Sitges

I was about 7 years old when I caught my “most ever fish in a day”. I still recall it quite clearly – it was when Dad took me to The Isle, we fished off the jetty, it was a sunny day and Dad was super happy because he caught his first ever 10lb carp. I beat him pretty comprehensively though with 159 Carp and 9 gudgeon – the fact that my biggest was around 4oz didn´t matter as a kid back then…

History almost repeated itself today and if I´d stayed fishing any longer – and could count with the same mental clarity – I could proubably have beaten my old 168 fish record.

On this mornings trip the sea was packed with small 2-3kg Tuna. Everywhere.

Little Tuna came first, a mile or so from the harbour…

Small Bluefins were next, starting from 3NM onwards,..

I was trolling 4 rods all the time but found lures being hit faster than I could wind the fish in then get them back out again and had double, treble and even quadruple hookups.

I cast small metal lures for then but best of all fished small, walk the dog type surface lures on my Bass tackle and watched hoards of fish smash them on the surface.

Amongst the fish I landed was our first ever Skipjack Tuna – see those horizontal dark bars, quite different than Bonito, Bluefin, Little Tuna etc…

I lost count of the fish tally quite early in the morning and with sore arms wandered back to port at lunchtime feeling pretty happy.

On the way back I pulled a large 8″ lure, 2 medium 6″ lures and a small pink lure – similar to the orange and green one in the pics above. Only a couple of miles from port the smallest one was hit by something much bigger than all those fish above and came back with the hook bent/straightened. I don´t want to think what it was, even though I do have my suspicions… it´s just one of the reasons I´ll head out to the horizon again soon…

Sitges

It is horribly hot right now but this morning offered a little relief with a nice sea breeze, a sky filled with clouds and, falling from them, some very welcome & cooling rain showers.

An escape from the heat on land was thus primary in my thoughts so I left the harbour around 09:00, headed south and pulled an assortment of lures, large and small, to just beyond where the sea drops off into the depths.

Fishing was perhaps a secondary consideration today because a sea filled with breaking waves and white caps undoubtedly made it difficult for the fish to see the lures . One did though, a miniature version of those fish we caught in April, taking the smallest lure in the spread.

Carefully released back into the sea this juvenile Blue Fin Tuna has a wonderful journey ahead of him… a nice run South down the Spanish coastline, a passage through the Straits of Gibralter and then out into the wild Atlantic Ocean. With luck he´ll be back in these waters in a few years time, when he’s more than a hundred times the size he is now…

Shell Island, North Wales

Back to one of our favourite places and the previous home of the boat, Shell Island.

With no boat this time the fishing would have to be different so I started with a before-sunrise, early morning wander to the harbour as the low tide turned and water started to feed into the lagoon.

I used my favourite Bass lure, a Lucky Craft Gunfish, casted behind the breaking waves, much like the one you see in the picture above and started the week with this small Schoolie…

Later in the week Brad and myself took a trip on the charter boat running from the harbour, Western Flyer. Although it is primarily catering for holidy makers catching Mackerel & Bream I avoided the lure of plenty of fish on feathers, briefly transitioned to the dark side and contrary to all the ethics of this blog… I used bait…:(

Freelining a live mackerel onto the reef – which is almost lure fishing – I had this nice Bass which later starred as lunch on the BBQ…

My favourite fishing though was undoubtedly on the sandy beach that runs from Shell Island right through to Barmouth, a mark we never really used to put much effort into.

After some rough weather early in the week Friday turned out to be the best day weather wise – sunny skies and no wind – so an almost flat, calm and clear sea. Bass were just offshore and pushing tiny whitebait into the shallows – all given away by small gulls and Terns plunging into the water to feed on them.

