11/06/2016 - Return to Gran Canaria, part two
Over a few beers on the terrace, Stuart suggested that we have a fishing competition - one hour with same bait and method (Angleworm on the dropshot) for most fish and most species, me against him and Rob - so the next morning saw us heading over to Puerto Mogan again. As soon as the tide allowed we scrambled out onto the breakwater with the crabs.
The competition was a "roving" competition within the confines of the rock, which in practice meant we were often fishing within a foot of each other depending on where the fish were!
The action was fast and furious right from the off, with hordes of damsels and ornate wrasse attacking the bait as soon as it hit the water. At the end of the hour I'd edged it on numbers 49 to 47, whilst we'd both had three species - me a parrot fish and the others a small puffer. With it being Saturday, there were also quite a few locals on the main breakwater, all float fishing bread or prawns, in the deeper water beyond the drop off. However, apart from one unfortunate parrot fish that was dispatched into a bucket, we saw nothing else caught!
Next day we drove into the interior via one million hairpins (certainly felt like it!) and walked up to Roque Nublo, a basalt needle in the centre of the island and what's left of the original volcano that formed it. On the way back we stopped off at the beach at Taurito for some food and a couple of beers. Leaving the others at the bar I ventured onto the rocks up the right hand side of the beach and made my way around the corner to a spot I'd had some success the year before.
However, apart from getting smashed up a couple of times by what were probably big parrot fish, I only managed a few damsels and ornate wrasse before the tide forced me back up the rocks. Stuart had snorkelled around at this stage and mentioned that he'd seen a big shoal of small barracuda in the vicinity of one the hotel discharges, so I switched to small metal lures in the hope of snagging one. Didn't have to wait long before I had a couple of bumps and then a fish on. Unfortunately, despite carrying on casting to the same area, that was the only 'cuda I could manage and a couple of lost jigs brought the session to a close. Monday morning saw us back at "sex" beach. Stu had ear problems, so it was just me, Rob and Duncan that scrambled down the valley. Upon arrival we found we had the beach all to ourselves. Unlike the previous visit, there was a visible line of debris at high tide level, presumably blown in by the onshore wind. Unfortunately, upon closer inspection, it was obvious that it was mostly fragments of plastic, an all too common sign of what we are doing to our oceans!
The tide was still in, so I started off casting from the beach over the sand, slowing bumping the rig back over the ridges and feeling for bites.
After a few casts I had firm rattle and hooked into a small fish. As it got in closer I could see it was a flatfish, similar to the one I'd lost on the previous visit. When I swung it into my hand I confirmed that it was specifically a perfectly camouflaged (and perfectly named), wide eyed flounder - another new species. Had three more of these of various sizes before handing the rod over to Rob, who'd been hovering around behind me. After a bit of tuition he managed to catch a flounder and a couple of Atlantic lizardfish, which seemed to satisfy his curiosity and get me my rod back! A few casts later I was bringing in another small fish when the rod tip slammed over as something suddenly made a beeline for the rocks. My suspicions about what had happened were founded a couple of minutes later when I dragged a large Atlantic lizardfish up the beach clutching the cleaver wrasse I'd originally hooked. The wrasse was successfully rescued and returned apparently none the worse for wear before I had a closer look at the lizardfish. I certainly wouldn't want to be a small fish faced with that huge mouth filled with needle sharp teeth!
Had one more flounder and a couple of small lizardfish before it went quiet, so had a break and sat in the sun with the others for a bit. However, once the tide had gone down sufficiently I started to make my way over the rocks to fish the drop off. I'd just passed a dustbin sized rockpool when I spotted a big blenny-like head poking out of hole. Whatever it was hastily retreated upon seeing me, so I quickly tied up a split shot rig with a #16 to nylon baited with a fragment of Angleworm and dropped it in. Felt a tug and unceremoniously hoiked what I later identified as a pretty little rockpool blenny out of his hideaway!
Popped him back from where he came and headed to the edge of the rock platform where I reverted to the dropshot rig again. Had loads of nibbles from the off, but converting them into fish was difficult. I suspected that pufferfish were to blame as they tend to chomp their way up the Angleworm leaving it looking like beaded necklace! Managed a few Canary damselfish and ornate wrasse and a single, female parrotfish that had two horrible looking lice on her head, which I carefully removed before popping her back. Wasn't too long before I was getting "hurry up" gesture from the others on the beach, so called it a day.
Had one last session at Puerto Mogan before we left for home but, to be honest, I was feeling a bit fished out. However, overall we had a great time and I would certainly recommend sneaking a few bits of fishing tackle in your luggage if ever you head to the island, or one of its neighbours.
45 ornate wrasse
5 wide eyed flounder
4 Atlantic lizardfish
4 cleaver wrasse
4 European parrotfish
2 Madeira rockfish
1 European barracuda
1 Macronesian sharp nose pufferfish
1 rockpool blenny
Cheers Gran Canaria!