Friday, October 25, 2013

Species hunting adventures on Crete : Part 3.

On the sixth day of our holiday the wind had dropped off considerably so we decided to head up the coast to Plaka and take the boat over to Spinalonga. We got up there quite early and this meant I had an hour or so to fish at the harbour again. Drop shotting Gulp! Angleworm was soon producing a few different species again but nothing new. After a short while I thought I had found a snag but then it started moving. Slowly pulling it up whatever was holding on gave a couple of tugs before I spotted what it was. An octopus. I managed to get it up to the surface but it let go and swam off again. Still quite cool and Lillian was quite excited too as she loves them.

Not the last one we'd see. Octopus were quite common and I hooked a few only to lose them near the surface each time.

After spending a couple of hours rambling around the former leper colony we got the boat back to Plaka and I got permission to fish for a bit around the harbour again. Again fishing Gulp! on a drop shot rig I caught lots of fish and after a while hooked a small fish that put up quite a scrap for its size. No surprise really when I landed it and found out what it was.

These fiesty little blue runner gave a great account of themselves.

At this point I spotted some small European barracuda swimming along a few meters out from the harbour wall and decided to try and catch one. It didn't seem to matter what I tried though they just didn't seem interested. Just before we left though I did get a nice little reward for my efforts when I caught a small dusky grouper.

This fish took a small paddletail on a jighead worked quite aggresively through the boulders at the end of the harbour.

The following day we headed back to Agios Nikolaos to go on the semi submarine boat trip. I have to say I was quite sceptical about what we would see but the variety of fish was quite good even if by this point in the trip I had caught most of the species we saw! One fish that we saw though was the obvious exception. European barracuda. This made me even more determined to catch one and the amount we saw swimming about under the boat made me confident that there were plenty around to be caught. Obviously while you are down below the surface in the glass panelled hold of the boat there are guys up on deck throwing in groundbait to attract the fish but when a turtle appeared and swam around the boat a few times even I was pleasantly surprised.

"Oh my God, it's coming back again!" exclaimed one women who obviously didn't spot all the free food appearing from above.

Back on dry land it was a very hot day so after popping to the fishmonger for a few prawns we headed to a sheltered spot at the back corner of "The Lake" where Lillian relaxed under a big tree whilst I fished away for an hour or so. This time I decided to fish a small chunk of my chosen bait under a small waggler float. Plenty of fish caught again and as I peeled my prawns and threw the heads and shells into the shallow water to my left I noticed some small gobies fighting over them when they reached the sandy bottom. A quick dangle of my baited hook in their vicinty saw me catch a few of them.

Plenty of Bucchich's gobies at the back corner of "The Lake" if you love gobies as much as me.

The next day we headed up west along the north coast and on the way back stopped off at the picturesque Bali. I'd seen photographs online of flying gurnards that had been taken there so was hoping I may get lucky and catch one. As I was fishing a small group of little garfish swam into the harbour so I quickly tied on a #26 hook, baited it with a tiny piece of prawn and freelined it on the surface. One of them came right over and took it straight away hooking itself in the process. I quickly hoisted it up and just as well as it fell off the hook as soon as it was in my hand.

Isn't that adorable?

I carried on fishing but didn't manage anything new. Lillian then spotted an octopus climbing up the harbour wall that kept dissapearing into cracks and reappearing again to continue its ascent. It came all the way up to just under the surface and had a staring contest with Lillian before heading back down the wall into a crack.

They are pretty cool.

Lillian then spotted a fish on the harbour wall and when she pointed it out to me I thought it was a blenny or a goby. Knowing how obliging they both normally are I lowered a chunk of prawn down in front of its face and sure enough it quickly gobbled it whole. Quickly hoisted up I realised it was a goby. But what kind?

I'm still not sure if this is a juvenile giant goby, a very large rock goby or another Mediterranean species.

We were now past the half way point of our holiday and whilst I was still enjoying my little short sessions here and there and catching plenty of fish in the process I decided the following day to try a different approach to see what I could catch. With the wind forecast to drop right off it was time to hire a small boat and hit the open sea!

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