Saturday, January 06, 2018

Species hunting on Gran Canaria : Part 1.

At the beginning of December I flew out to Gran Canaria with two of my mates. It had been a while since myself, Lee and Ross had fished together so we were all really looking forward to the trip. Arriving at our apartment in the early evening we grabbed our light game gear from our luggage, jumped back into our hire  car and headed to nearby Arinaga to fish on a small pier there. Someone was already fishing on it when we arrived.

As the tide was out it didn't look like a great spot he'd chosen so we fished along from him.

It was good to be fishing together again and as light faded we got our species hunt started with a few greater weevers, Atlantic lizardfish and the odd Madeira rockfish. Once it was dark we began catching lots of bastard grunt and a few cardinalfish. It was a good start to our species hunting but as we were quite tired from the day's travelling we didn't stay out too long and headed back to our apartment, stopping at the supermarket on the way to get some food and the ingredients needed to make a few litres of sangria.

The next morning we headed to Puerto Rico and fished from the rocks on the outside of Playa de Amadores' southern breakwater. This saw us add a few more species to our tally as we caught two species of puffers and the first of many ornate wrasse and Canary damselfish. Fishing over a sandy area further out amongst some greater weevers and Atlantic lizardfish I also caught a solitary cleaver wrasse. It looked like a promising spot for predatory species and there were plenty baitfish around. Ross managed to catch a couple of them and they turned out to be Spanish sardines. As another angler left he told us that he'd caught an Atlantic bonito earlier that morning so we'd found somewhere for sunrise sessions.

Canary damselfish are pretty little things. Aggressive too but usually the ornate wrasse beat them to the angleworm.
This cleaver wrasse made a nice change from the other more prolific sand dwelling species.

Things slowed down a bit so in the afternoon so we decided to check out Puerto de Mogán a little further along the coast. Things were pretty slow there too though and the wind had also picked up restricting where we could fish. We still managed to add a few more species to our tally in the shape of a small bass and a wide eyed flounder.

Wide eyed flounder are such cool little floral patterned flatfish.

On the way back to our apartment we stopped in Maspalomas to check out a lake that supposedly had tilapia in it but as there were no fishing signs every few metres we opted to fish over a shallow reef near the town's imposing lighthouse. We didn't stay too long but we managed to catch some bastard grunt, derbio and gilthead seabream before we called it a day and headed back to the apartment for some food and a few glasses of sangria.

Derbio are pretty cool fish. I'd love to catch some bigger ones.

On day three we got up early and headed to Puerto Rico again before sunrise to have a go for larger species with lure gear on the outside of Playa de Amadores' southern breakwater. We thrashed the water for a few hours but had no luck tempting anything on our metals, plugs and soft plastics. In the afternoon we headed all the way around to the north west of the island and after a spot of lunch fished from the huge concrete blocks at the back of Puerto de las Nieves' harbour. Lee and I weren't as comfortable clambering around on them as Ross was but eventually we found a couple of reasonably flat spots to fish from. I spent a fair bit of time trying to catch a redlip blenny but as usual despite there being a few sitting on the submerged blocks they were not interested in anything I put in front of them. Ross caught his first cleaver wrasse and Lee caught his first black tailed comber before we decided to call it a day.

Lee's first ever blacktail comber took an Ami shrimp lure fished on a drop shot rig.

On day four we headed to Las Palmas to try and sort out freshwater licences so we could fish in the island's dams. We knew the process was going to be time consuming and generally a bit of pain but after visiting the first government building it became a farce when after waiting forty minutes in a bank to pay for our licenses we were then told they could not process our forms due to a problem with their computers. We visited a second bank but it was extremely busy and fearing we'd wait there for ages only to be told they couldn't process the payment either we decided to give up and headed back to the car. After a quick look on Google Maps we headed to some nearby rocks on the coast. We'd taken some bread with us so Ross quickly made up some groundbait and it didn't take long for a shoal of mullet to arrive. We soon established which species they were by catching some of them on freelined bread.

What a fat little thick lipped mullet!

After an hour or so we decided to head west again this time to check out a mark that we could potentially return to and fish with heavy bait gear for shark species. On the way we stopped at a supermarket for some lunch and bought a packet of frozen raw prawns. Down at Puerto de Sardina we fished from a small stone pier and it looked like a promising spot for a night time session. We had some bread left over so Ross quickly added some water to the bag to make up some more groundbait. Several shoals of fish soon arrived and we added a few more species to our tally in the shape of bogue, garfish, salema, white seabream and diamond lizardfish. I also got a nice surprise in the shape of a small white trevally, my first new species of the trip.

I've seen Lee catch one of these when we fished together on Madeira back in 2015.

I then decided to frustrate myself pestering the redlip blennies again. As ever there were loads of them just sitting on submerged rocks but as they graze on algae from the rocks getting them to eat anything else is tough work. I couldn't tempt one but whilst trying I did catch another blenny that I didn't recognise. It had quite distinctive "hair" though so identifying it later was pretty easy. Don't ask me where the name comes form though!

Meet Molly Miller. Yes this species of blenny is simply called Molly Miller. I can't find out why though and if you know I'd be interested to here the origin of this blenny's name.

Before we left we moved and tried fishing into darkness from some rocks on a nearby beach but all this produced after a couple of hours was a endless greater weevers so we packed up and headed back to the apartment. We'd reached the halfway point of our trip and apart from wasting a morning on our failed attempts to obtain a fishing license for the island's dams we were having a good time. Hard not to when you're catching a few fish in the sunshine and ending each day with a homemade sangria or two.

Tight lines, Scott.

Click here for the second part.

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