Thursday, September 04, 2014

Species hunting adventures on Zakynthos : Part 1.

Last Wednesday my girlfriend Lillian and I set off on a one week holiday to the Greek island of Zakynthos. Getting up at 3:30 was a bit of a killer but we were soon at Glasgow Airport and had a bit of sleep on the flight, waking up just as the island appeared in the distance through the plane window.

Out of the blue.

Arriving on Zakynthos we quickly got our hire car and I drove us down to our accommodation on the south eastern tip of the island near Porto Roma. Unpacking our stuff we jumped back in the car and headed off to check out the local area. Parking the car at Porto Roma, the noise from the bugs hiding on the trees around us was quite something else as they continuously chirped away. They were very noisy indeed and it was easy to locate one of them.

Noisy little buggers!

We had a nice walk along a clifftop and then along the beach before driving north to St Nicholas beach and parking up at the small church located on the rocky Vasilikos Cape. After a walk around we headed to a supermarket for the ingredients for a Greek salad and a few other things before heading back to our apartment. After a quick nap we enjoyed our first Greek salad and headed back to Vasilikos Cape for an hour or so before sunset. Lillian perched herself on a rock, read a book and watched the sun slowly begin to dip down over the mountains. I fished away keen to open my account. I went with my tried and tested approach for foreign inshore waters, a drop shot rig with a #10 wormer hook baited with a Gulp! Angleworm. To begin with I tried casting out past the rocks and slowly working the rig back towards me across the sandy seabed. It didn't take too long to start getting the odd little bite and before long I connected with one. The culprit turned out to be a small greater weever.

A potentially nasty start to my trip was safely unhooked and released after a quick photo.

Casting closer in I was got the occasional bite too and I eventually caught a painted comber.

The painted comber is a colourful fish with a blue spot on its flank, interesting facial markings and fine orange spotting on its fins. Also known as the Jackson Pollock. Sorry.

Bites were not coming as fast as I'd have liked though so I moved along the rocks to try another area. Casting out over towards a dark area that had a few submerged rocks in it produced more action and these features obviously held a few more fish. Next to get hooked was a white seabream which was followed by a wide eyed flounder. Lillian came over to have a look at this fish. Unhooking it the Angleworm was still hanging out of its mouth. When I went to take hold of the lure to pull it out the greedy fish swallowed it with two quick little gulps which we both found very funny.

White seabream have thin vertical stripes running down their flanks. 
Wide eyed flounder seem to be quite common in the Mediterranean.

By now the sun had set, the light was fading and it was almost time to go but before we left I caught a small striped red mullet. They are cool fish and the long feelers on their chin are quite strange looking. A member of a group of fish known as goatfishes it's easy to see why.

My first striped red mullet on a lure. In the water they are not red. When caught they quickly begin to change colour though. 
A quality set of food finding barbels that neatly tuck away under the fishes chin when not in use. 

Fairly pleased with my first session producing five different species even if I only caught five fish we headed back to our apartment, stopping for a couple of beers and some spicy olives to enjoy after what had been a long day. When we got back we were greeted by a little gecko sitting on the wall outside the door.

How cool is that little fellow?

On Thursday morning I got up early and headed back along to Vasilikos Cape. Going along to the tip of it I fished into the rocks at close range using Angleworm on a drop shot rig again and this produced my first wrasse species of the trip and a single parrotfish.

A female ornate wrasse.
A juvenile Mediterranean rainbow wrasse.
A male parrotfish.

Spotting some smaller fish amongst the submerged rocks right beneath the ledge I was on I switched to a split shot rig with a #22 hook baited with a tiny section of Angleworm. This soon produced my first new species of the trip, a five spotted wrasse. I  then caught a tiny common pandora.

Similar in shape to a corkwing wrasse the five spotted wrasse has five dark markings along its back and dorsal fin.
 This is a species I caught last year whilst on Crete although I've still to catch an adult specimen.

Switching back to a drop shot rig and casting further out I then caught a greater weever and a striped red mullet before heading back to have breakfast. Just as I was packing up though a kingfisher flew past me and headed out over the bay. I love seeing them and it was a nice way to end the session.