Monday, September 25, 2017

More species hunting adventures on Crete : Part 3.

Arriving in Georgioupolis in the early afternoon at the beginning of our second week on Crete we had a couple of hours to kill before we could check into our room so we had a wander around the harbour there. It flanks the river that runs alongside the town into the sea and a small bridge crosses the river a few hundred metres up from its mouth. Standing on the bridge we spotted some mullet and then a few large gobies caught my eye straight down below so the gear was taken out of the car and a split shot rig baited with a piece of ragworm was slowly lowered down right in front of the biggest goby I could see. It eagerly munched it without hesitation.

Geogioupolis Harbour looked full of potential.
A nice big giant goby.

We then had a walk down the left hand side of the river and whilst down there booked ourselves on a three hour boat fishing trip with local skipper Nikos for later in the week before heading back into town for some lunch. When we got booked into our room and unpacked again Lillian said she wanted a nap so I grabbed my gear and headed back down to the harbour to see what other species were resident. Fishing small baits down the sides and angleworm on a dropshot rig further out I soon added a few more species to my tally.

Peacock blennies with their bright blue markings were easy to spot sitting on the harbour's walls and on submerged rocks.
A sandy area down towards the mouth of the river produced a couple of plain red mullet...
...and a striped seabream too.

Exploring the harbour further I began casting out from gaps between the moored fishing boats. This wasn't very productive until I caught a small barracuda that grabbed my angleworm as I was lifting my dropshot rig up from the bottom right in front of me.

I didn't realise until later on that this was my third new species of the trip, a yellowtail barracuda. It's another species that has migrated from the Red Sea via the Suez Canal.

Just to the west of the river's mouth is Kalivaki Beach. Before returning to wake Lillian up I had a few casts out into the bay from the back of a taverna situated on the rocks at its southern end. I caught a white seabream, a wide eyed flounder and a few lesser weever before heading back.

Another weever to carefully unhook and another species added to my tally which had passed the thirty mark.

The next morning we headed up to nearby Lake Kourna, the only freshwater lake on Crete. It's not supposed to have any fish in it but at some point someone has released their pet goldfish into it and there is now a healthy population of them in there. I thought it would be fun trying to catch one so I took some tackle out with us on our hired pedalo to try to do just that. Sadly they were very spooky and every time we got close they just swam off. I did spot some smaller fish attacking my bait however and popping on a tanago hook I managed to catch a couple of them. They turned out to be sand smelt so it would appear the goldfish aren't the only fish in there.

Lake Kourna. If I return to this part of Crete again I think I'll visit the lake early in the morning and try fishing from the shore.
Plenty of goldfish in there.

From Lake Kourna we drove along to Rethymno to have some lunch and a wander around but parking was a bit of a nightmare and after doing a couple of laps of the centre of town looking for a space we decided to return in the morning another day and left. Driving further east we headed to the beautiful village of Bali. After lunch I had a fish from the mouth of the harbour and caught a few ornate wrasse, damselfish, marbled rabbitfish and a single white seabream. I also saw what I think were two small amberjack harassing a shoal of tiny baitfish but they came and went before I could tie on a metal.

Another venue, another species added to my tally.

Later that day when we got back to Georgioupolis Lillian gave me permission to fish at dusk before we went out for a meal in the evening so off I went down to the river again. I had bass in mind so headed to a spot that I thought looked promising. I didn't have the place to myself for long however as a gaggle of geese soon arrived.

There are lots of these geese around the river. Quite nice looking birds but they don't have make a lot of noise!

For a change I gave the angleworm a break and tried some other soft plastics on jigheads and drop shot rigs. Fishing away I didn't manage to catch any bass despite seeing a few small ones follow my lures before turning away. Instead I discovered that the spot was a good one for catching giant gobies.

They're pretty aggressive fish.

As light faded I headed to the other side of the river to fish from some boulders into some slightly deeper water. I switched to a paddletail mounted on a 3g jighead and fished it fairly quickly across the current near the surface. This proved to be a good decision and I caught a few small barracuda which was good fun. In amongst them I caught a slightly larger one that looked a little different to the others I'd caught being a lot longer and having a black edge on its tail fin.

