Coarse Fishing in Spain by Philip Pembroke

Information about places to go fishing for mako and Bluefin shark in Spain

Buscalo, Nov 2007

Part 1

Many anglers who are new to the pleasures of fishing wrongly assume that most of the time big baits attract larger fish, and that the most effective way to bag a whopper is to attach the largest bait to the biggest hook.

If memory serves me correctly, Buscalo readers will also recall the 1970’s Hollywood blockbuster film called Jaws. The actor Robert Shaw, who played the role of the big game fisherman, hired by the New York beach resort to rid them of the white leviathan of the film's title, used huge chunks of raw meat to entice the man eating great white shark. His information about places to go fishing for mako and Bluefin shark was expert.

But this is the world of films and I am sure that the screenwriter, Peter Benchley was more concerned with entertaining a cinema audience than relying on absolute authenticity. Returning to Spain, I presume that the last fish most sea anglers would enjoy finding on the end of their line is an enraged great white shark.

Providing information about places to go fishing for mako and Bluefin shark in Spain isn't an exact science. Although this fish species is a superb ocean going animal, which is sometimes found much closer to shore in the Mediterranean Sea than people like to think, Mako and Blue Fin are the smaller species of shark that anglers are more likely to target and catch from a boat in the sea off the Costa resorts. They still grow up to two metres but the baits required to catch them are smaller than a Hollywood scriptwriter’s lunch.

I would include mackerel (up to 1 kg) filleted from tail half way up with a hook pushed through the top half so when trolled off the back of a boat the loose filleted tail section flaps around a lot and resembles a fish in distress.

Large rays that inhabit the sea bottom will fall to even smaller hook baits like a squid and lugworm cocktail that is presented using a lead weighted paternoster ledger rig.

From the shore, many enjoy casting from the rocks using a bubble float and bread hook bait to catch large mullet specimens that a friend told me recently took 25 metres of line from his reel off Denia breakwater in north Costa Blanca.

I would recommend safe and pleasant locations like this to first time anglers as the perfect place to begin that quest for a big fish, but start with more modest ambitions unless you want to end up like Chief Brody, clinging to a sinking ship’s mast with a Great White shark bearing down on you and only one bullet left in his gun. If this fate does befall you I suggest that you sacrifice any Hollywood actors present first, a countless audience will tell you that this is a large bait that man eaters can’t resist.

Part 2 - providing information about places to go fishing for mako and Bluefin shark in Spain

In my last feature I wrote about what size baits anglers should employ to catch fish at sea and that a smaller bait is often more effective than a larger one when catching the bigger fish. Now I will turn my attention to freshwater fishing.

Many anglers complain that their hook baits attract many smaller fish up to 2 kg and even terrapins and crayfish when attempting to fish their local embalse – Spanish reservoir. They find it impossible to locate the bigger carp amongst the smaller stuff.

In this instance selecting a bigger hook bait that smaller carp cannot possibly swallow is a good idea. Not just this but also a bait that is hard enough to resist the attention of nibbling crustaceans. For instance a large, rock hard boilie (specialist carp bait made from protein or carbohydrate based reconstituted foodstuffs) attached to a hair rig. The total numbers of bites will diminish dramatically but those fish that are hooked will be much bigger in size.

An angler is never really sure what is going to pop up next. I have used the largest spinner lure in my tackle box on occasions and it has attracted the smallest zander, pike or perch in the water, even smaller than the lure. On the other hand I have used a very small spinning lure that has hooked much bigger carnivorous fish. This world of fishing is full of surprises and that is what makes our pastime so exciting.

I am often asked by so and so new to particular water if I know how big the fish are there. In my opinion this is a nonsensical approach since the best way to find out is to cast a line your self.

One or two anglers in Spain, the minority will turn their noses up at a lake that does not have a proven track record in supporting big fish. And will only follow in another’s footsteps unwilling themselves to risk a little and try somewhere new.

The rewards are there to be discovered in Spain for the more adventurous and open-minded angler, grab a road map and a copy of my new Santana guidebook about angling in Spain and start fishing.

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