Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Light game fun on Tenerife : Part 2.

On day four of our holiday I got up early again and drove back down the coast to San Juan. I arrived before sunrise again but this time the end of the breakwater was already very busy with anglers so I found myself a spot in between two locals who were float fishing on the inside of the breakwater and started fishing down the side. It didn't take too long before I got a few small bites on my Angleworm and landed a few odd looking little red fish.

Cardinalfish have huge eyes and even bigger mouths for their small size. They seem to feed more during darkness. At least that's my experience of catching them.

Once the sun had risen the ornate wrasse, Canary damselfish and puffers became active and it was hard to get through them. I tried small metals for a while but they didn't draw any bites so back on went the Angleworm. The puffers munched it rapidly but eventually a Madeira rockfish beat them to a fresh piece.

I don't think their poison is as nasty as that of a weever but the Madeira rockfish is still another venomous fish to handle with care. I prefer a firm lip grip before unhooking then just drop them back in. 

I had hoped that some of the anglers at the end would maybe leave or move so I could have a go at the spot where I observed the Atlantic trumpetfish but they didn't. I was about to return to Los Gigantes when I had a text from the girls to say that they were going for a walk so I decided to head down the coast to try a new spot.

El Puertito is a tiny secluded village with a small sandy beach and rocks either side.

Sadly this new spot whilst very pretty wasn't very productive and was also relatively shallow and very tackle hungry too. I persevered but after catching a solitary ornate wrasse I drove back up the coast to meet the girls at Playa de Arena. I got there before they did so fished off of the rocks on the southern side of the beach until they arrived.

When they did arrive they found me hiding in the shade.

By this point it was approaching midday and with hardly any cloud cover it was getting rather hot. I think most of the fish were struggling with the heat as well as bites were few and far between although I did catch a couple of lesser weevers. They were very dark in colouration compared to those caught from the golden sandy beaches in the UK. 

Yet another poisonous fish to carefully unhook. They thrash about a lot when you touch them so I usually don't risk a lip grip. Luckily I carry forceps to shake them off the hook. 

The girls had enjoyed their morning stroll and wanted to carry on further down the coast so off they went. I told them just to double back or text me if they wanted me to pick them up and carried on fishing. Things continued to be slow in the afternoon sun but a switch to metals eventually paid off when I caught a couple of fairly big diamond lizardfish.

Toothy but at least they aren't poisonous! It's the teeth on their tongue that I find most bizarre.

Before too long the girls had returned and we headed back to the hotel. Once back they wanted to relax in the pool and use the Spa so I headed out again for an hour or so heading to the rocks at the back of the Barcelo Santiago hotel again. Things were slow there so I wandered along to the tiny harbour next to Santiago-El Puertito. This saw me catch a few ornate wrasse, Canary damselfish, diamond lizardfish and Macronesian sharpnose puffers but nothing new.

On Saturday we decided to visit Santa Cruz in the evening to go to the CD Tenerife v RCD Mallorca football match. Driving along the southern side of the island late that morning we stopped at El Medano so I could have an hour fishing from the end of the small stone pier there whilst the girls had a wander around and a coffee.

Montana Roja in the distance from the end of the pier.

The sea surrounding the pier was fairly shallow, the bottom was rocky and all I caught was a procession of ornate wrasse and a few Canary damselfish. Further east we stopped again at Candelaria where the girls wanted to visit the Basillica to see the Virgin of Candelaria statue inside. Not really something that I was interested in so I fished metal jigs from the rocks at the back of the town's harbour for thirty minutes or so and was rewarded with a single Atlantic lizardfish. The water was quite deep and I was surprised by the lack of action but it was the hottest part of the day so maybe that had something to do with it. 

The only fish interested in my metals. Still another species added to my tally. 

Back on the road again we stopped in Santa Cruz at the stadium and bought our tickets for the evening's match before heading up through the mountains to visit a few picturesque spots on the north coast. Once again the drive and some of the scenery was amazing.

That's me having a few casts from the rocks on the right.

Heading back to the capital we took our seats in the stadium and enjoyed a reasonably good game. The visitors took an early lead but late in the second half after a couple of substitutions CD Tenerife scored twice in quick succession to win the game. 

