Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Rockfish Menorca - Ciutadella to Fornells.

As you know I have been rather looking forward to visiting Menorca this year for a spot of Rockfishing, I've been counting down the weeks and months throughout the year with high expectations.
When the 13th Oct finally came around I was too excited really, I realised how much gear I had accumulated throughout the year for this trip and was looking forward to trying some new things.

Myself and Scott had been on Google Earth viewing places we'd like to fish, some of those places just looked picturesque and others looked like good fish holding areas.
With plenty of pins in Scott's phone we had a lot to pack in to a relatively short trip, but boy did we make good.

After touching down in Mahon, we picked up the car from Avis and made our way across the Island to our hotel near Ciutadella and ready for a fish. Our first port of call was just the little cove-inlet below the hotel.
There was a stiff South Westerly blowing, which had kicked up a sizeable swell and the water was coloured so we fished with Berkley Gulp Angleworm to gain our first fish which came in the form of Saddled Sea Bream.

Due to the water colour though we decided to have a look in town for a more suitable and fishable area and found a nice choke point near Ciutadella port. I was at first hesitant as fishing is not usually permitted around harbour areas and moored boats in Spanish waters, I didn't fancy a run in with the cops!
It turned out to be fine though and we were able to say clear of peoples boats, there were some good signs marked around the place too.

Scott was first in here, fishing his very successful Dropshot method. He kind of uses dropshot in a tension fall way and its deadly effective.

A female Rainbow Wrasse
An Atlantic Peacock Wrasse 
A Common Two Banded Sea Bream.
I joined in the fun and started catching new species for me;

Scott then caught another interesting fish at range, again on his dropshot method;

I think it was a Red Porgy which is another name for the Couch's Bream, a nice looking fish and I hoped to get one myself.
The fishing was remained good and consistent and we were pulling out these species with good regularity.

Saddled Sea Bream
Saddled Sea Bream 
Annular Sea Bream
As darkness fell more species came out to play too and saw Scott catch a fish that I really wanted; A Black Scorpion fish.

Before long we headed back to our hotel for some much needed food, a rest and to plan the first full day of our trip.

Tuesdays weather we always knew was going to be challenging on the south coast and we had planned to visit the Pregonda and Fornells area anyway, so that was our plan of attack. We travelled up some pretty windy roads with dodgy navigating from me until we ended our journey along a dirt road at Cala Binimel La.
We knew that this area of the coast featured different zones, inside some of these zones fishing is prohibited from shore. There are quite a few signs highlighting what is allowed and where, we found these useful as we did not want to be disrespectful to the law of the land.

The area is quite stunning, featuring some quite dramatic rock formation and varied terrain. It has a wild but calm atmosphere, being so remote.

The heavily reefed area produced hopes of Grouper for me, but it soon became apparent that Rainbow Wrasse were the most prevalent reef species on the Island, with Scott getting quite a few almost instantly. I tried to stick to larger lures and pick out some larger fish from the area, I also just wanted to experiment a little and see what could be produced. My first fish here was another new species for me - a Painted Comber.


In Spain they call these fish a "Vaca" or a"Cow" due to the white mark on their belly and are apparently good eating. Well I seemed to have a knack for Painted Comber as I caught tons that day and over the course of the trip!


After we'd had our fill of Small Wrasse and Comber we decided to move to Fornells in order to search deeper water for more species.
Spotting an interesting inlet near where we parked I clipped on a small plug and cast over some sand and got an instant take off a sizeable Lizardfish only for a larger one to come up and snatch it off of my hook. I had heard these things were aggressive and boy are they, quite funny too!

Scott managed to get quite a decent one and unlike me, kept it on;

We caught more Vacas and Rainbow Wrasse before moving over another reefy area, where I caught Painted Comber! It was becoming a bit of a joke now as I was getting way more of those than Scott and little of anything else.

We walked around the harbour catching more Rainbow Wrasse and Comber, I also picked up a tiny Five Spotted Wrasse, which I initially thought was a Corkwing Wrasse.

Eventually we ended up at the back of a breakwater with access to deep water. Despite seeing a few really large fish we didn't catch anything exactly of note, I did however get a few Lizardfish which took a real fancy to my Breaden Metalmaru!

Before long the rain came down until we could bare no more, so we headed back to the hotel for food. 
We did go out briefly that night and caught more Bream, Scott caught a few other nice mini species too, including Scorpion fish and Cardinal fish.
By now though I was starting to itch for something that would put up a better fight, we both had species such as Amberjack, Leerfish, Dolphinfish and Barracuda on our wish list and had our eyes set on a known deep water mark for the morning. With that in mind we headed back for some shut eye and concluded a fairly satisfying day!

Stay tuned and tight lines.