I'm now fairly sure this one is a yellowstripe barracuda making it my second new barracuda species of the trip.

I then caught a couple of fish that I suspected were small bluefish. They fought well for their size and were a most welcome unexpected capture.

Yet another new species. Geogioupolis was being very good to me.

Later that evening Lillian and I had a nice meal in Arkadi, the fish restaurant down by the mouth of the river overlooking one of the villages famous landmarks, a small church build out on the rocks.

What a lovely view.

To help me decide what I wanted to eat I went over to have a look at the restaurant's fresh fish display. Looking at all the potential meals I spotted a fish amongst the various seabream that sparked my curiosity.

This is a red seabream, also know as the blackspot seabream. I wondered if there was a chance of catching one the next day on our boat fishing trip?

The fish on offer looked fantastic but as we'd eaten a fairly big lunch in Bali we ended up just sharing a plate of calamari and a Greek salad.

One of my favourite things to eat on holiday.

At the end of almost every meal you eat in a restaurant on Crete you get a complimentary shot of Raki. Usually it's homemade and it's also rather strong. In the Arkadi fish taverna you get a small jug that contains about six shots of the stuff!

Raki. Personally I'm not a huge fan.

The next morning we headed down to the harbour for our boat fishing trip. Tackle was provided but after consulting with the skipper I decided to used my Rock Rover and trolled a 12g diving plug. After about forty five minutes or so I had a take and my reel started screaming. At the same time Lillian and one of the other people on the trip also connected with a fish. The identity of we had on was soon revealed when behind the boat several dolphinfish began jumping out of the water. It was all very exciting and as I was using lighter gear I took my time playing my fish. After it's initial run though it came to the boat without giving me too much trouble and was quickly netted by Nikos.

My first common dolphinfish. A very cool fish.

We carried on trolling up the coast for a while before eventually turning around and heading back towards Georgioupolis. With no further action on the way we stopped for half an hour and fished on the bottom in very deep water over a reef. My mate Andy had told me he had caught a swallowtail seaperch when he had done this whilst out with Nikos so I was hopeful that I'd get one too. When I showed Nikos a photo of one and told him I'd like to catch one, he was confident I would and he was right, I caught one on my first drop of a set of sabikis baited with tiny squid strips.

What a beautiful little fish.

After catching a few more swallowtail seaperch and a some common combers I asked the skipper about the chances of catching red seabream and red scorpionfish. He told me that red seabream was not a species he'd caught in the area we were fishing and only three anglers out with him had caught a red scorpionfish. Sadly I wasn't to be the forth. We did some more trolling on the way back in but didn't come into contact with any more fish. On the way back I spotted a nice looking rock mark that looked easily accessible that was just to the north of Kalivaki beach.

Ideal for an early morning session and the water in front of the dark rocks looked nice and deep too.

In the evening I had yet another short session before dinner down at the harbour. To start with I focused on small blennies and gobies in the hope that I'd pick a species I might have overlooked and hadn't caught yet on the trip. This tactic paid off in the shape of a few rock gobies. As the sun began to disappear behind the mountains to the west I caught a few bluefish again and inspecting one of them I had a closer look at its razor sharp teeth. It snapped its jaws shut in a rather ferocious manner and I wouldn't like to have my finger anywhere near the mouth of a bluefish when it did this even on small specimen!

I really enjoyed catching these small bluefish.
Nasty little set of nashers on them and a strong bite.

So, the fishing around Georgioupolis had been very good with the unexpected capture of a few new species that I hadn't anticipated encountering being a big bonus. My tally for the trip had almost reached forty species. The last time I visited Crete I ended up catching forty species so I was keen to try and better that. Adding more would be tough but with a few more day trips planned to new places and possibly a second boat fishing trip out of Agia Galini on the south coast I was optimistic about my chances of doing it.

Tight lines, Scott.

1 comment:

  1. Great posts Scott, always look forward to reading them
    Paul Brooker