Wednesday, July 25, 2012


After some time unable to update this blog due to computer problems I finally got myself some new electronic toys and so I’m pleased to say things should be fine from now on. A new laptop, a new camera and a new smartphone. Of course this does mean that the new fishing equipment I was planning on getting has to wait, I can’t have it all! But I have enough stuff to keep me going for some time yet anyway.

Out of all these new devices I must say my favourite is the smartphone, with which I’m writing and posting this entry. It’s the Sony Erricsson Xperia Arc S with Android 4.0. Elegant, well made, light and the best touch screen I’ve tried to date. The quality of video play back is fantastic with the Bravia engine and the 8 megapixel camera is outstanding.

I had always been a fan of Nokia phones and I don’t know in your respective countries but here in Spain the software installed is giving nothing but problems. I had a Nokia C6-001 and it I was a regular at the Nokia Centre!!!

Anyway, just to say thanks for all your visits and shall soon be posting fishing adventures. thanks again.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Fishing with Live Smelt – Update

Ok, here’s a short update on fishing with live baitfish. Though the idea is Sea Trout I wasn’t lucky and didn’t land any at all, not even a bite, nor did I see them as I did before I started this exercise and, in fact, was the reason I tried. To jog your memory remember that I’m trying in the ports and harbour around La Coruña, Spain which has been my home for 10 years now.

I leave you a short video on how I set up for this fishing using my Match rod, a very small float and a small treble. Now, although the Sea Trout didn’t feel tempted by the smelt as I had thought See Bass were and a number were caught, though most were too small and apart from a couple that were hurt too much all were returned to whence they came.

"Marcos" A good friend that accompanied me a couple of times

Happy Fishing.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Sunrise on the Coast of Death

Monday morning just before sunrise Marcos and I arrived at the coast near a town called Malpica. We had decided to take advantage of the slightly calmer weather to do some spinning, a decision that’ll take a few weeks to forget. 

As I said the weather was slightly better than that we’d been having, and approaching in the next few days according to the weather reports. It seems winter has returned and returned with vengeance. This coast is the “Coast of Death” because of the treacherous seas and steep and jugged rock formations. 

We parked the car as near as possible but this was still a good 300 feet above sea level and a mile walk down to the rocks. We got changed, set up and set off down the cliff to perch ourselves on our chosen fishing spots. The first hour and a half went by fine, nothing caught except a needle fish by Marcos, fairly calm seas and although we had a head wind we could just about cast a reasonable distance. 

Then as I was clambering over the rocks to find a different spot I slipped and fell. It hurt, it hurt a lot. I slightly twisted, banged and cut my left knee and cut my left hand. I had quickly let go of my rod and reel and luckily didn’t damage either one. Once I could move I thought the best thing to do was to climb back up to the car while the adrenaline was still rushing through me allowing me to limb along. 

The adrenaline ran out about half way up and I had to be helped the rest of the way by Marcos. After the car ride home when I tried to get out I could hardly walk but managed to hobble into my flat. Later that afternoon I had no choice but to visit the emergency ward where after some X-rays I was pleased to be told I hadn’t broken anything but did tear a ligament and that I needed to keep my weight of my leg for at least a couple of weeks. 

So there we have it. What can I say except be careful out there. I guess I’m getting old! I didn’t have the camera running at the time but I leave you a video and some pics of the scenery.

(Un)Happy Fishing

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Now you see me……Now you don’t!

This crab seems to be some kind of “Pea Crab”. The spring tides always unveil things that for the most part are left covered up. These little crabs were all around us. I thought you might like to see it.

Happy Fishing

Friday, April 6, 2012

Gilt Headed Bream Rig

Despite the title of this post this rig can be used for many other types of fish, in fact I often use this rig for Sea Bass with the only difference being I attach a treble hook baited with sardine or bloodworm.

The basic idea is to have a sliding sinker so the fish doesn’t pull on the sinker after taking the bait and in turn when I give the tug to get a secure hooking I tug directly down the line to the hook and not the sinker.