Wading waist deep into the light surf, maybe just 20-30 yards out, I launched this small metal lure into and around some emerging bait balls and managed several more Bass, similar in size to the one caught on the boat. Was also a pretty exhilerating way of catching them…

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As regards the Bass fishing it all ended up as… Lures 3:1 Bait

All in all, a great week and very likely to see a repeat visit next year

Sitges

We seem to be in a nice period of warm weather, calm winds and smooth seas so with the memory of last years Spearfish still in my mind set out at dawn for a morning trolling session.

I pulled an assortment of trolling lures, two larger ones down the middle running in the clear water just behind the prop wash and two smaller ones running down the outside, positioned a little further back.

Pushed out past the drop-off, to where it´s really deep and found plenty life out there… a pod of dolphins who ran with me for a while, flying fish & some sun fish

Unfortunately any Spearfish out there eluded me. Fish wise I found nothing big and nothing new but lunch is sorted with this small Tuna who couldn´t resist what is probably the best trolling lure we´ve ever used…

Sitges

As is now obligatory I took the first week of April as one of my annual breaks from work. Purely for fishing.

A couple of friends came down from the UK who helped massively – spotting the fish, positioning the boat, unhooking the fish, taking some pictures etc – is all so much easier when done as a joint effort than it is on your own.

No secrets to how I fished this week… casting big poppers at the passing Blue Fin Tuna.

What a week it was…! Across the four days we fished I had multiple strikes, hooked up and pulled the hook on three of them, watch fish hit the popper so hard they simply launched it airborne, got so close we almost run over them, had one on the first cast of the morning, another on the second cast and in the end brought four to the boat, all but one released boat-side.

Heres the excitement as it starts, and the whole reason we do this…

Here´s one chasing down the popper, a heart stopping moment…

And some more boatside pics of what must be the greatest fish in the sea. Black, Gold & Silver…

Sitges

With the boat recently back from its annual scrub, paint & maintenance this morning seemed like the perfect opportunity to take the first proper trip of the year.

As always, we start the year with high hopes, big dreams and even bigger lures but unfortunatedly – although not unexpectedly as it is early February afterall – the theme of today became dawningly clear the moment I left Vila this morning and set off on the drive to Sitges – a little display in the car was smiling (laughing) at me showing it was 4 degree C outside. Oh boy, was it cold out there…

Started out from the port around 09:00 into a horrible lumpy sea which thankfully calmed down late morning but the waves weren´t disgusing anything – no gulls were dancing on the surface anywhere and it seems that I tried just a little bit too early – there is being nothing big here yet.

In the depths I found the usual culprits prowling the sea bed though, some Blotched Pickarel, a cool looking Lizardfish and huge shoals of the ever present Scad…

In anticipation of the weeks ahead, some photos of the fish finder show that there is plenty of life and food down there, all waiting for when that big stuff arrives… Won´t be long, can´t wait…

Sitges

I found the weather pretty spectacular today, with monsoon style downpours it probably seemed best to avoid…

Was quite a lumpy sea but just like we saw a couple of days ago, with Joachim & Juan, packed with small BFT in the 3-4lb range.

Best lure by far… a 2 euro special from Game Fisher, this yellow and orange Williamson Jet Head…

Ultimately it was not my best ever day, characterisized by a bizzare incident… as ever I had a 2 x rods in side mounted rod-holders. Starboard side hooked up, somehow rattled and then unfothomably popped right out of the rod holder… if anyone finds an Avet MXL attached to a Colmic trolling rod… and maybe attached to a Dorado… it´s mine..!

As ever, lessons in life are always learned the hard way…

Sitges

Three in three minutes…

Joachim, Juan and myself ventured out early this morning and at 8 NM found the sea literally alive with small Tuna… small Bluefin, Little Tuna and Bullet Tuna all mixed together and demolishing massive shoals of tiny whitebait.

We probably had 40-50 between us trolling and spinning with double hookups and even a treble hookup as we passsed one dense shoal.

Haven´t seen such a density of fish like this for a long time…

Two guys I know will sleep well tonight………….

