Saturday, 24 July 2010

Playa de los Cancajos and La Caleta de la Ballena - La Palma - Canary Islands

After a day of catching mediocre fish, I decided to nightfish at beach again. Instead of using a running ledger like I did on the previous night session, this time I used a two-up paternoster, to keep the hooks off the rocks. Since the last trip, I'd snorkelled the beach, so I know the geography of the beach. After a little while, had a few taps of the rod and I was in. After a quick scrap, I had a nice little silver fish in my hand. I had no idea what it was, my first thoughts was that it was a little bream, possibly an Axillary bream (Pagellus acarne) as I had previously taken photos of these guys in a fish market in Lyon, France. When I got back to the apartment and examined the photographs, I relised that the dorsal fin was wrong for a bream, and thought that it was some sort of bass or serranid. In a bream the spines and rays are roughly the same length for the entire length of the fin, but in this fish, where the spines get shorter and shorter but when the meet the soft rays the rays start of large again, making a little notch in the fin. This fin kind of reminds me of estuary perch back home. Found out that the fish was a fish called a Bastard Grunt.

Bastard Grunt - Pomadasys incisus
Bastard Grunt - Pomadasys incisus #98

Bastard Grunt - Pomadasys incisus
Bastard Grunt - Pomadasys incisus - check out the dorsal fin

On the 11th, fished the Caleta again because of its short distance away hoping to finially catch something different. Again I couldn't get away from the Canary Damsels and Ornate Wrasse. I did get a few really nice looking males wrasses though and managed to get another single Hairy Blenny. I even riggged a whole prawn on a pennel rig on number 1 hooks but still managed hook a tiny canary damsel on it. After a while I did manage to hooked into something different. It was a nice looking puffer that i had seen snorkelling the previous day called a Guinean Puffer which is commonly mistaken for the Band-tailed Puffer (Sphoeroides spengleri) which occurs in the West Atlantic. It has what looks like spikes when seen in the water, but I dont think I felt them when I was handling this one. Towards the end of the session and as I was getting bored, I found a nice red rock crab. (a species recently split from Grapsus grapsus sometimes called the Sally Lightfoot.) I found that it really liked my prawn bait as well and chased it when I casted towards it and managed to catch it. Its a splendid looking beast when holding it infront of you.

Ornate Wrasse - Thalassoma pavo
Ornate Wrasse - Thalassoma pavo - this one is a male.

Guinean  Puffer - Sphoeroides marmoratus
Guinean Puffer - Sphoeroides marmoratus #99

Guinean  Puffer - Sphoeroides marmoratus
Guinean Puffer - Sphoeroides marmoratus

Red Rock Crab - Grapsus adscensionis
Red Rock Crab - Grapsus adscensionis

So after a week of fishing, I decided to pack up and clean all of my gear that night so that it was clean and dry when it had to go into the luggage but I did leave out my fly rod, line and flies so that I could have a quick flick in the morning, and thats exactly what I did. I had gotten a nice #8 6ips (inches per second) sinking line specifically for this purpose. I went straight to the Caleta in the morning to test this out. Tied on a clouser and found that I was able to cast quite well. I was actully casting as far as I could cast a 3oz lead. The line that I was stripping out got caught on the very sharp rocks at my feet a few times and since I didn't have a bucket, I had to keep very large loops in my hand but it was really good to be able to cast the amount of line I was casting out, even though I didn't hook into anything. I tried about 5 different types of flies but got tried. I then tried to cast tiny flies into the rockpools. The larger 4" blennies followed each time but would turn away at the last possible moment. I did try a few flies but wasn't able to hook into any. Time to called it the day. It was great fun to be able to fly fish in the sea as I don't really ever get a chance back in England.

In the end, I caught 11 species of fish, 9 of those lifers and a new species of crab. Not bad at all. I'd also like to mention that I didn't eat any of the fish and they all went back into the sea!

So I'm one species away from catching 100 species.

Grand Total:
2010: 36 species, 18 new species
Life: 99 species, 81 with photos

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