I use “Breakaway swivels” and thread the main line (shock leader) through the swivel then thread a rubber or other type of soft bead before tying another type of swivel to which I attach the gamete with the hook.

Breakaway swivel

From the swivel I tie about five centimetres of line to the sinker.
The idea of this is that the sinker will probably bury into the sand or mud and this keeps the swivel above and allows the line to slide easily without any problem.

I sometimes use other types of sinker

Then I thread a rubber bead and after the swivel to which the gamete is tied
The rubber bead protects the knot from abrasion

This is the swivel I use. It comes without any covering but I cover with shrink tube

This is how it should look before tying the gamete
Obviously the line has to be threaded through the guides of the rod before setting up!

Some of the hooks I recommend. In the video I'm using "Owner" hooks

Note: You should not use braided line unless you add at least 15 metres of monofilament as braided line can actually cut through the plastic of the swivel and besides this braided line doesn’t behave well to abrasion.
As I said, here I’m using a tandem hook but you can adapt this to the bait you’re using and the fish you’re targeting.

I generally use this set up when beach fishing (muddy seabed or at least a clean bottom). If there’s a chance of snagging then a different way of attaching the sinker is necessary which I’ll show you in another post.

Happy Fishing 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Early morning hunt for Gilt headed bream

Gonzalo and I got up bright and early to check if the Gilt headed bream (dentex) have arrived in our beaches. It is a little early in the season and these fish prefer hot sunny weather and warmer waters but we thought we’d try anyway.

The weather wasn't in our favour with a 24 knot wind making it a very uncomfortable experience.

There are some very good baits for this fish which include razor shell, green crab, cuttlefish, clams, cockles (in fact any shellfish), and bloodworm. On this trip we took razor shell and bloodworm. Unfortunately apart from the wind the sea snails were out in force getting to and divulging the bait in minutes, not good when bloodworm cost 1€ a piece! We tried for some time lifting the bait often trying to avoid the snails but in vain.
However, Gonzalo did manage to land one by casting very close to one as it took the bait within seconds of it being cast. It’s a very small example so nothing to write home about, but good enough to write in the blog about!

I would not be outdone so I decided to temp another species that also wander around this beach and had my success within minutes. I landed (then released) a Tub Gurnard.
The technique for this fish is a kind of spinning idea. You cast the bait, in this case razor shell but without the shell, and once the bait reaches the bottom you retrieve really slowly along the bottom, if one is around it’ll take the bait as this one did (soft lures can also be used. Preferable white).

Catch and release

The rig for Gilt headed bream is quite simple and as we plan to return in the next couple of days I’ll show you and explain the set up when I take my camera. Next time we’ll try with live green crab in an attempt to avoid the snails although they can also clean these out but it takes a little longer and as the crab is alive it’ll defend itself and fight them off. Until then Happy Fishing

(I’ll do the report on the species “Gilt Headed Bream” when I have a decent sized capture)

Chelidonichthys lucerna (Tub Gurnard)

Tub Gurnard
Library Picture

Commonly called gurnard, and in this case a Tub Gurnard which is a reddish–bluish with a spiny armoured head. They also have spines around the gills that can inject a poison cuasing some pain for a couple of days (I can vouch for this personally). Of the Triglidae family (which include Sea Robin and other commonly called scorpion fish) they have pectoral fins that have developed into finger like legs used for crawling along the sea bed. They also have two other butterfly like pectoral fins of great size with a rather beautiful blue colouring. They retract these fins when swimming but extend them while sitting on the bottom. However, they do sometimes kind of flap their fins whilst swimming almost like birds flying. It is a coastal species, prevalent in the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean from Norway to Cape Blanc and is also found, though less common, in the Black Sea and southern Baltic.

One I caught and released

Their mating season is quite long from May to August and all year around Africa. They can be found in shallow water on sandy and muddy bottoms but other members of the Triglidae family can be found on rocky bottoms.