The game didn't draw a big crowd but the passion displayed by the supporters in attendance was clear to see and listening to their colourful language was also very entertaining. My Spanish is pretty basic but apparently the linesman were very fond of goats!

Despite not getting back to Los Gigantes until fairly late that night the following morning I headed back to San Juan for another dawn session. This time I had the place to myself almost but didn't manage to catch anything I hadn't caught already during the trip before heading back. Over breakfast the girls told me they wanted to do more walking, this time up in a pine forest high up towards the centre of the island. I got them to drop me off near a rocky outcrop at the southern outskirts of Los Cristianos so I could have a few hours fishing. I started off on a small rocky pier. Standing at the edge looking down to see if I could spot some red lip or hairy blennies a few land crabs that were sunbathing down below me hastily made their retreat. 

These land loving crustaceans are very common and very fast making getting a photo quite hard.

Exploring the area I caught the usual suspects for a while and had a load of lures eaten and rigs damaged by the resident pufferfish. Eventually I caught a few of the little buggers including a few Guinean puffers. 

It's hard to exaggerate just how many puffers there were.
Their teeth are razor sharp and most of the time you don't even feel them biting. They make short work of destroying soft plastics and in short they are a pain in the rear if you want to fish light game.

By the time the girls returned I was feeling a little frustrated by the lack of variety in the species I was catching and the fact that I'd caught nothing new throughout the entire holiday. I think I also caught a little too much sun as well which didn't help matters. In the evening when it was cooler I had a wander around the marina in Los Gigantes and spotted some red lip blennies on the marina walls around near the mouth. I decided that the next day I was going to be a little bit naughty. In the afternoon Lillian and I went for a walk around the marina again and this time I was armed with a spool of fluorocarbon, a few split shot, hooks, a jar of Angleworm and wearing my lucky pirate cap. Lillian kept an eye on the movements of the marina's security guards and I began looking for red lip blennies.

I locate my target down the marina wall.
Illegal activity underway.

I stealthily caught three ornate wrasse and a couple of canary damselfish but sadly the rid lip blennies just weren't interested. Every time I presented a lure they just got annoyed and swam off which was quite frustrating. Slightly disappointed that my law breaking antics hadn't produced a new blenny species for me we headed back up to the hotel. On the way however we passed a concrete basin that was full of water. I'm not sure what it was exactly but the water had a green tinge to it and it was full of fish. I couldn't resist finding out what they were and finding a hole in the fence at the side dropped my split shot rig in. Immediately the fish went berserk attacking the Angleworm and four of them were hooked one after another and hoisted up in quick succession.

The biggest fish of the trip. Not much fun on my improvised hand line but it was still nice to catch something new.
I recognised the fish as tilapia but at the time I had no idea which particular species.
I now suspect they are blue tilpaia also known as Israeli tilapia.

Pleased to have finally caught something new we laughed about the day's mischief and headed back up the hill to the hotel for the last time, stopping briefly to catch our breath and to get a photo of "The Giants" to the north of the town.


That evening was our last of the holiday so we had a nice meal in the hotel restaurant and a few beers. It had been an enjoyable, relaxing break and it had also been great to get away from the winter weather back home. The fishing had been fun although I was slightly disappointed not to catch anything new from the sea especially as I saw a couple of species that I've never caught before and couldn't catch either of them. I didn't reach my species hunting targets for the trip of twenty species including three new ones either, ending up on seventeen species including one new one, but to be honest having spent all year chasing species around Scotland I wasn't too bothered. It was nice just to be in the sun, enjoying the island and catching a few fish when the opportunity was there. Landing back in Edinburgh the weather was rather horrible and served as a quick reminder that winter here can be tough. Luckily I don't have to wait too long before I'm back down in the Canary Islands again, I visit Fuertaventura at the end of February next year with two of my mates for a week of non stop fishing. Something to cheer me up on cold, wet and windy winter days to come.

Tight lines, Scott.


  1. Nice bit of ad-hoc Talapia poaching there ;0)

  2. Nice reading Scott, I really enjoyed the pictures as usual. The lizard fish and canary damselfish are now on my most wanted list!

  3. Good stuff. Going back to Gran Canaria in June to try and add to my species list, so will await your Fuertaventura report with interest! ;-)