Sitges

It was great weather this morning, no clouds & no wind so went offshore looking for some fish. As is normal I pulled 4 x 140mm Williamson trolling lures together with a small one out back which got all the attention today.

First hit on the small lure was a little Tuna, it then got chomped and bitten off by something larger, most likely a Bonito, then its replacement gave us todays lunch…

Sitges

Plan today was only to take lunch on the back of he boat with Loira and enjoy a bit of sunshine.

After a quick stop at the supermercado we left port mid morning then anchored up just beneath the cliffs under the coast road.

It really wouldnt be me if I didn´t take at least one rod and make the most of the opportunity (I took 3, just in case) so with a small popper cast towards the rocks under the cliffs quickly hooked up to an old favourite, still as acrobatic as always. Did manage a 2nd take a short while later but it didn´t hook up. Great to see them here for the summer…

Sitges

Summer seems to have started today. Hasn´t just been the weather but also the relaxing of lockdown measures…

Not that it all bothered me, I just went trolling…

A confession – I actually like trolling. It covers far more ground then you otherwise would and it allows you to fish more than one rod. Sure, it goes wrong when you have multiple hook-ups but that´s all part of the fun…

Anecdotaly, it was “expect the unexpected” which held true today. I set out all prepared to cast poppers at Tuna but, as ever, trolled lures on the way out. Just in case like…

No more than 2nm out from Aiguadolc one of the two rods arched over and the reel, losing line fast, screamed for attention.

At first I was sure this was just another Bluefin but right from the start the fight was quite different. Tuna are brutes, thugs, heavy & angry and pull fast & long, like freight trains. This was different, manageable, actually more enjoyable.

After a relatively short fight the first time I saw the fish was pretty close to the boat and it was just amazing, the colours of it were just not of this earth, it was all lit up, glowing neon blue & green. Angry. My first billfish…

We are guessing this as a Mediterranean Spearfish. Too big to ever come home so released back to the sea – an absolute privilege to have met you…

Back at the harbour, after washing the boat down, I walked through the port, up to my car. Sun was shining, bars were open, people were everywhere, taking drinks, smiling, talking, laughing and enjoying life.

I can assure you – not one of them had a bigger smile than me…

Sitges

Had one last try before what looks like a stormy weekend followed by going back to work next week. Found them slow today, with little interest in poppers so switched to a Duo Rough Trail Malice 130 lure. Had one take it but miss the single hook on the back but then hooked up a short while later. Popped it off at the side so not the best of pictures…

Sadly, maybe my last opportunity for a while… its been a fun Easter break.

That’s now 5 this Easter… if Carling did breaks from work…

Sitges

Set out nice and early this morning, at a time most normal people are finishing off their nights dreams, but was faced a nightmare of a horrendous, lumpy sea ahead of me which kept speeds down to 6 knots & below. At one point I honestly thought of turning around, jumpimg in the car and driving South for a day on the Ebro…

Kept going but with a sea literally alive with waves found it hard to see fish like I had over the past week. White caps & seagulls looked all the same – just white markers on a sea of blue – but I kept looking.

Boat fuel is expensive and boats aren´t exactly the most frugal of vehicles so in the interests of maximising my fish/litre ratio have always hung a lure out the back whilst mooching around like this, trolling, looking for life & fish activity. Today, a tiny, little Bertox Natural Sardine…

Thought very little of it & expected exactly the same from it and as I saw gulls ahead of me started to gradually reel it in. Thats when I hooked up first, something seeing it far more interesting than me and snatching it just metres from the boat..!

Wasn´t a big fish, perhaps just 18-20kg but was a handful on quite light gear like this, a Saltiga 8000 with 50lb braid & 40lb leader. With just a single hook there was no need to bring onboard so I released it boatside.

Immediately after, and with Tuna Gods obviously looking down on me, could see dancing gulls no more than 100yds away so slowly approached, this time with the “big rod” ready.