One of the many curious things about this fish is the croaking noise they can make when fished. They can do this with the use of a “drumming muscle” they can beat against their bladder.
They are quite tasty, firm meaty fish although very spiny.

Happy Fishing

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Woof Woof

Thursday evening I decided to go Surf Casting with Gonzalo and his brother Guillerno. As you might be able to tell from the pictures the sea was dead calm again, not too great for fishing, a little movement is always better especially if targeting sea bass and sea bream, but it made for another comfortable and pleasant night. The wind was blowing from the north-east which generally makes the water crystal clear and is accompanied by quite a chill factor, hence being wrapped up in the pictures.

We fished into the night without any sign of any fish at all, but around 2 a.m. I got the one and only hit of the night on the sardine. I was unsure what it was as I reeled it in but very sure it wasn’t a sea bass or sea bream. Even as it appeared on the shoreline I couldn’t make it out. If I’d been in an estuary or a beach I was unfamiliar with I would have said it was a conger eel by the way it wriggled on the sand although the fight was nothing like a conger nor was the colour. I was thrilled to see it was a dogfish. It was about 60-65 cm long and weighed under a kg. I’d never caught one before and think they are one of the most beautiful fish in these seas. It came loose the moment I landed it but the poor thing just didn’t have the energy to swim away. I had the picture taken very quickly so as to be able to return it as soon as possible, which is why I neither measured nor weighed it. It actually took a good 20 minutes to bring it back to life by making sure the water flowed through its’ gills (being sharks they’ll drown or suffocate if held still). I’m pleased to say it did revive and eventually swan away with strength.

This creature is the closest you can get, rays aside, to caching a shark from the coast, I’m pleased to say.

How I baited the hook with the sardine:

Small Light Weight Treble

It's better to thread the line through the baiting needle before you skewer the sardine as you can clog the needle making this difficult

I used a baiting needle (blunt, I don’t like pointed needles) to skewer the sardine and threaded the line through the middle of the needle (the head towards the treble). Then tied it with lycra thread to keep it secure. I sometimes use another small hook tied behind the sardine and hook the tail to keep the sardine nicely laid out but generally with rough seas or fillets of large sardine. On this occasion it wasn’t necessary.

Happy Fishing

Small-Spotted Catshark or Lesser-Spotted Dogfish

Scyliorhinus canicula

Commonly known as Dogfish the Scyliohinus canicula are of the family Scyliohinidea and can be found from the north Atlantic to the Mediterranean Sea (see map). They can grow to just over a metre (under 4 foot) and weigh about 2 kg (6.5 lb) they dwell from shallow waters to somewhere around 400 mts in depth. Near the coast they can be found on sandy beaches but also over gravely or muddy bottoms.

It is in fact a small shallow water shark. It has a slender body with rough skin, almost like sandpaper to the touch. Its’ nostrils are situated on the underside of the snout of its’ rather blunt head making it look almost like a miniature tiger shark. The two dorsal fins are located towards the tail of the body and along with its’ other fins are a sandy, tan colour. The overall colour is a greyish-white underside and a greyish- brown top with darker spots. They have very small sharp teeth and the typical five slit gills of their relatives. The male of the species is a little larger and are equipped with slightly larger teeth and mouth. An extremely stylish and flexible fish, in my view beautiful.

For the moment their numbers are stable.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Thanks Mick, it was an honour.

