Saturday, June 17, 2017

Yet another rod added to my collection.

Last year after spending a day catching sticklebacks I decided to get myself a new rod for sessions targeting such small fish. After a bit of research online I treated myself to the smallest Shimotsuke Kiyotaki in the range, at only 180cm in length and weighing in at an incredible 15g I thought it was just what I was after for close range micro fishing. I think I'm correct when I say that technically it is actually a tenkara rod for use targeting small trout in small streams but to begin with I'll be using it to fish a variety of delicate bait presentations for little fish. This week I finally decided to do just that and have had several short sessions. My first was in Forthquarter Park behind the Edinburgh College's Granton campus. 

A lovely little pond in a nice park. Not sure if fishing is permitted.

Rigging up a simple float rig consisting of a minuscule piece of maggot on a tanago hook fished under a chianti 4 x 10 pole float I set about exploring the margins and my float's super thin tip was soon registering lots of interest. Hooking the culprits was tricky but eventually I caught a few three spined sticklebacks.

The ambition of most Japanese tanago anglers is to catch a tanago (bitterling) that fits on a one yen coin. Completely wrong species of course but the smallest fish I caught almost fit on mine.

The following evening after work I went out again with two of my mates, Gordon and Tomasz, to see if Inverleith Pond had any sticklebacks in it. Fishing the same float rig I managed a few including a few males resplendent in their full breeding livery.

Lovely turquiose colour to this horny little stickleback's eyes and a bright red chin too. Mating season in full swing.

After an hour or so we walked to a nearby stretch of the Water of Leith where we found a pool to fish. I managed to pull out a few sticklebacks and a couple of small minnows. Tomasz was keen to try and tempt a brown trout so I let him borrow my "Bonito Basher". He set up a running ledger, was soon getting bites and before long he'd caught a fish. It was his first ever minnow and a fairly big one at that so a photograph was in order.

This greedy minnow took a #12 hook baited with double maggot.

Catching sticklebacks and minnows is fun but I wanted to see how my rod would handle some bigger fish so I headed to Eliburn Reservoir in Livingston on Wednesday evening. I've not fished there for a while and walking around it trying to find a peg to fish was tricky as there was a lot of weed around the margins. To be frank the venue's pegs could use a good raking out and all the weed made fishing tough. I ended up having to try and fish out beyond the weed and this meant I was fishing further out and deeper than was comfortable using the rod. Things were quite slow but eventually I managed a couple of perch.

Lots of these in Eliburn.

The rod handled these no problem at all and I'm still left curious just what it can handle. It was good to be out fishing again even if the sessions were very short. I'll be using the new rod again soon and will be targeting slightly bigger fish on it. I also have a strange desire to catch some gudgeon so it will be put to good use targeting them as well.

Tight lines, Scott.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

More species hunting adventures on Lanzarote : Part 3.

After consuming a bit too much alcohol celebrating my epic light game bonito the night before we had a late start on the fifth day of our holiday. We decided to try a new mark and headed north to Costa Teguise where we found a small breakwater to fish from the end of. It had a large rusty sculpture at the end so we fished from the shade it provided. It was a fairly shallow spot with a sandy bottom so I was confident we might add a new species or two to our tally but it only seemed to hold one species, puffers. The amount we caught was quite frankly ridiculous and with not much else biting further out we decided to try fishing in very close amongst the boulders. Unsurprisingly this produced a few ornate wrasse and Canary damselfish but eventually we caught an emerald wrasse each as well.

A welcome change from pesky puffers!

I then spotted a red lipped blenny on a submerged rock but, as they usually do, it turned its nose up at my piece of angleworm. After a while I gave up pestering it and began dropping a split shot rig down deep dark cracks between the rocks. After a while my rig got snagged, or so I thought. Pulling it free it came up with a crab's claw on the hook so I used a rock to break it open and put the meat from inside onto my hook. Dropping this down into a big hole saw me catching a few ornate wrasse and then I caught something different which had me rather excited! My third new species of the trip and my first ever hairy blenny.

