Saturday, January 13, 2018

Species hunting on Gran Canaria : Part 2.

Having reached the midway point of our holiday and having only explored the coast we were keen to see a bit more of the island. We decided to chance our luck with half a day fishing in a dam without the required licenses. Given the license only costs €3.22 for tourists we figured it was hardly crime of the century and really if had been a lot easier to obtain one we would have happily paid for them. Anyway, off up into the island's interior we went and the scenery as we drove was breathtaking. 

The drive was enjoyable until I noticed how much fuel the ascent was using and got a little worried that we might run out before being able get more petrol!
We pulled over and whilst I tried to find out where the nearest petrol station was Ross and Lee photographed this woodpecker that was battering a hole in a roadside tree.

After successfully locating a small town with a petrol station and filling the tank we headed to our chosen dam to target largemouth bass. Things were slow but making our way around it we eventually started getting a few hits on various types of lures. After hooking and loosing a couple of fish Lee and I managed to land a few small largemouth bass. Unfortunately Ross, who'd never caught one before, didn't manage to get one before we left.

My only largemouth bass of the session took a small Salmo plug.

Having successfully avoided the authorities we headed back down out of the mountains to fish legally only to find it was quite windy with a bit of a swell running on the coast. We visited a few new marks that I thought might be potentially more sheltered but couldn't figure out how access some of them and at the last one the fishing was pretty poor so we threw in the towel and headed back to the apartment to relax and have an early night in preparation for another sunrise session the following day.

Returning to Puerto Rico again early in the morning armed with lure gear we had another go for barracuda and bonito but after a few hours nothing had shown any interest in our lures.

Ross casts out a jig as the sun rises.

Whilst Lee persevered with his lure gear once the sun had risen, Ross and I switched to much lighter tackle. We quickly caught some rockpool blenny and madeira goby to add to our tally before switching our attention to a parrotfish that we spotted swimming in and out of the submerged boulders at close range. While we were trying to catch it Ross looked up to see Lee was into a fish. It turned out to be a barracuda but sadly it managed to escape when it thrashed on the surface just as Lee was about to lift it up onto the rocks. He was gutted and understandably so, Lee and I have a pretty poor record when it comes to barracuda with neither of us having successfully landed one of any size. Shortly afterwards we headed back to the apartment and later in the day we headed back out again, returning to Puerto de Sardina taking both our ultra light tackle and our heavy bait gear. Upon arrival we had some fun with the smaller fish and I set about catching a few more Molly Miller. After catching them the day before I had bought a box of Ferrero Rocher and the contents had been devoured so I could use it to get some better photos of their funky "hair".  

Molly Miller has a punk hair style.

Fishing away we spotted some Zebra seabream in amongst the canary damselfish and ornate wrasse, a species none of us had caught before. The other species around them were much more aggressive however and getting through them proved difficult but eventually we managed to catch a few zebra seabream.

The aptly named Zebra seabream. My third new species of the trip.

As darkness fell we packed up the ultra light tackle, got out the heavy gear and fished large fish baits for shark species. After less than an hour the ratchet on Ross's reel started to click and after letting the bite develop a little he wound down and hooked into a nice fish. After a few runs a nice spiny butterfly stingray came to the surface and after making several attempts to get back to the bottom it was eventually beaten and was successfully landed with help from Lee on the pier's nearby slipway. 

Ross's first cast saw him catch his first spiny butterfly ray and also saw Lee get a little wet.

All excited by this capture we were hopeful this would just be the first of a few but sadly it turned out to be the only fish of the session with the only other brief bit of excitement coming when my rod registered some interest but that turned out just to be an octopus. Pretty tired from a fairly long day we headed back to the apartment.

On the seventh and final full day of the trip we headed to Las Palmas to see if there was anywhere inside its massive harbour area where we could fish. The areas we wanted to fish were all sadly out of bounds but eventually we found a marina where a fishing competition was taking place, located a nice shady spot and began fishing, enjoying a few cold beers. Apart from the zebra seabream the lack of seabream species during the trip had been was noticeable but at this spot we caught a few over a couple of hours in the shape of common pandora, black seabream and common two banded seabream.

It was nice to catch a few more bream species. I caught this black seabream.
Ross and Lee caught a few common two banded seabream.

Feeling hungry we then had a break and enjoyed some tasty Paella, Canarian potatoes and a few more cold beers in a nearby restaurant before having a couple more hours fishing into darkness. Lee and Ross fished heavier tackle in the hope of catching a larger predatory species but didn't have any luck. I fished small baits on ultra light gear and once the sun set I caught lots of bastard grunt.

Our last day on the island had arrived and we got up early and visited a nearby harbour for one last go for larger stuff at sunrise. Sadly the mark was a lot shallower than we had anticipated and we had no luck so we headed back to the apartment to pack and load our cases into the car. As we still had a bit of time to kill we decided to drive all the way back to Puerto de Sardina again for a few final hour's fishing. A bit of groundbait soon drew in several shoals of small fish and we caught loads of bogue, derbio, white trevelly, a few garfish and some puffers.

The puffers, whilst not as prolific as previous trips to Canaries, were still quite annoying, destroying lures and damaging line with their sharp teeth. This Macronesian sharpnose puffer did have some lovely blue markings on it.

Below the shoals of smaller fish there were a few parrotfish moving around so I dropped down a bigger chunk of prawn to try and tempt one. My bait was barely on the bottom when something came out of the rocks, grabbed it and tried to get back into it's ambush position. It put a a decent scrap but hopes of a nice parrotfish were dashed when a nice black scorpionfish appeared.

Scorpionfishes rock so I wasn't too upset that it wasn't a nice parrotfish.

We were having lots of fun but soon it was time to put the gear into the cases and head to the airport bringing another fishing trip on foreign soil to an end. We'd caught lots of fish using a variety of methods and had a great time on the island.

Here's a quick summary of what was caught...

I caught the following species with new ones in bold...
  1. Atlantic Lizardfish
  2. Bass
  3. Bastard Grunt
  4. Black Scorpionfish
  5. Black Seabream
  6. Bogue
  7. Canary Damselfish
  8. Cardinalfish
  9. Cleaver Wrasse
  10. Derbio
  11. Diamond Lizardfish
  12. Garfish
  13. Greater Weever
  14. Guinean Puffer
  15. Large Mouth Bass
  16. Macronesian Puffer
  17. Madeira Goby
  18. Madeira Rockfish
  19. Molly Miller
  20. Ornate Wrasse
  21. Pandora
  22. Rockpool Blenny
  23. Thick Lipped Mullet
  24. Wide Eyed Flounder
  25. White Trevally
  26. Zebra Seabream
Lee and Ross also caught...

  1. Black Tailed Comber
  2. Common Two Banded Seabream
  3. Gilthead Seabream
  4. Salema
  5. Spanish Sardine
  6. Spiny Butterfly Ray
  7. White Seabream
More importantly though the three of us had really enjoyed each others company and hopefully it won't be too long before the three of us are fishing together again. We've all agreed that we need to meet up more often and later this year the three of us are planning a week's fishing on a Greek island, most likely Crete. I'm really looking forward to another fishing adventure with these two lads.

Tight lines, Scott.

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