Friday, 24 October 2014

Rockfish Menorca - Ciutadella

Definitely no early morning session to be had on Saturday, we woke up to a hot calm day and decided on a chill out day. Enough racing about across the island in hope of larger fish, we decided to stay local to the hotel and in all fairness we'd had some OK sessions in Ciutadella anyway.

After breakfast we went just around the corner from the hotel and accessed some water we'd previously wanted to fish, but couldn't until now due to the wind and swell. There were plenty of baitfish cruising around in the upper water column and trying a range of techniques we investigated what could be had. 
There were some guys to our above left fishing with long rods from the cliff tops and a person with loud music jigging from his boat just off the shelf. An atmospheric day indeed.

We were shortly joined by a young local family who came to fish for Gar, and explained that they found these a "special fish". Thankfully the young gentleman spoke good english and it was nice to speak to him. The family had a large bucket of bread crumbs and were feeding it into the water inducing a baitfish feeding frenzy and sure enough the Gar turned up in numbers, this gave us some ideas!
Scott actually hooked a Gar which sadly came off. I was just experimenting a bit and caught some comber on my Tict M-Float rig. This is when the young man told us why they call Painted Comber "Vaca" or "Cow", he also told us they were good eating and I gave him one I caught which he seemed grateful with.
However, they didn't stick around long due to the small platform being crowded with us there.

Afterwards myself and Scott discussed the possibility of using some shirvy to attract some fish. Scott actually thought that I'd never be into it, as I am a bit of a lure purist at times, but I explained that I came to catch fish and at this point didn't care much. With that we headed to the shops for bread and sardines, I also did some gift shopping for my children, before heading off to the breakwater in Ciutadella.

Well I had assumed that we would save the shirvy in hope of attracting more Barracuda at sundown and therefore rigged up an Ecogearaqua Katsu Aji Straight on a 1g AquaWave Rockbait jig head. I spotted some interesting fish off of the back of the platform and made my first cast. I was watching my lure fall through the water when a fish moved lightning fast and engulfed the lure, I set the hook. My rod bent right over as I shouted "fish on!" Scott looked in disbelief as I told him "I think I have an Amberjack on!" As the fish kept me on my toes and had me running with it around around the breakwater structure, Scott confirmed that I did indeed have an Amberjack on. Thoughts of losing the Barracuda resurrected and I decided to give this fish time! Sure enough I, with Scott as gilly got the fish in!



I cannot tell you how pleased I was, I didn't expect it at all! 

Scott also got into a fish and though may not have been the Amberjack he wanted, was a pretty nice fish indeed; A large  East Atlantic Peacock Wrasse I believe.

I carried on fishing, hoping for another Amberjack while Scott made up some shirvy and was feeding the bait fish. Some large Mullet were cruising in and out of the shoals and Saddled Bream were shooting up from the depths and snatching bread off of the surface, but generally the fishing was a bit quiet.

I can't quite remember what Scott was doing but he spotted a fish a way out and exclaimed "look, thats a Leerfish!" Still full of adrenaline I was quick of the mark and cast my 1g head out and Ecogear lure, again letting it fall through the water when I got a take! "Fish on!" I pronounced as Scott once more looked in disbelief. This was a better fight! run after run and lunge after lunge my heart was pounding, so afraid of loosing the species that was on the very top of my wish list! 
I also got frustrated that we didn't bring the net from the car, I hate tiring fish that much, but eventually he was ready to land. With expert help from Scott we got the fish ashore and it was time for another grip and grin.



Wow! I now didn't really give a stuff if I didn't catch another fish, I was totally buzzing!
I did feel for Scott as he'd lost an Amberjack elsewhere abroad and really wanted these two species, but conversely I know Scott was pleased for me (well, sort of).

Well we didn't expect this of course and did not know how the rest of the day might unfold, so I went to grab the net. 
I started fishing again this time with a pearl Ecogear Power Shirasu on my Rockbait Jighead and observed some Mullet tight to structure below. I dropped my lure down and was dead sticking about four inches off of the bottom. "that Mullet just bummed my lure" I told Scott, "Oh hang on!" A larger Mullet had taken the lure!
Again I found myself hot on my toes as the fish ran around the slab, I couldn't stop laughing! He was a much cleverer fish in many respects and ran into a through-hole underneath the breakwater, I thought I'd lost it for sure, but I managed to keep my line away from the sharp edges and pull him out OK. Eventually I had him beat and on the waters surface when Scott came with the net and I was ready for another grip and grin.

Full respect to Scott, he made an excellent gilly!

After this Scott was sitting down and fishing prawn under a float, I wasn't fishing so hard at this point and sort of took a step back being quite satisfied anyway. 
Scott was getting noticeably frustrated at the bream stripping his bait but eventually his float took a proper dive and run! The fish started to run around the corner in the same manner as mine did and Scott put the brakes on, sadly within seconds the fish had snapped his line, Scott was noticeably annoyed!

Around this time the local children arrived, who were out just about very dry night targeting Barracuda and I showed them my photo's on my phone. They were noticeably excited and called some other friends to take a look. All of a sudden I found myself being treated like a pro angler with children asking me what to use and wanting to inspect my gear. I kind of buzzed off of their thirst for angling knowledge and in many ways wish we had a youth culture like that here.
I spent some time with them showing them the range of lures I use, it was hard communicating though as my Spanish is incredibly basic. I learnt that Seriola is Amberjack and was constantly being handed lures with the question "this for Seriola?". Anyway I taught them how to texas rig as well as some other things and gave out some HTO lures, Jigheads, hooks and bullet weights, one lad Sabatian also claimed a vibe bait.

Soon myself and Scott found ourselves tying their knots, re-rigging their lures and all sorts, my fault really!
One interesting thing they had, was a strange type of lure which apparently is good for Barraduda;

A through wired and  dried Garfish! I thought it was kool enough to photograph anyway.

It became quite tough fishing here to be honest, as very time we started casting the children were pretty much on top of us wanting to do the same things and fish the same swim, I can't deny it started to get irritating. 

Meanwhile Scott was casting a metal across the narrow channel at the end of the breakwater when some fish came out of nowhere and fast! His rod bucked over and a fight ensued with another Amberjack.
Things were a bit hectic at this point, as the children all came over and were chucking their lures over the top of our heads. 
Scotts fish had also done a loop-the-loop around a mooring rope  and things were not looking good, it was trying to go deep while rubbing his braid against the rope the whole while. Thankfully Scott is more intelligent than I and managed to lift the rope and pass his rod underneath, freeing it whilst keeping a tight line. Finally it was my time to be gilly and I netted the fish ashore.

Actually When Scott was playing his, Sabatian was also into a fish, amazingly Scott briefly left his fish with me and netted Sabatians too!
High fives all round and another grip and grin;

What an excellent day this had shaped up to be!

We stuck around until sundown as I still wanted a Barracuda, but found myself growing increasingly irritated with the "combat fishing", it was hard to get a look in with the place so crowded and I feared for my rod as excited youths flung their large lures at the Barracuda. The children with Scotts help actually caught two at around 3lb a piece and that was nice to see. Scott also hooked a good one yet I couldn't get to him in time with the net, missing the opportunity to land it for him which was very frustrating. That was the second lost fish for Scott that day and the second lost Barracuda of the trip, but at least he has caught a Barracuda before I guess.

All in all the day ended on a high and we returned to the hotel to chill and celebrate. I also took the opportunity to rub it in a little about the Leer, Scott repeatedly called me a prick haha!

That was easily my favourite day of the trip, but there was still another day left, stay tuned!