This one is a female. The males have a bright red head.

After I caught a second female hairy blenny, Nick had caught a solitary derbio and we got fed up of the puffers we decided to break for some lunch. Tasty tapas were enjoyed along with refreshing cold drinks but as it was the middle of the day rather than go fishing again we jumped back in the car and headed to Arrecife to do some Pokemon hunting from the comfort of our air conditioned hire car. As I did a tour of the city Nick scanned the area for his target. I think we were on maybe our third or forth lap when Nick suddenly shouted "STOP THE CAR!". Before I even had a chance to put the hazard lights on he was out of the car and heading off back the way we had just come. I don't know much about Pokemon but I could tell by his expression as I watching him jog back to the car in the passenger door mirror that he had caught it.

Corsola, the tropic region specific Pokemon Nick's son had asked him to catch.

Whilst driving around Pokemon hunting we had spotted some locals fishing so we decided to go back to where they were to see what they were fishing for. It turned out they were targeting mullet, using the usual crude method of a string of hooks in half a baguette so we decided to spend an hour or so fishing for them too. There were lots around so using a loaf of bread we had in the boot of the car and a little bit more finesse in our approach than the locals we had soon caught two types free lining small pieces of flake.

Most of the mullet were the thick lipped variety...
...with the odd golden grey in amongst them.

After we'd caught about a dozen mullet Nick sat under a tree to get out of the sun while I fished on for a bit. We'd seen some big bass coming up to inspect the mullet we'd managed to hook as they thrashed around and I was keen to try and catch one. I tried fishing small paddletails but I didn't have any luck  and when I returned to Nick he said he'd found the location of a nearby health centre and wanted to have the burns on his ankle looked at. A wise decision I thought so off we went. I thought we'd be there for a while but after producing his European Health Insurance Card and filling in a form Nick's burn was cleaned up and dressed after a wait of about only twenty minutes. Very impressed by the service provided we headed back to Puerta del Carmen for a break.

In the evening after something to eat we popped down to the small pier to the right of Playa Chica where we caught a few nice fish. I caught a few cleaver wrasse and Nick caught a few wide eyed flounder. Nick then hooked a nice fish that stayed deep and gave his drag a workout. Once he had played it out I went down onto the rocks at the end of the pier to land it for him. I recognised it as a drum but had to do some research back at the apartment later on to identify it as a shi drum.

A nice fish for Nick that gave a good account of itself.

As it got dark it started to rain and whist this was quite pleasantly cooling, with its arrival the action died off completely so we decided to have an early night with the intention of an early start the next morning.

Up before sunrise as planned we stayed local and headed along the back of Puerto del Carmen's harbour with our lure gear to try for bigger fish. We thrashed the water with various lures for about two hours with no reward. We did see another angler in a group along from us on the rocks catch a small bonito but apart from that nobody else caught anything. Later in the day, after Nick had visited the local health centre to have his dressing changed, we went up to Arrecife and headed out to the end of the long breakwater we'd fished from earlier in the trip. Keen to add more species to our tally we decided to fish small baits on our ultra light tackle. This approach saw us catching plenty of fish including our first combers of the trip.

Most combers were the common variety...
...but we both caught a single painted comber each too.

After a while we switched to our lure setups and began fishing a variety of lures to see if there were any larger predators around. Predictably this resulted in fairly large lizardfish attacking our jigs and paddletails.

This big atlantic lizardfish took a brightly coloured Savage Gear Sandeel fitted with a stinger.

Whilst I was reeling in a lizardfish that had taken a jig I spotted a large barracuda following it. At over a meter in length it was the biggest barracuda I've ever seen and I thought it was going to grab the hooked fish but as it got closer it lost interest, turned away and disappeared with a powerful burst of speed. It was quite exciting just seeing it. We carried on fishing for a while but when the Port Police pulled up and politely informed us and some locals who were fishing nearby that fishing wasn't permitted where we were, we apologised, quickly packed up and left, deciding just to call it a night and have a drink back at the apartment.