Launched a popper close by the shoal which led to 4-5 big Tuna visibly pursuing it. First one lunged at it clearing the water completely but missed it whilst the second totally nailed it. On again after only 5 mins – luck of the gods…!

Put some serious heat on this one and it was in the boat in 20-25mins…

And todays hero of the day, again a Tackle House Feed 135mm, this time in total white, a colour I really like as it´s pretending to be nothing special…

Two in one day… 🙂

If its blowing…

Sitges

The key…

Left the harbour very early again yesterday, as dawn broke.

Was fortunate to have a really calm sea ahead of me and quickly stumbled on a shoal of fish maybe 4nm out from Sitges, splashes in the water and Seagulls dancing above them the obvious markers of what lay below.

Crept up slowly so as not to spook them then the second cast was all it took to connect but this was immediately tougher than last weeks fish. Looking back at the Go-Pro we connected at 08:09…

Finally, at 09:46….

All on the same lucky lure as I used last week – Tackle House Feed 135mm Popper – this one now retired from active duty..!

Some collated Go-Pro footage, from the hook-up to just before the Go-Pro battery ran out, not that we were anywhere finished by then…

It is no coincidence that the last two Tuna I hooked up came at 07:30 and 08.09 – I think these fish are like many others and after a night of darkness feed heavily as dawn breaks.

They may also be less sensitive to our lines at this time which show more as the sun rises because I later made many other casts, right into similar breaking shoals, all without interest.

Once my arms recover I can test that theory again…

Sitges

At the 4th attempt…

They actually started to arrive 2/3 weeks ago.

I tried for them from the off but no matter what lures I first flung at them, starting with small lures like these Bertox Natural Sardine soft plastic lures, Jackfin Pelagus & various metals, then moving up to Dual Adagios & Duo Pressbaits they just weren´t interested…

I had a go at sneaking out early in the morning, trying to catch them before breakfast – theirs and mine – but that didn´t work either…

I had pretty high hopes yesterday though as the sea was like glass, Tuna were breaking the surface everywhere but big lures, small lures, every design you could ever think off, all launched right into the feeding melee… again, damn, simply no interest…

Tried again this morning but it wasn´t ideal conditions. Far from it actually with a cold 20 knot wind pushing down from the North, but as Capt. Ralph once said, “if its blowing, we´re going”

Left Sitges at sunrise and was upon a shoal at just 2nm from the harbour but same as… simply no interest in anything I cast at them.

Mooched out a little bit further and after a few casts to several other busts, yet again without interest, spotted a flock of gulls moving North. Quick. Undoubtedly there were Tuna beneath then but these weren´t shoaling and pushing up small baitfish, they were behaving differently, they were moving.

I raced to catch up with them, eventually drawing parallel then launched a popper -Tackle House Feed 135 – just ahead of what I anticipated to be the head of the shoal.

It had barely touched the water when it was smashed by a Tuna going airbourne, taking it completely out of the water. We´re on..!

Adrenaline immediately kicks in when you connect and initially there´s a million and one things going on in your mind… am I still tight to the fish, is my drag set right, wheres the Go-Pro, wheres the camera, I must get a picture, I still need to wind in the other rod I stupidly left trolling, it´s going under the boat, the engine is still on, how long will this last, my line is near the propellors, I need to physically hang on somewhere because it´s rough and I´m either falling down or over-board. Unnecessary mental badness slowly proliferates too, shit – the Go-Pro won´t turn on, where´s the landing net, damn – a tackle box fell off the bait well and now there´s lures all over the floor, I´m gonna lose it…

Beyond the chaos and excitement you eventually find yourself in this zone where nothing matters – only that fish on the end of your line. Your line too… right now thats maybe 100m out, stretched out so tight you´ll hear it whistling in the wind, only fractions of a millimetre thick and all thats standing between glory & devastating disappoinment. If there´s ever a time to doubt the integrity of your knots and your tackle it´s here and now.

