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

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Back Online

After computer problems that could only be solved with the purchase of a new laptop I can finally update this blog. However, unfortunately the weather wasn’t on the angler’s side with 10 metre waves and strong wind. The only small window we had here in north-western Spain came when I was busy and couldn’t find the time to wet my lures. So not much to update but just to let you all know I’m still here I’ll post a couple of things.

First I’ll tell you about a night, a very, very cold night spent Surf Casting with Gonzalo. We went to Santa Cristina beach again because of the weather and this beach is one of the only ones in this “Coast of Death” that’ll allow some comfortable and safe fishing.

We arrived at about 4:30 am with high tide. This time the only catch was this small Pagellus acarne (Sparidae family which include Sea bream or Porgies) and this time it was Gonzalo who caught it to even the (pitiful) score.
Pagellus acarne (catch & release)

However, as the day broke with the tide half way down just as we were about to pack up and leave I noticed something very unusual. It ended up being a Scallop! We started looking and found several so the night wasn’t wasted. We collected many more than I’m willing to show as although we didn’t go digging for them, even if you find them by chance it’s against the law to collect, but what the hell. How many times do you stumble across scallops sitting at the water’s edge. After making a phone call to find out if they would be safe to eat we collected a good meals worth and quickly left the area before the authorities caught on to the situation.

Happy Fishing

Home Made Jigs

Bait Fish Style Jigs

As I’ve mentioned I make my own squid jigs and unlike my lures I’m very good at making them. I make two types each in three different sizes. The shrimp style and the bait fish style. Today I’ll show you some pics and a video on the fish type.

Notice how the bait fish swimming around are attracted to the jig. I myself was unaware of this until I saw the videos (I have several videos). In all of them the bait fish suddenly appear and follow the jig around. I had never noticed this until I got the Go Pro as you can’t actually see this activity from the surface.

I tried for a short while to catch a squid for the video but the weather was terrible and they don't attack as well during the day as they do at night.

Happy Fishing

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Home Made Lures Update

Here is a short post on my slim type lure. As you can see I painted it bright yellow with a white belly. It was painted with a brush and the result is just about ok.

The swimming action is a wobble "a la Rapala Original" which is what I was after. Some adjustments have to be made to the future models because it is slightly tail heavy and doesn't swim completely horizontally as I wanted.
As I couldn't just sit there watching the paint dry I started another model still in a slim style but this time I wanted a 17 cm floating lure. Being a prototype I kept it rather square so as to keep as much wood as possible to make sure it floated.

It has the same wobble swimming action and weighs about 22 grs. When it came down to painting I went for a suggestion made by "Mrkinfisher3" and also varnished it with an epoxy varnish for durability.

Remember these are prototypes so the finishes aren't top quality. I have now developed a way of completely hiding the wood grain. New versions are in the production line and I hope to unveil them early in the week.

Happy Fishing

A Relaxed Evening on the Beach

With very rough seas it was far too dangerous to go out spinning in search of Sea bass so Gonzalo, Mirelle and myself decided to do a little surf casting. The beach is called "Santa Cristina" and is 10 mins away from home. Having breakers and being the mouth of an estuary it's calm waters makes it very popular in summer for families but at this time of year we practically had the place to ourselves. No wind and very mild weather gave for a very easy and relaxed afternoon.

We took one rod each and had some catching up to do as Gonzalo and Mirelle live in Vigo, which is in the south of the region bordering with Portugal, and it had been some time since I'd seen them.

A couple of beers and snacks with more than a few laughs. The only catch of the evening was a small Sea-bream caught by yours truly, of course, that was returned to it's friends unharmed. The beach has some excellent Gilt headed bream in summer and the occasional mega sea bass. A couple of years ago an 11 kg example was caught with blood worm but on this particular occasion it wasn't to be.

Happy Fishing