Our last full day had arrived and we were still keen to add a few more species to our tally. Having a think about what I'd caught the last time I visited the island but hadn't caught this time we formulated a plan and headed to the back of Puerto del Carmen harbour to a spot I though might produce a planehead filefish. After a few dozen puffers and ornate wrasse I managed to catch a few of them.

The planhead filefish is a rather funky fish.

After a while things slowed down and the all that was biting was puffers so we walked along the coast to the small pier to the right of Playa Chica again. Things were pretty quiet in the open sea there too so we turned our attention to some nearby rockpools where we had a bit of fun sight fishing for the super aggressive gobies and blennies.

There were dozens of these Madeira gobies on the bottom of the rockpools in plain sight.
The rockpool blennies were a little more timid but soon darted out of their hiding places when a piece of irresistible angleworm was dangled in their vicinity.

There's only so much fun you can have pestering gobies and blennies so we decided to try a new spot off of the rocks at the opposite side of the beach.

We hoped that this spot might produce something new.

It was relatively shallow and sandy area and with the wind at our backs we were able to cover a lot of water. Plenty of fish were biting and we soon caught a few greater weevers, lizardfish and this poor wide eyed flounder that a large lizardfish assaulted and swallowed as I reeled it in. The poor flatfish got regurgitated as I lifted its assailant out of the water.

Lizardfish snack.

The last fish of the session, or should I say the fish that ended the session, was a greater weever which, despite me carefully attempting to shake it off the hook without touching it, managed to flip itself up and sting my thumb, drawing blood. A tingling sensation soon became a gradually intensifying painful throbbing so we quickly packed up and headed off so I could seek treatment. Luckily we were near a restaurant that offered me first aid in the form of several cups of very hot water that I spent fifteen minutes holding my thumb in. Afterwards my thumb was rather numb but the sharp pain had gone so we headed back to the apartment for some (purely medicinal) alcoholic beverages.

The next day was our final on the island and as we had to be at the airport later that morning we didn't do any fishing. After packing up our stuff and checking out we had a couple of hours to kill so we went for a drive trough the volcanic landscapes of the island's Timanfaya National Park and then stopped off at the César Manrique Foundation on our way to the airport.

Examples of César Manrique's work can be found all over Lanzarote. This colourful metal sculpture is animated by the wind.
This piece of César Manrique art was obviously inspired by the islands volcanic origins.
  Manrique believed in the harmony of man and nature. A great example of his philosophy is this window in his home. It looks like the lava has poured in from outside through the glass.

Seeing a bit of the island's strange volcanic landscape and taking in a bit of culture was a nice relaxing way to end the trip and bring our adventure on Lanzarote to a close. I love that part of the world and leaving is always tinged with a little sadness but I'll be back soon for sure.

Farewell again Lanzarote.

It had been an fantastic trip and our species hunting had been a great success. Between us we caught thirty seven different species.

Here's a summary of what I caught, new species are in bold...
  1. Annular Seabream
  2. Atlantic Bonito
  3. Atlantic Lizardfish
  4. Axillary Seabream
  5. Azores Damselfish 
  6. Bass
  7. Bermuda Sea Chub
  8. Bogue
  9. Canary Damselfish
  10. Cardinalfish
  11. Cleaver Wrasse/Pearly Razorfish
  12. Common Comber
  13. Common Pandora
  14. Common Two Banded Seabream
  15. Couch's Seabream
  16. Diamond Lizardfish 
  17. Emerald Wrasse
  18. Gilthead Seabream
  19. Golden Grey Mullet
  20. Greater Weever
  21. Guinean Puffer
  22. Hairy Blenny
  23. Macronesian Sharpmose Puffer
  24. Madeira Goby
  25. Madeira Rockfish
  26. Ornate Wrasse 
  27. Painted Comber
  28. Planehead Filefish
  29. Rockpool Blenny
  30. Saddled Seabream
  31. Striped Seabream
  32. Thick Lipped Mullet
  33. Wide Eyed Flounder are the species Nick caught that I didn't...
  1. Derbio
  2. Shi Drum
  3. White Seabream
...and I have to include the pesky Pokemon. A fair amount of time driving around Arrecife and a lot of money on mobile data were spent hunting for it.
  1. Corsola
Overall we had a great time and obviously the highlight of the week for me was catching my first Atlantic bonito. On light game tackle it was an unforgettable, awesome experience that will really take some beating. Since returning my Rock Rover has been re-branded.

