09/06/2016 - Return to Gran Canaria, Part One

Last year's trip to Gran Canaria proved so successful that we found another excuse (this time Stuart's 60th birthday) to go again, even down to booking the same week at the same hotel! As before, I took a selection of LRF and light game gear hoping to add a few more species to my tally from last trip. Arriving Wednesday afternoon, the rest of the day was spent settling in, admiring the view over to Puerto Mogan from our balcony and having a few drinks down on the patio. 

Next day we took the short trip by hire car to Puerto Mogan and headed down to the water front. While the others got ready to go for a swim, I headed straight out onto the old section of breakwater, where there was already one other chap float fishing off the end over the rocks. 

I set up a tried-and-tested drop shot rig with a #10 Sabpolo wormer hook baited with Gulp Angle worm and dropped it down the side to be met with instant bites. Found that the usual suspects were to blame, i.e. Canary damselfish and ornate wrasse. The place seemed to be snided with them! Eventually had a couple of female European parrotfish that put a proper bend in the rod, before dropping my rig down into the shadows next to a large boulder. The next fish was a lot smaller, but was a new species - a Madeiran rockfish - swiftly followed by a slightly larger one next cast. Unfortunately, it was back to the damsels and wrasse after this until the tide dropped and the fish retreated to deeper water. 

Talked to the other fisherman after it turned out he was English as well. He was floatfishing bread and just picking up the odd damselfish, so I gave him some Angleworm to try when I left to re-join the others on the beach. Before we left we had a walk around the harbour, or "free aquarium". As well as numerous species of bream, mullet, colourful male parrotfish and the odd bass, there was a big shoal of barracuda in residence, in sizes ranging from about 8 inches up to the odd individual getting on for three feet long - unfortunately due to Spanish law all out of bounds!

The next day we ventured well off the beaten tourist track down to a "secret" beach I'd found on Google, which involved a bit of a scramble down a barranco (ravine). I'd also warned the others that it had a bit of reputation as a nudist beach, so it wasn't really a surprise when we got down to a small, enclosed, sandy beach to find a few locals already there and "au naturel"! Got the snorkel gear on for a quick recce up the left hand side of the beach and soon spotted a number of different species both in the rocks and out on the sand. Back on the beach I headed out with the fishing gear, gingerly making my way over the still wet and very slippy rocks to a point where I could fish down the drop off. Not surprisingly, the ornate wrasse and the damsels were out in force. However, I did also manage a Macronesian sharpnose pufferfish before being forced off the rocks by the incoming tide. 

Back on the beach I had a cast out over the sand and got a fish on first time - the smallest lizardfish I've ever seen! Wasn't complaining as this was another new species for me - the Atlantic lizardfish rather than its rock-dwelling cousin the diamond lizardfish. Carried on casting from the beach, inching the rig back slowly and keeping the rod tip high, feeling for bites. Had a few rattles and knocks doing this, before hooking into another fish. This one I knew straight away from Scott Hutchison's blog to be a cleaver wrasse, or pearly razor fish, with its brilliant colours and its two pairs of "fangs" with which it did its best to nip me with while I unhooked it. 

Casting over the same spot I had two more of his companions before the bait was taken on the drop by something a little more acrobatic. This turned out to be a silvery derbio, which flicked its spiny dorsal fin in and out of the slot in its back like a switchblade. Next cast it was something different yet again. However, I only had glimpse of a small flatfish before it came off! Had my suspicions about what this might have been and was a bit disappointed as it was another one of my target species. Went quiet after this, so returned to the others to soak up some rays before we had to make the scramble back up to the car. On the way past some rocks Stuart and Duncan disturbed some seriously big-looking Gran Canarian giant lizards, which belted straight down the path at me and Rob! Luckily they shot off into a hole before we had to take avoiding action. 

Had a few deserved beers back at the hotel that night and agreed with the others we'd definitely return to what was now dubbed "sex beach" by a prudish Stuart!

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