I thought I’d spend yesterday’s sunny afternoon fishing Mullet with my fly rod. I quickly ran into several problems. Of course the casting was one of them but the main problem was I had decided to try bread as the fly. Simple enough you might say. Well the thing was I couldn’t keep the bread on the hook. I could get it into the water ok but as soon as I lifted the line to cast again the bread would simply wash away. My casting was pretty pitiful as well. After an hour of the most frustrating fishing experience ever I heard people speaking English behind me. Two couples who had come down from the cruise ship “Ventura” were watching me, no doubt expecting to see me fish something. I said hello and got into conversation. One of the group was Mick, and Mick was a fly angler who very politely asked if he could give me some pointers. I of course said that I’d be delighted and explained I didn’t really have a clue about what I was doing, not that he needed telling as I think it was quite obvious to him. Mick then proceeded to give me a master class in fly casting and I must say he was a great teacher, patient and very clear in his explaining. It hasn’t made me an expert but I can now get 8 out of 10 casts just right and also manage to cast the whole length of the line straight and with decent accuracy. I shall be forever grateful to Mick and the hour and the half he dedicated to pointing me in the right direction. I didn’t catch any Mullet but I know it won’t take long. He also told me about some flies designed for Mullet, which I’m searching for, and other baits such as sand fleas that stay on the hook and are easy to get on most beaches here. I can’t wait to post my first Mullet on the fly which will be dedicated to Mick and will be posted as soon as fished. 

The Ventura

Not a Mullet in sight!

If the fishing is good I’ll go out and get a salt water fly rod and line as I’m using an 8’ 6’’ #4 rod with a #4 double tapered line. Not the best thing for the sea. I also learnt that a double tapered line is not the best to learn with so I have to buy a forward weight line to make things a little easier. 

Shimano Biocraft 3 piece rod and Ultegra reel

I also went out today to practice some more and try some flies that resemble a little the Mullet flies I’ve seen on the web. The strange thing is there wasn’t a Mullet in sight, very unusual as the area is generally teeming with then. Maybe they got word that I was targeting them and decided they really didn’t feel like having their lip pierced. Anyway, I’m sure they’ll be back soon. 

Happy Flying

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Sea Match Fishing

I love to fish, and I like to try all styles and, not being somebody who fishes for the plate, I target all types of fish. Today I had a little time to myself so I decided to put my Match rod through its’ paces with some Mullet. The weather though still windy has bettered a great deal and the sun shines and so I was able to catch some sun as well as Mullet.

My Match rod is the rod I use for earth worm and other types of worms and bugs in the river. It’s 3 piece 4.30 metre rod with ring reel holder which enables me to place the reel very far back almost like a fly rod. This makes it very comfortable balance. As the rivers here are very tight because of bushes and trees, I use tiny reels or fly reels that minimize catching the line in bushes as I make my way along the river banks. I'll show you the set up when I get round to going freshwater fishing.

Here a short video of the first Mullet today.

Happy Fishing

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Bait Fish / Smelt - Updated

Thanks to "Carbono21", one of my followers and who has one of my favourite blogs (, I can now say that the correct name of the "Smelt" below is "Argentina presbyter". It's great to have followers of this category and for a professional like him to save the day. Thank you mate.

As I’m doing a series of posts on fishing with live bait fish I also wanted to let readers know what type of fish I’ll be using. It suddenly turned into the most difficult post to date. Finding the correct species has been a challenge and after several days of research I’m still not 100% sure I’ve got the right one.

The fish in question is commonly known as “smelt”, of this we can be sure. However, pinning it down to a specific one turned into several trips to the library and countless internet searches. I now have two possible candidates; “Argentina sphyreana” and “Argentina silus”. In truth something between these two would be perfect. 

The reason I’m confused is that after reading about both these candidates a little of both seems to be correct but at the same time some things about both don’t seem correct, such as habitat, location or size. I’m about 30% in favour of “Argentina sphyreana” and 65% of me leans towards “Argentina silus” leaving 5% open to other suggestions. It has dawned on me that there are a lot of fish in our seas that have been studied very little.

Anyway, it's definitely a fish, a little one.

Library Pictures:
Argentina sphyreana

Argentina silus

My pictures
Argentina Presbyter

If anyone has more to add I would greatly appreciate your comment.

Happy Fishing

Friday, March 23, 2012


Last night the sea calmed, a little more than I would have like (It’s never perfect!), the wind wasn’t as strong as the last few days and was blowing from the south which helps to cast lures in this area of the world. I got a phone call from Guillermo suggesting we went spinning with his mate “Fon” who has never caught a sea bass and is keen to do so. I wasn’t too enthralled as I would miss Dr. House on TV, but it didn’t take much persuasion to convince me to get my lures into my rucksack and set off to the rocks.

