Thursday, October 23, 2014

Species hunting adventures on Menorca : Part 2.

Fairly early on Wednesday morning Lee and I were looking forward to casting lures into some deep water and drove south to do just that from the rocks beneath Artrutx Lighthouse.

Deep water surrounds Artrutx Lighthouse. We hoped that some bigger fish were swimming around in it.

When we arrived there was already a local angler fishing. Usually this is a good sign but he quickly informed us he hadn't caught anything. Not put off by this as I knew that greater amberjack have been caught there in the past we proceeded to cast metals around. A total lack of any surface activity or knocks on our lures after an hour or so had me switching to a drop shot rig to see what was closer in on the rocky bottom. The answer was fairly predictable, wrasse and seabream species with the odd painted comber beating them to my lures. 

In amongst the seabream species I caught was a solitary small black seabream. My first of the trip.
A few annular seabream were caught too.

After a while Lee joined me, we found a rocky ledge that offered us some shade from the rising sun and climbed down to it. Lee gave me a little shrimp lure to try, an Aquawave Ami. I was immediately impressed by the elastic qualities of the material it was made from and it reminded me of the range of Z-Man lures with similar stretchy properties. As we fished on into the heat of the afternoon we both caught a few more fish on them. I was very pleased to discover that their stretchy nature made them very durable despite them being very delicate looking.

I fished mine on a drop shot rig. I use a variation of a blood loop to tie on my hook which allows me to place my small hook further down the lure yet still have my lure stand out from the rig body. Great for tail nipping species like wrasse.
Lee fished his on a jighead. Equally as effective. They are great little lures and I will definitely be getting some for my next trip abroad.

In the afternoon we headed east to Cala Macarella, a lovely cove on the south side of the island. We climbed along the rocks on the western side of the bay and fished from them.

Cala Macarella was fairly shallow and fishing close in over the broken reef produced the usual suspects.

After catching a few wrasse, seabream and painted combers I decided to move closer to the beach and focus on a sandy area to try and catch a new weever species or maybe an Atlantic stargazer.

Adding a heavier weight to my drop shot rig I began casting out beyond the rocks and working it slowly over the sandy bottom.

My efforts sadly didn't produce any new species but I did catch a lesser weever that added to my tally for the trip.

I would have preferred a starry or spotted weever as I have never caught either before and I know they are found around Menorca. At least I knew I probably had a chance of tempting one with the tactic I was employing should I stumble across an area that held them.

We then decided to head up over the clifftop path and back down the other side to Cala Macarelleta, a smaller cove located nearby. This was a much smaller beach and we managed to find our way onto some rocks on its northern side. The bottom here was mostly clean sand so I carried on fishing over that whilst Lee fished over the rocks at close range. Lee caught a few painted combers and wrasse and I caught a few lizardfish and a single striped red mullet before we decided to head off.

Another species added to my trip tally taking it over the half way point towards reaching my target for the trip which was thirty. My secondary goal of catching ten new species was starting to look like a tall order though, I still hadn't caught anything new!

We decided to have our dinner late and on the way back visited the mark we'd found in Ciutadella. Things were very tough going for a change though and after a while I had only caught two fish, an Atlantic lizardfish and a five spotted wrasse.

The mark at Ciutadella was starting to produce the widest variety of species. Ironic really because it was the only one we had stumbled upon whilst there and had no plans to fish prior to arriving.

Everything was quite quiet when suddenly the barracuda arrived and a bit of a feeding frenzy ensued. As light faded thousands of small bait fish were making their way into the harbour tight along the margins and were having to swim around the concrete breakwater as a result. This provided a perfect opportunity for the barracuda to ambush them. We watched them hold their position in the shadows close to the breakwater wall before launching their lightning fast attacks. It was very exciting and we quickly tied on wire traces and clipped on various different lures, trying to entice the hunting predators by mimicing the bait fish. We weren't having any joy though until I looked over to see Lee's rod had a nice bend in it and an angry barracuda of about 5-6lb was the cause. It had taken Lee's Metalmaru and after making a few runs and thrashing on the surface a few times it looked like Lee had it beaten and I got myself into a position to help land it. Unfortunately the fish found a bit more energy and started another run towards some mooring ropes and boats. Lee applied a bit more pressure to try and stop it and his braid parted company at the wire trace. Lee was quite annoyed to say the least to lose both the fish and his favourite Metalmaru lure. Also whilst he had been enjoying targeting smaller species throughout the trip his heart was set on catching something bigger. By now the sky was turning all kinds of colours but the air around Lee was turning just one, blue.