Cracking rod.

The trip wasn't without it's mishaps. Nick's sunburnt ankle and me being stung by a weever being the main two. These painful accidents are memorable all the same and memories is what it's all about at the end of the day. One thing we didn't do was take the ferry over to Lanzarote's northerly neighbour, La Graciosa. Maybe during a future visit to Lanzarote I'll make it over or perhaps La Graciosa warrants spending an entire holiday. Hmmm. There's a thought.

Tight lines, Scott.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

More species hunting adventures on Lanzarote : Part 2.

On day four after my mild hangover had gone, Nick had got some dressings for his badly blistered ankle and we'd had a siesta to avoid the hottest part of the day, we were ready to fish again and headed to the back of the ferry terminal in Playa Blanca for an evening session. When we arrived there were quite a lot of small baitfish around and we spotted a few small barracuda lurking around, picking the odd one off at the margins of the shoals. As I only had my light game setup with me a small 7g metal was quickly clipped on and I tried to tempt one of the streamlined toothy predators. After a while I eventually managed to get a barracuda to follow my metal but unfortunately couldn't induce a take. After a while the bait fish slowly dispersed and the hunters disappeared so I switched to good old angleworm on a dropshot rig. It soon became evident that there were a lot of axillary seabream around and I was catching one almost every cast. Nick, who had been fishing larger metals on his lure rod, switched to similar tactics too and we were soon both catching lots of fish.

Axillary seabream are also known as Spanish seabream. They have a dark spot at the base of their pectoral fin (covered by my fat thumb) and the inside of their mouth is bright red (not photographed).

As well as the steady stream of axillary seabream we also caught a load of puffers and ornate wrasse whenever our rigs got closer in without us getting a bit further out. I also caught a few annular seabream and a cleaver wrasse. Cleaver wrasse are a very cool fish, colourful and quite unusual in appearance being very thin and sporting some weird goofy fangs.

Most of the puffers we caught were the fairly drab brown Guinean variety but occasionally a Macronesian sharpnose puffer would get caught. They are quite nice to look at with their bright blue spots and yellow eyes. Still quite annoying when they're destroying your lure and line though.
Yet another seabream species was added to our trips tally with the annular seabream.
Cleaver wrasse are a very funky fish. They are also known as pearly razorfish and can bury themselves in sandy sea floors.

For a little while I tried fishing down in amongst the rocks to see if I could catch a hairy blenny. I didn't get one but after a few Madeira rockfish I caught a cardinalfish. Normally these are caught after dark so it was a good opportunity to get a good photo of one.

All head and mouth, Cardinalfish normally hide during the day and usually only come out into open water after dark.

As the sun got low in the sky I decided to clip on a metal jig again and see if I could tempt a barracuda. Having no luck after a while I decided to change to a different metal with a different action and I also added a dressed treble to it. It was a cheap lure but as the weight was distributed towards the back it wiggled nicely even on a slow retrieve. First cast with it and about half way in I felt a solid take. So aggressive that my rod was almost wrenched out of my hand in fact. My drag soon began screaming as something very powerful headed off on the first of many searing runs.

The fish heads towards Fuertaventura.

It was obviously a large fish, much bigger than the small barracuda that we had seen earlier so I was slightly worried that if whatever it was on the end had teeth it might cut through my 6lb leader but I managed to stay calm and resisted the temptation to apply too much pressure. Playing the fish cautiously it eventually began to tire but it was about fifteen minutes before an Atlantic bonito finally came into view. It still wasn't beaten though and it took another five minutes or so to get it in close enough to attempt landing it. Eventually the fish was beaten and I managed to get it in close enough to where Nick, who had scrambled some the slippery rocks into a landing position, did a superb job of grabbing it.

