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.

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 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 my 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

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

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

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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Arch Nemesis

Impossible to catch for someone but thankfully not for me..! It has been scorching hot these last few days and there are plenty of nice sized Dorados about right now – I had 6-7 this morning along with some small Amberjack and small Tuna.

Tuna caught casting Halco Twistys. Dorado caught on small Williamson trolling lures, modified slightly, with double instead of single hook.

 

dorrrrr

Cuba – La Boca

On the North coast of Cuba, at the South East end of where the Cayos start I fished at La Boca which is a little inland from Playa Coco, reputedly one of Cubas finest beaches…

PSL
Bay of Nuevitas

Only used 1 lure, a 49g Halco Rooster 135 popper which took some serious Barracuda and a first for me, a nice Jack Crevalle.

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Jack Crevalle

ss
A happy guy

DCIM100GOPROGOPR7188.
One of many Barracuda

And with my helpers that day. The local guy that landed the fish for me ate well that night…