The sun sets over Ciutadella and the relative silence is broken by Lee shouting a single swear word rather loudly.

I quickly made Lee up another wire trace and we kept trying to tempt another one but shortly afterwards the activity stopped just as quickly as it had started. There was no more action despite us seeing a few more barracuda lazily cruising around, they had clearly switched off so we called it a night and had a few drinks back at the hotel. Lee was still pretty gutted but I told him that we still had four whole days left and now that we knew when to be at the mark I was sure we could return and would get another chance to hook and land another barracuda or perhaps something else equally as feisty. 

The next day it was time to pick ourselves up from the previous night's dissapointment and a mild rum enduced hangover and carry on with our exploration of the island. We headed up to the north east coast to the lovely village of Es Grau. The shallow bay itself is a protected area where fishing is not permitted so we headed all the way around it to fish from the rocks to the north west of it.

Es Grau from the hills opposite.
The ground as we approached the rocks had lots of these pretty little pink flowers growing out of it.
This was the first spot we tried. I thought the mixture of rocks and sand might throw up something different. I had weevers and wide eyed flounders in mind.

Things were fairly slow and I don't think the flat calm sea and fairly bright conditions did us any favours. We did catch a few common two banded seabream, painted combers, rainbow wrasse and Atlantic lizardfish but it was very tough going. Lee gave me a bright pink Aquawave Shad made of the same material as the Ami shrimps to try and I caught a painted comber on it with my first cast. 

These lures aren't on sale yet. Lee is testing them for inclusion into the Aquawave range. I hope they are available soon. Like the Ami shrimps they are ultra durable and catch fish!

We did see a few larger fish passing through but again switching to small hard lures and metals did not get their attention. Heading further along the coast produced more of the same and as noon approached and the temperature rose the action pretty much ground to a halt.

I'd pretty much given up and had a seat but Lee wanted a few more casts. He's quite a patient angler. Much more so than me I have to admit.

When Lee had also had enough we headed back to Es Grau and sought the shade of a small bar and had a spot of lunch and a few ice cold lemonades. We discussed our options and decided we would head into Mahon to fish for the rest of the day reasoning that fishing on the coast seemed to be producing the same species regardless of where we went.

Arriving in Mahon mid afternoon the mark I had wanted to fish turned out to be in the middle of a military base so we headed around the harbour to the southern side and looked for a place to fish away from any moored boats. We soon found Cala Figuera and it fitted the bill nicely. We were soon catching fish and after a few various seabream species I added a few more species to my trip tally as they passed through the area we were fishing.

A few small Mediterranean horse mackerel were the first species to pass through.
Shoals of bogue occasionally swam past us too. Lee caught a few first and then I managed to get myself one by switching to a small jighead.
These common pandora were next to arrive. They can be mistaken for red porgy as they have the same pink colouration with blue spots but they are more elongated and have a red mark on the upper edge of their gill plate.

I also had a slow wander along the harbour wall and spotted a few blennies but try as I might I could not tempt them. Each time I spotted one it dissapeared into a crack and could not be tempted out. We were still hopeful that some bigger fish might turn up too but none did and as it got dark the action dried up a bit so we moved further east to El Funduco to try there for barracuda. Another angler was in the spot we wanted but he soon packed up and left. There was no sign of feeding fish so we switched to fishing the bottom. It was very snaggy directly in front of us but further out was very deep and reasonably clean. Most of the bites we were getting were at close range however and we both lost a fair amount of end tackle before Lee caught a nice black scorpionfish.

This was one of the species Lee really wanted to catch. I was pleased he got one as it kind of made up for him losing the barracuda the day before.

He was well pleased with this fish until one of his fingers started going a bit tingly. He was surprised by just how many spines it had and obviously had nicked his finger on one. He then put it down on a towel and carefully unhooked and released it trying to avoid touching it in the process. The feeling soon returned to his finger fortunately and shortly afterwards we called it a night. We decided to get up very early the next morning to try fishing in the dark through to daybreak at a mark on the North coast so after dinner we went to bed, besides fishing all day in hot weather really had taken it out of us!


  1. Enjoyed reading both posts on a dull Friday morning, better than looking at the Daily Record FOTW lol Great time of the year to get away for some fish related therapy.

    1. Thanks mate. Maybe we can hit the coast for a few hours when we are in Spain next Aug? ;-)