My first Atlantic bonito is a fish I'll never forget! It was 60cm long with an estimated weight of 7lb. What a powerhouse and it gave an absolutely awesome fight on my HTO Rock Rover.
The small metal that the fish took. I'm glad I swapped the treble out. It was stronger than the one it replaced but was still slightly bent out. The fish had been hooked in the upper jaw. Had it taken the lure inside its mouth my 6lb leader would been bitten through by its razor sharp teeth.

I was on quite a high having just caught easily the biggest and most powerful fish I've ever had on light game tackle. Keeping my cool, a huge slice of luck with the hook placement and Nick's fish landing skills had all played a part in successfully landing the fish and the fight it put up was incredibly exhilarating. My heart was still pounding as I sat on a huge volcanic boulder and as I tried to fully process what had just occurred it all felt a bit surreal if I'm honest. Nick fished on for a bit but after a while with no action we decided to head home to talk about what had happened over some food and a few celebratory drinks.

Tight lines, Scott.

Monday, May 22, 2017

More species hunting adventures on Lanzarote : Part 1.

When my mate Nick asked me where he could go for a cheap break on his own I recommended the Canary Islands or Madeira. He ended up booking up a week's holiday on Lanzarote. I say holiday but between him booking up and me asking if I could join him a few months had passed and by that point his itinerary was shaping up into what sounded to me like some kind of "Tinder rampage". Anyway, once he said I could be his wingman and I booked up all thoughts of exotic birds were put on the back burner and we began planning what exotic fish we'd like to catch instead. We flew out on the 4th of May and after dumping our bags at our apartment in Puerto del Carmen we hit the nearest rocks. Lessons learnt from our trip to Fuertaventura about the dangers of the sun we slapped on plenty of factor fifty and braved the midday heat.

Blue sky, blue sea, fish biting and a cooling Atlantic breeze. It was good to be back on Lanzarote.

There was nothing fancy about our style of fishing. Angleworm and fish fry on drop shot rigs were soon catching all the usual species found at close range, damselfish, ornate wrasse and puffers being the main species fighting over our highly attractive offerings.

Shoals of Canary damselfish hug the rocks at close range.
Puffers soon started destroying our lures and damaging our line. Truth be told they are a bit of a nuisance although when they do this party trick it's quite amusing.
Azores damselfish were a slightly less common capture. The seem to be greatly outnumbered by their darker cousins. Another pretty little fish.
This saddled seabream was probably the biggest fish of our first session and was good fun on my light game setup.

Being quite tired from the early start, travel and fishing in the sun we had a reasonably sensible evening and in the morning we got up early and headed to a rock mark in Playa Blanca for first light. We started fishing with light lure gear in an attempt to catch bonito, bluefish or barracuda but after thrashing the water with a few different lures until the sun was up all we had managed to catch between us was a solitary greater weever that took my Savage Gear psycho sprat jig. Nick persisted fishing larger lures for a while but I switched to light game gear which soon had me catching a few smaller fish.

This Couch's seabream was amongst the fish I caught.

In the afternoon we headed to the back of Playa Blanca's ferry port to fish from the rocks on its outer breakwater. This produced a few ornate wrasse, damselfish, puffers and a few common pandora along with some axillary seabream and bogue. It was noticeable that the last species became much more active when ever the ferry passed by. No doubt the bottom being churned up by its propellers was producing some food for them and encouraging them to feed.

A small bogue.

On day three we headed along the coast to fish from the rocks into the mouth of Puerto Calero's large marina. Whilst I fishing angleworm on a drop shot rig Nick tried fishing a large bait under a float but this didn't interest anything so he tried ledgering a bait instead. This eventually produced a nice gilthead seabream. In the afternoon I decided to get smelly hands too and fished slivers of squid. We fished well into the afternoon and added a few more species to our tally including some nice seabream.

Striped seabream.
I caught a nice gilthead too.

