11/06/2015 - Gran Canaria LRF, Part I
Was due to go to on an all-inclusive trip to Gran Canaria for week for a friend's 50th birthday. After reading about Scott Hutchinson's trip to nearby Lanzarote on his excellent blog (something-fishy-going-on) I knew that there was lot's of potential for some LRF while I was there. We were going to based at Taurito in the south-west of the island and some searching on the web and on Google Earth revealed some interesting spots, notably at neighbouring Puerto de Mogan. I also noted quite a bit of discussion on various forums about licences. Legally a licence is required for fishing from the shore in the Canaries. Quite a few people suggested winging it and pleading ignorance if checked by their wildlife police. However, others said that this wasn't really tolerated and risked a fine and confiscation of tackle. I therefore decide to err on the side of caution and, after a bit more searching on the web, found a company offering to sort out licences for you online for a cost of 40 Euros (Gran Canaria fishing licences). After an exchange of emails with a very obliging chap called Sunny, I was in possession of the necessary permit, valid for three years!
We were taking a bag of snorkelling and walking gear as hold luggage, so I put together a selection of LRF gear including soft plastics, metal lures, jigs, hooks and weights, along with a few floats. Managed to pack everything, including my reel, into a ice-cream tub sized, plastic container, which just left the rod, my 7ft Sonik SK4 travel rod, in its protective tube.
Day of departure duly arrived and after a four hour flight and another hour in the car, we were getting ourselves acquainted with the hotel, specifically the bar! However, next day we were down at Puerto de Mogan for a recce. The town has a nice big marina that unfortunately under Spanish law is out of bounds for fishing. However, the breakwater protecting the beach had looked good on Google Earth and didn't seem to disappoint at first glance.
A swim around with the mask and snorkel revealed a host of fish swimming amongst the rocks, a number of which I recognised from my research. It wasn't long before I had a dropshot rig set up with a Berkley Gulp! Angleworm on a size 10 worm hook. First drop in and the rod top started rattling immediately as fish attacked the bait. After a couple of over-enthusiastic strikes, I lifted into my first fish of the trip, a small Ornate Wrasse.
The water was clear enough to be able to see fish circling around the bait and again I recognised one of my target species as being amongst the crowd drawn in by the Angleworm. Another determined rattle on the rod top resulted in one of these, a Canary Damselfish, coming to hand.
It soon became apparent that these two species were the most abundant, but also the most aggressive as anything else didn't get a look in. Ended up catching a dozen of the damselfish and half a dozen wrasse before the tide dropped, exposing the rocks and sending them off into deeper water. Had a wander around the marina before we left and was stunned by the number and types of fish that could be seen, including large shoals of mullet and several types of bream.
Out of bounds!
The following day we had a drive up to Artenara, the highest town on the island. However, the route back to the hotel took us past Puerto de Mogan again, so I was able to get another couple of hours fishing in. This time I was able to get out onto an old section of the breakwater that gave me access to some deeper water.
Started off with the dropshot and Angleworm and soon had the wrasse and damselfish queuing up to take the bait. Had taken several of each and was thinking of changing tactics when something different popped up. Had a good idea what it was, but later confirmed it as a Macronesian Sharpnose Puffer fish - a bit of a mouthful for a funky, little fish.
I'd spotted some big Redlip Blennies whilst out snorkelling and could now see several of them sat on top of the bigger boulders. Swapped over to a cheburashka rig, again baited with Angleworm. Tried to lower this into a position where the blennies would see it. However, they appeared to be more rig shy than the other species, disappearing down the sides of the boulders. By the time they re-appeared the wrasse and damselfish were all over the bait. After a few more of these aggressive little beggars I packed up and headed back to the hotel for a well-deserved beer.