Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Species hunting adventures on Lanzarote : Part 3.

Not normally an early riser but now into a bit of a routine, early on Thursday morning I headed down to the small pier again. Sticking with Gulp! Angleworm fished on a dropshot rig but using #6 hooks to try and avoid catching lots of damselfish the first few fish I caught were painted combers followed by an Atlantic lizardfish.

My first painted comber of the trip. I was still hopeful that his black tailed cousin might show up.
A nice big chunky Atlantic lizardfish. He has a cousin too that I've never caught before, the diamond lizardfish.
Careful unhooking is required due to those sharp needle like teeth. A firm grip too as they tend to roll around a bit like a crocodile doing a "death roll"!

I then watched as some fairly big silvery/grey fish turned up and proceeded to graze on the rocks on the sea floor. Try as I might I could not tempt them from their rock scraping patrols and then I realised that they were male parrrotfish, another species I caught last year on Crete. I persevered and my efforts were rewarded when a small group of white seabream arrived and one of them took my lure.

This white seabream was another species added to my tally taking me to twenty one for the trip.

I kept trying to tempt the parrotfish but eventually they moved off again so I turned my attention to the boulders to the right of the pier closer to the rocky sea defences to see if there were any blacktail combers hiding in them. Dropping my rig down in between them my rod tip soon arched over as a scorpionfish shot out, grabbed my lure and made a dash for cover. Quickly applying a little pressure I kept the small feisty fish out of snags and hoisted it up. Unhooked and returned I immediately repeated the feat in the next gap I tried.

Scorpionfish are poisonous. Handle them with care. I prefer a lip grip and a supporting finger but watch out for the two sharp venom delivering spines at the front of their anal fin!
Scorpionfish are also pretty cool. These ones had nice brown and white fine spotting over their heads and bodies and a pink tinge to their lips and lower body.
Again we had a trip planned for the late morning and early afternoon so after a couple of hours I headed back to meet the girls. Off we went to the Timanfaya National Park to see more the Island's volcanic landscape and also enjoy a spot of lunch. On the way we stopped at the Timanfaya Interpretation and Visitors’ Centre where we looked at some excellent displays explaining the geological processes behind the formation of the island. After taking a look at the many excellent multimedia exhibits on offer we were back on the road and driving a couple more miles into the "Mountains of Fire" soon arrived at the Timanfaya Nation Park visitor centre. The park is strictly controlled and to see it you have to do so by coach so we did just that and were soon travelling through some very strange landscapes.

Due to lack of rain on the island the area haven't changed much since it was formed by volcanic eruptions almost two centuries ago.
Strange irregularly shaped lumps of molten rock ejected from the volcanoes form lava fields.
Other areas are made up of what looks like red dust. This looks like it could be a landscape from Mars.

After just under an hour we arrived back at the visitor centre and popped into the El Diablo restaurant located there for lunch. Most of the meat and fish dishes there are prepared on metal grills over an open pit using rising geothermal heat, a quite unique way to cook and we were all looking forward to some rare steak.

The Timanfaya El Diablo logo. Designed by César Manrique.
Chicken is cooked at lava mark 7.

Thoroughly satisfied with what we all agreed were some of the best steaks we have ever had we headed back to Puerto Del Carmen for a siesta. In the evening I headed to the harbour breakwater rocks armed with my Argento Compatto to try for some larger fish on metals again. Before I did that though I rigged up a running ledger with a 15lb hook length and a #2 hook to use up the remainder of my fish baits. Things were surprisingly slow apart from my rod tip twitching away as small fish slowly removed my mackerel strips from my hook in small mouthfuls. The cessation of these rhythmic movements signalling that my bait was gone. This meant my bait ran out fairly quickly with a couple of bogue and a single black seabream being the only fish caught in just over an hour.

A nice little black seabream. My twenty second species of the trip. My first black seabream from the shore too.

By the time light began to fade my bait had run out so I tied on a 20lb wire trace and clipped on a casting jig to see if there were any bigger fish around but an hour or so thrashing the water, trying various depths and retrieves sadly produced nothing again.

On Friday I decided to have a lie in and late in the morning the three of us jumped in the car and headed off to explore the north of the island. I put my Finezza Compatto in the boot but no opportunities to fish arose. First up on our mini tour was the Jardin de Cactus.

There are no prizes for guessing who designed the cactus gardens. That's right it was César Manrique. They contain an impressive selection of succulents from all over the world. There were goldfish in the ponds but I thought better of it.

We then continued north to visit the Jameos del Agua, a cavernous complex that is used as a natural concert hall and contains a subterranean lagoon that is home to a rare albino crabs.

Visitors are told not to throw coins into the water as their corrosion in the water harms the rare tiny white crabs that live there. Sadly some either do not understand the signs or chose to ignore them so they can make a wish.

After that we visited the La Cueva de los Verdes, a section of underground tunnels formed during the eruptions of the La Corona volcano three thousand years ago. The tour took just under an hour and the lower part of the cave is also used as a music venue.

Outside the Green Caves we spotted a lizard sunbathing. Lizards are cool. Not as cool as fish though.
The caves were very impressive and low ceilings in places made things interesting as did an unusual optical illusion.

Safely back above ground we then headed west to Mirador Del Rio to enjoy the spectacular views of the nearby island of La Graciosa that the high altitude affords.

La Graciosa is situated off the northern tip of Lanzarote and the island and its surrounding waters are a marine reserve. With fishing strictly controlled I guess I won't be wetting a line should I ever visit.

Finally we headed south again to visit the last place on our itinerary, the Castillo de Santa Bárbara which is built upon the lip of the crater of Mount Guanapay overlooking the old capital of Lanzarote, Teguise. It has stood there for hundreds of years and is in remarkably good condition. I guess the lack of rain has helped preserve its stonework.

You can drive right up and have a look around the very old castle.

That concluded a very enjoyable little tour of the north of the island and we headed home for a something to eat and a little nap. Having not fished yet I was also keen to get out in the evening for an hour or two.

In the evening I fished the small pier for a couple of hours but I must say the day's excursion had left me feeling rather tired. Taking it easy I lazily employed a few different methods. I fished Angleworm on a drop shot, paddletails and grubs on jigheads and small metals. It was quite relaxing and nothing new was caught but I did catch a lizardfish from just under the surface on a metal, a rock-pool blenny from straight down the pier wall and a few more Macronesian sharpnose puffers.

A partially inflated Macronesian sharpnose puffer. They are weird little fish.

I headed back up to the apartment, treated myself to a few beers and had a think about what my plan of attack would be over the last couple of days of the holiday. With a full day's activities planned for Sunday and packing up to do for an early flight home on Monday morning if I was going to catch the remaining three species to hit my target then in all likelihood I'd have to do it the following day. I thought my best chance would be to find new types of ground to fish as I couldn't see the ones I'd fished regularly producing any more species than they had already. I had a quick look on Google Maps, a plan was formulated and off to bed I went with a renewed sense of optimism.

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