Later on a small shoal of juvenile bass arrived that kept coming into close range. Freelining small chunks of squid proved an effective way to catch them. In amongst the bass were some other fish that I thought were salema but when I caught two of them I realised they were in fact a new species but I had no idea what they were. My knowledge of the fish species of the Canaries is now pretty good so this in itself was quite exciting!

I'd later discover that my first new species of the trip were Bermuda sea chub.

Heading back to the apartment for something to eat and without the wind cooling us it soon became apparent that Nick had missed a part of his ankle when applying his factor fifty and had burnt it qite badly. In the evening we headed up to Arrecife to check out a few spots and ended up walking all the way out to the end of a breakwater that extended quite far out to sea. Parking the car had proved difficult and the car park we eventually found closed at 22:00 so we didn't fish for long. Amongst all of the ornate wrasse and puffers Nick caught a nice white seabream. Once it got dark we caught a few saddled seabream as well before calling a night.

We were really racking up the seabream species.
The sun sets over the island.

As we walked back to the car Nick explained that his son Harry had asked him to try and catch a rare region specific Pokemon for him and as we drove out of Arrecife he spotted the one he'd been tasked with catching. We were driving along a one way street when he spotted it on the map though so we couldn't stop the car to get closer so we agreed to return to the spot where he'd seen it another day. Back at the apartment we overdid the cerveza and honey rum a little and had a lie in the next day. The start of the holiday had been great and we had caught a lot of fish. The best was still to come though.

Tight lines, Scott.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Nuclear fishin.

I spent a few hours down at Torness Power Station outflow yesterday pestering the resident bass again. After catching a few at distance on a slowly retrieved metal and a jighead mounted paddletail I switched to jigging micro metals at close range. It was great fun and I even saw some of the takes as the fish came from the bottom to grab the lure which is always exciting.

I fished a few diffirent micro jigs and the bass were loving them. This one is a cheap and cheerful Hart X-Mebaru jig with one of my own assist hooks attached to the top using a micro clip. Almost all the fish were nicely lip hooked. Great for catch and release.

I like fishing with metals and it's really something I should do more often. With doing so in mind I think I'm going to be stocking up on more jigs in the 3-5g range. I might get the vice out and tie up some more micro assist hooks to use with them as well.

Tight lines, Scott.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Fin perfect.

I caught a few small bass today on one of my favourite metals, the Reins Palpuntin. Their spiky dorsal fin looks pretty damn cool. 

Monday, March 06, 2017

More light game fun on Madeira.

I enjoyed a week's holiday down on Madeira last month. It was a family holiday but as ever I managed to squeeze some tackle into my suitcase and did a spot of light game fishing. Conditions varied throughout the week but as the island is small and we had a hire car I always managed to find some shelter and did a bit of fishing. There were no real surprises in what was caught although I did catch a few sand smelt that looked quite different to the ones I've caught before in the UK and I'd later discover they were a new species.

The first day it was pretty wet. Especially up in the valley where we were staying.
For my first session I started off fishing inside Porto Moniz's deep harbour. Things were pretty slow but I eventually caught some ornate wrasse which were present at short range amongst rocks and close to the harbour's walls.
Aggressive and toothy lizardfish were caught further out. Both the diamond and Atlantic varieties were in their usual full on kamikaze mood and I caught both.
Canary damselfish were another species I caught. Pretty little things.

Towards the end of my first session I tried fishing from a new spot on the rocks at the back of the large swimming pools at Porto Moniz. It was a nice mark and after catching a few more small fish I hooked something bigger straight down the side which had my rod bend over and tried its best to get into the rocks. After a couple of hairy moments a dusky grouper appeared on the surface, beaten I thought, but it managed to throw the hook with one last thrash as I got into position to land it.

A nice spot but a change in the wind's direction during the night would prevent me returning due to the swell which was a shame.

The following afternoon we drove up onto the plains at the western end of the island and then back down the winding cliffside roads where we had lunch in Porto Moniz. On the way back to Sao Vincente we stopped and I had an hour or so to fish.