Furthermore, the simple aspect of Time works very differently when you are hooked up to fish like this – 5 minutes might seem like an hour, an hour might seem like 5 minutes… I couldn´t hazard a guess as to how long the fight/agony/wonder/hope lasted…

And so, eventually… When it came to the boat it was the similar class size of fish we usually see, 60-70lbs. I couldn´t lift it onboard – it´s size and the waves not helping – so released it boatside. I really wish it well and would like to think that some day, sometime in the future – when it´s bigger, and I´m wiser – we´ll dance again once more…

#roughseas, #nobait, #luresonly, #onyourown

Sitges

Enjoyed a really calm morning out at sea today. Pulled the usual small trolling lures and a little past the drop off three rods arched over at the same time and I landed these two..

Was on the lookout for debris in order to cast for them but spotted nothing. I did see splashes everywhere – several small Whales, not sure what type, and dozens of Dolphins, many of them coming to ride the bow wave… all is well out there…

Sitges

Sneaked out this morning as it was all a bit of a calm before the storm moment… Found lots and lots of these small Tuna everywhere from 3 miles out to the horizon but sadly not the Dorado I was looking for.

Offshore I found plenty of debris in the water but only baby Amberjack beneath it. Fishing small jigs and surface plugs was good fun… for a short while.

Seems like the weather is cooling down nicely again right now though and hopefully weed-beds will soon start gather on the surface. As always, that´s when we´ll meet our arch nemesis again…

Tuna Tour

Not exactly fishing but swimming with them, so “fishy “all the same… http://www.tuna-tour.com is an amazing experience I would recommend to anyone.

Is now an annual pilgrimage and for a brief hour is worlds apart from anything else you´ll ever do this year. Is like entering an alien world, floating in space, being surrounded but monsters, each with the grace of a ballerina, passing inches by you, with hardly a flex of their muscles.

Sitges

Out for a quick evening session today. Much like the weekend we found lots of fish hanging around marker bouys – small Amberjack, small Tuna and best of all, lots more of these Dorado. All seemed a little bigger than they would normally would be in August so October is looking really promising now, they should be a great size by then…

Sitges

Back on familiar, home territory today. With the boat all refreshed with a new engine Kate, Olivia and myself set off early today. Was a breezy day with a pretty rough sea but we did well, eventually losing count of the fish we caught, Amberjack, Small Tuna and best of all… lots and lots of Dorado.

Oliver Allen… where are you

 

Sao Miguel Island, Azores

Somewhere new this year.

“Awesome” just does not do justice to the place and the views on the island are literally mind blowing…

 

We also went fishing, on a boat run by Filipe from azorseaadventures.com from a small village called Vila Franca do Campo.

Was initially nothing more than a day out at sea where we enjoyed seeing the wildlife… turtles, several whales, countless gulls and even more dolphins.

 

 

We also did a little fishing, dragging 4 lures around.

Nothing happened for a few hours but we saw plenty bait balls being smashed into on the surface. All the while, as we ran up to them it was seemingly always dolphins in on the party. “Too many dolphins...” is not something we say too often.

Filipe worked the boat really hard and pursued flocks of birds endlessly, often doubling back through them. At one point he muttered something on the lines of “They are here, I know they are here….

He wasn’t wrong.

Both port side rods arched over and massive 80W reels screamed as line was pulled from them.

Much of what happened next was a blur, grabbing pictures seemed a distant thought vs. fighting the fish but heres Kate hooked up…

 

After 2:30 we had my fish through the door and into the boat, a 109kg (240lb) Big Eye Tuna and after a 3:30 fight Kate landed hers, 117kg (258lb), more than twice her weight.

 

 

This was truly a day beyond our wildest dreams and I was so proud of Kate.

We all have our favourite holiday destinations… Shell Island, Cuba, Nefyn, Sitges, Abersoch etc. There´s a new one of the list now, a tiny island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean that´s like nowhere else on Earth.

