for a couple of hours. Climbing down to the rocks below the coastal path I couldn't pass some nice big rockpools without quickly finding out what was hiding in them. 

Rockpool blennies were the first fish to appear from the weed to attack my Gulp! Angleworm.
They were quickly followed by a few much more aggressive Madeira gobies. 

Turning my attention to the Eastern Atlantic I clambered around the rocks exploring various gullies and more open areas. I started of with Angleworm on a drop shot rig and soon added two more species to my tally.

The small stretch of coast I fished offered access to lots of spots on the various lumps of black volcanic rock. 
I wasn't at all surprised to catch the first of many ornate wrasse. Like on the islands of Lanzarote and Madeira they are found in great numbers at close range amongst the rocks and attack with a lot of aggression. 
Canary damselfish were also common. They have very small mouths but I still caught a few on my #10 hooks. 

I then began casting further out. The rocky sea floor was a bit snaggy but loosing the odd drop shot lead wasn't what prompted a change of method. My lures were being rapidly munched by what I suspected were pufferfish so I switched to fishing metal jigs and vibe baits. These didn't attract as much interest as I'd have liked and when I finally got a positive take and hooked the culprit the fish was only on briefly before it threw the vibe bait's hook. As the sun began to set my two hours were up and I headed back up to the hotel. 

The sun disappears behind the nearby island of La Gomera. 

The next morning I got up early before sunrise and drove down the coast to San Juan to fish from the end of its harbour's breakwater. It is a popular mark with local and visiting anglers alike and there were already a few people fishing when I arrived. The locals mainly fished bread paste under floats for bream species whilst the main target for the visiting anglers and their heavy beachcasting tackle seemed to be shark species. Not many fish were caught whilst I was there but I did see a a few white seabream being caught and a couple of small stingrays. Fishing down the harbour wall I was hoping to catch a red lip blenny or a hairy blenny but once the sun rose the chances of anything beating the ornate wrasse and Canary damselfish to my angleworm were slim to say the least. As the sun got further up above the hills to the east and illuminated the water I spotted an Atlantic trumpetfish swimming around in the submerged boulders but couldn't tempt it. I tried fishing paddletials on jigheads but the pufferfish were again being a nuisance, quickly biting the tails off of them and ruining their action. To nullify their destructive assaults I tried metals again with little interest so went back to a drop shot rig, casting it out away from the end of the breakwater onto cleaner ground. This produced fewer bites but I added two more species to my tally when I caught a greater weever and a bastard grunt. 

Handle with care or not at all if possible. 
A bastard grunt. I'm not sure why they are bastards but they do make a grunting noise.

After heading back to the hotel and having breakfast we set off for Masca, a remote mountain village. The drive there was something else along narrow winding roads through the mountains and we enjoyed a relaxing walk around it before sitting down to enjoy a very tasty lunch. In the shade eating our rustic rabbit stew we watched a few lizards running around.

Masca has less than one hundred inhabitants and is way up in the Macizo de Teno moutains in the north west of the island. 
There were lots of these lizards running around. Pretty cool. 

We then headed north and again the drive was spectacular, winding back down through the mountains to the coast. Eventually we arrived in Garachico where the girls wanted to see an old church. I took the opportunity to fish while they did so and quickly found a nice looking spot at the end of a concrete pier close to where we had parked the car. The fishing was very good and I caught a few fish although the puffers were again a problem, quickly destroying my pieces of Angleworm and also damaging my line meaning I had to repeatedly tie on a new drop shot rig. 

My first cast produced my first ever male parrotfish. Much more colourful than the drab, all grey females.
An impressive set of teeth.
A switch to a slightly smaller hook eventually saw one of the lure chomping pufferfish get caught. This one is a Macronesian sharpnose puffer.

Just before the girls returned I tried a second spot which held a lot of canary damselfish. It also produced my first wrasse and my first seabream species of the trip.

I pretty confident this is a male emerald wrasse.
This saddled seabream took my species tally for the trip to ten.

Before heading back to the hotel we visited El Drago, a very old tree, in the nearby town of Icod de los Vinos.

El Drago is over one thousand years old.

A couple of days into the trip and I was was thoroughly enjoying the holiday. My short fishing sessions were good fun apart from the onslaught of the pufferfish which were a bit of a nightmare. With a few more excursions planned over the rest of the holiday I was excited about stealing an hour or two where possible and perhaps catching a few more species. I also planned to return to San Juan harbour breakwater again early in the mornings to try and tempt an Atlantic trumpetfish, a new species of blenny or maybe something else from the deeper water there. 

Tight lines, Scott.

Click here for Part 2.

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