The apartment had a lovely garden and when the sun came out so did the lizards.
Considering it is basically a large lump of volcanic rock Madeira is an incredibly lush island.

As well as revisiting places I fished the last time I was on the island I tried a few new spots as well. This spot near Seixal looked good on Google Maps and access was pretty easy too as there was a road all the way down leading to a swimming pool at the bottom.

Looked quite promising.
Drop shot rigs were the main method I employed during the trip. In deep water and windy conditions they offer great control and a lot of the fish are near the bottom anyway.
I fished at the end of a strange twisted lava rock formation. Again though the fishing was tough and most bites came at close range from the usual suspects.
Puffers are cool fish but generally are a bit of a pain. They bite soft plastics to pieces with their razor sharp teeth often damaging your line in the process. Occasionally I'd manage to hook one.

Half way through the trip the girls spent a day walking in the forests around the valley where we were staying and I got the use of the car. I headed to the South coast of the island to fish a few spots there hoping for flatter seas as the wind was now coming from a northerly direction. The harbour at Ribeira Brava was my first stop and it had a big shoal of small fish taking shelter in it. Rigging up a 3g jig with a tiny treble hook and twitching it through them soon saw me discovering what they were. Most were tiny Atlantic chub mackerel but I also caught what I'd later discover were my first ever big scale sand smelt. 

The big scale sand smelt has a much shorter snout and less scales along its lateral line than the variety that is found in the UK.

Afterwards I headed further west to explore some more new spots but overall the fishing was really pretty poor and I ended up heading back up the west coast to Porto Moniz again where I sought shelter inside the harbour. Ornate wrasse, lizardfish  and Canary damselfish again made up the bulk of the fish caught but I also added a few more species to my tally in the shape of a Madeira rockfish and parrotfish.

Small but...
...perfectly formed.

Before I left to head back for dinner I tried a new spot further round inside the harbour which was much shallower and had a bit more structure on the bottom in the form of some rocky areas. This held a few common two banded seabream.

Good fun on my ultra light tackle..

On the way back to Sao Vincente I couldn't resist popping down to revisit the harbour in Seixal. The last time I was on the island and briefly fished it the water inside was very dirty but on this occasion it was very clear and this made it much easier to quickly catch a few of my target species. After shaking a few off the hook I decided not to risk being stung any longer and called an end to catching poisonous fish.

Siexal harbour is full of fine black sand. The lesser weevers that spend most of their time buried in it have adapted to match.

Towards the end of our trip we headed all the way up into the island's mountains again to visit the small village of Santana. There we saw some examples of what typical houses on the island looked like in the past.

Quaint little dwellings.
After visiting Santana we went down to the coastal town of Porto da Cruz for lunch. Before we left I did have a few chucks here from the rocks at the western end of the beach but sadly all they produced were a solitary ornate wrasse.

On the last full day of the trip the girls wanted to spend the day shopping and exploring the capital Funchal. After dropping them off I headed east and tried a final new spot, a small concrete pier below the cliffs at Porto Novo. The water there was very deep and I enjoyed my most productive session of the trip in terms of the number of fish caught. I added two more species to my tally in the shape of a few saddled seabream and common pandora. I also saw some very brief surface activity at one point but by the time I had rigged up a jig and cast it towards the area it had all ceased again.

My last few fish of the trip were common pandora.

Fishing in the winter can be tough and I think the fishing on Madeira, relatively speaking, is the same. Both times I've visited the island in February and I really need to visit in the summer as I think the fishing will be so much better and I now have a fairly good knowledge of different marks to fish. Maybe next year I'll do just that but in the mean time I've got a few more holidays booked this year to look forward to. I'm off to Lanzarote with my mate Nick at the start of May for a week's fishing and we might pop over to La Graciosa to see what the fishing is like over there as well. At the end of August I'm off to the western end of Crete with Lillian for a fortnight and some tackle will be going too. You an't beat some foreign light game fun. Even when it's poor it's still better than going out in the freezing cold here! That being said, I've not been out fishing in the UK for way too long and that is something I plan on rectifying soon.

Tight lines, Scott.