I´ll be back…

Sitges Harbour Wall

On Friday night I had a few spare hours so took a walk down the harbour wall before the sun went down and was fortunate to get a small Bluefish.

Looking for more I had an early start this morning, well before the sun started to rise.

First cast with a Lucky Craft Gunfish and this guy crashed into it on the surface. As per usual, a great fight and lots of leaps skywards.

Sitges

Am suspecting Spain to go into virus lock-down soon so had a final trip out to sea before my fishing opportunities close. Was really hoping to see Tuna but unfortunately they just don´t seem to be here yet so dropped some sabikis to the bottom in order to see what small stuff was around. All seems well down there as I found it alive with the usual culprits… Red Bream, Scad, Blotched Pickerel, Red Gurnard, Bogue, Mackerel and my very own Arch Nemesis – the Greater Weever…

Sitges

October. By far the best month for both the weather and the fishing here in the Western side of the Meditteranean.

Slipped out for a quick session this morning (work in the afternoon) and just lost count. As I recall… Amberjack no more than 500m from the harbour entrance, a substantial 6lb Dorado next around the 1km mark then out at sea too many small Tuna to remember. Bonito, Little Tuna, Small BFT everywhere.

Easy. Just like this…

Tomorrow is not a half day at work. Its a full day off work. Lets see what comes…

Sitges

A pleasure to be out on the boat this morning as September & October really are the nicest months of the year. Found the sea to be alive with Dorado everywhere there was structure, debris, buoys etc.

Sometimes I can catch them…

Sometimes it just doesn´t matter….

In the next month these should almost double in size, from 1.5 to 3kgs. Roll on October…!

Sitges

Summer is drawing to a close over here, its mid September now but the fishing is hopefully coming to a peak. Took a ride out this morning and along with a couple of small Tuna the Dorado are here – not big yet but as we get to the end of October they should be twice the size. All on the same lure today – a multi coloured Williamson…

Cuba

We made our way back to Sata Lucia again and it was still the same wonderful place we left two years ago. After the first taxi ride up to La Boca it took Kate just 10 minutes to land our first big Barracuda of the trip. We next had a trip out on the catamarans running from the hotel beach and quite soon it was 2/0 with an even bigger fish…!

Across the week I launched most of my lures towards the far bank of the estuary and lost count of the casts I made. Loira’s dad had just one cast and launched himself to the far bank too… In the end I was finally rewarded with the one you see on the rocks in the pictures below.

It’s not only about fishing here though, it’s the experience of being somewhere really special.

 

Sitges

Coming along for the ride…

We found this little guy way out at sea today, a hell of a lot further from home that he should have been. He took a rest with us for a while, tagged along for the ride back then left, laving a little luck my way in the form of this Bonito. First proper fish of the year and we’ll eat well tonight…

Sitges

Back out this Friday morning after some great days over these last few weeks.

Was neither cloudy or sunny and it felt like a final day before the season here finishes, winter draws in and we have that long wait till Easter.

Had several small Tuna along the way… also had another Dorado casting at floating debris… missed something big that arched a rod over as we passed more debris (likely another late season Dorado)… but all is well…

Childs play right now…

Sitges

Had a great day at sea yesterday with perfect weather and plenty of fish. One of the first up was the nice, round small Bluefin you see above

Then by lots of fortune, miles offshore, I found a tree…

log

Was full of life below it and I had several Wreckfish, a new species for me…

tbc

Bit best of all 6 really nice Dorado caught spinning a small baitfish lookalike casting lure…

dora

Here are a couple…

I eventually moved on but before coming  home took a final drive past and sure enough the rod closest arched over for the biggest of the day…

Sitges

Had a long day out in the sun today and it was great just to see these small Blue-Fin Tuna smashing into baitfish, flying out of the water, going totally airborne and cartwheeling through the sky.

They are the same age fish we caught earlier in the summer – but when they were much smaller – this is how fast they pack on the pounds and mature.

Underwater they seem to be almost made of metal…

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