Monday, 19 July 2010

Los Cancajos - La Palma - Canary Islands

I went to La Palma in the Canary Islands to do one hiking, birdwatching, snorkelling and fishing. My goal was that if I caught 10 species, it would make it a good trip and if I caught 20, it would have been excellent.

The initial idea for the first day was to fish off the rocks on a headland called Punta de la Caleta Grande at the north-east end of Playa de los Cancajos, into the swimming beach with lures. I had an arsenal of several Rapalas, Chrome Slices, Minnows and Feathers. The first fish of the trip was caught on a Flashmer 40gm lure, a Diamond Lizard fish. A few minutes later, the lifeguard came, and was told that I was only allowed to fish on the other side of the point where there were much rougher seas in a bay called Caleta Grande. Tried a few different things and caught another Diamond Lizardfish on feathers. They were silver tinsel feathers with red plastic. The same set of feathers that I had caught several dozens of Mackerel on.

Tried a few other chrome slice type lures and noticed a schoal large fish following the lure. Managed to hook up to one and landed my first Grey Triggerfish to a Tsunami Stinger lure. Caught another 3 on that lure and lost about the same number before retiring to fish a small rockpool in the me of the rocky headland for a break.

Diamond Lizardfish - Synodus synodus
Diamond Lizardfish - Synodus synodus #91

Grey Triggerfish - Balistes carolinensis
Grey Triggerfish - Balistes carolinensis #92

There were a few gobies of various sizes, ornate wrasse and a few silver fish of about 3cm, which were either mullet or sand smelt. Was able to only hook into some of the gobies on bread and a 18 hook, which were later identified as Madeira Gobies. The mullet/smelt were too small. Dropped the line back into the calm bay as well and got a few ornate wrasse but couldn't hook into any of the Canary Damsels I could see swimming about, until I got told off by the life guard again.

So fished back into the rough surf, this time with the flashmer lure and hooked into something really heavy and took a lot of line, but it dropped off the line and retrieved a fishless lure. I then started hooking into a few triggers again only landing one. I decided to call it the day, catching three new species, out of four.

Madeira Goby - Mauligobius maderensis
Madeira Goby - Mauligobius maderensis #93

Ornate Wrasse - Thalassoma pavo
Ornate Wrasse - Thalassoma pavo

Grey Triggerfish - Balistes carolinensis
Grey Triggerfish - Balistes carolinensis

The next night, the night of the Spain vs Germany Semi-final, decided to fish the beach at Playa de los Cancajos after the game. I used prawn bought from the local SPAR and after a few casted, hooked up good into a fish, but the baitrunner on my reel over ran causing a birdsnest, so I had to handline the fish in fly-fishing style and ended up landing and releasing a nice Gilthead Bream. This was interesting because the Gilthead Bream is meant to be quite rare in the Canary Islands, and although I saw at least 5 other species snorkelling in the same waters, I didn't end up catching any of these but caught this species instead. Although I released this fish, I'm sure it would have made better eating the other other bream species there.

This make it 4 new species out of 5 after two days fishing.

Gilthead Seabream - Sparus auratus
Gilthead Seabream - Sparus auratus #94

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