As I say, the sea was dead calm, too calm but it had been ages since I’d cast a lure into open sea what with learning to bait cast and the idea of catching a sea trout. The night was quite warm which made it very pleasant to be on the rocks in the dark night that is was without being cold or worrying about dangerous seas even if you can never let your guard down in this area of the Atlantic coast.

There didn’t seem to be much action at all with a good hour gone by without a single hit, but just as we were talking about leaving, because Fon had managed to get an all mighty tangle in his reel, this little bass decided that the Shimano lure looked good enough to eat. The hit came not two metres from the rocks that at first made me think I snagged on sea weed as the tide was extremely low, but in a tenth of a second it started its’ run trying to avoid being landed. I wasn’t about to waste the opportunity of having my picture taken with the star of this blog, and so it was. A quick picture and then released without harm as it was hooked nicely on the lip and was no hassle to unhook.

A pleasant evening and nice surprise for a rather early start in the season for me.

Fon (Alfonso) & Guillermo

The Star of the blog & yours truly

Happy Fishing

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Fishing for Bait Fish to Catch a Sea Trout

This entry is the first part on live bait fish fishing. The idea is simple enough you use a small live fish to catch a big fish. In this entry I show you how I prepare sardine for both fishing the bait fish (and Mullet) and also to use on the beach for sea bass and flat fish. I also go out to test the water as it were.

Preparing the sardine:

I went out today to buy sardine but unfortunately it’s a little early in the year to get fresh sardine so I bought baby sardines here called “Parrocha”. These are just a little smaller than the sardines found in tins but don’t be tempted to use canned sardines as they’re not very effective.

First fill a pan (or something) with sea water, if you can’t get sea water us bottled water but not tap water as this generally has fluoride, chlorine and heavens knows what else and the fish are much more sensitive to these chemicals than people give them credit.

Peel a potato (size in relation to the pan used) and drop in the water. It sinks.

You then begin adding salt stirring well to dissolve until the potato floats. This will be just the right amount of salt. If using bottled water it’ll take quite a lot of salt to make the potato float.

Now add a fair amount of sugar. Here I added three good table spoons worth. This creates a kind of sealant keeping all the goodness in the sardine, at least for other fish.

Put the Sardines into the water

Keep the sardines in the water for at least an hour before taking out and allowing them to dry. If you go to fish on the beach this is probably the best bait for large sea bass and flat fish.

In the following video I show you how I attract the fish to where I’m fishing.

In this video is the fishing itself.

The idea is to use the live bait fish for fishing sea trout (it is also extremely effective with sea bass). Sea trout hang around the ports at the mouths of estuaries at this time of year feeding as often as possible to build up strength whilst waiting for the right moment to start their journey up river.

Here in Spain it’s illegal to kill them while they’re still in the sea, something I agree with, but if released no action is taken against the angler.

This “port and harbour fishing” is a great way to introduce children to fishing. Mullet aren’t easy prey and it teaches kids the feel of very delicate bites and the skill to hook a fish. Mullet are also good fighters and can weigh a fair amount giving the angler a great rush of adrenaline. Mullet are also pretty robust fish that survive well after being released.

If you take your kids, or try it for yourself, never leave the rod unattended, especially with the bait in the water. I’ve seen several people losing their rods to the depths while taking a pee and it was at this precise moment that the mullet decided to hit. Also never leave the hook baited even out of the water as seagulls will come in very quickly if the rod is left unattended with similar consequences.

I’ll be going out in the next few days in search of the sea trout. I stand little to no chance of catching one but as the strong winds persist, and I hate heavy lures, I might as well try and even if I don’t catch a sea trout there is a good chance of catching some good sea bass using the same technique that I’ll show you in the next entry.

Until next time.

Happy Fishing