Big Rays from the Beach
I have just returned from a family holiday in Caleta de Fuste, Fuerteventura.
Whilst it was a beach and relax holiday I felt that it would be a waste if I did not at least try to sample some of the fishing available…..
Imagine my surprise (and my wife’s dismay/horror) to find the local fishing shop not nearby -but actually adjoining our hotel foyer!
The store is known as ‘Gone Fishing’ and Aram the owner is also one of my Facebook friends. I would point out that I really did not know his store was that close when booking our holiday! After unpacking I made the short walk down to the shop to say hello. Aram is as passionate as they come about fishing. He is a wealth of information on all the types of fishing available and cannot do enough in ensuring that you know the best places to fish and baits to use. Must admit that I found his tide-clock in his shop a big bonus when deciding when to take the boys fishing. I could walk through the foyer and peer through the window of the store to see what was happening with the tide.
I stocked the ice box in our room with frozen bait from Aram and worked out a couple of trips with my boys to fish the nearby lagoons. I love fishing off the rocks and it is great for the boys in that they get plenty of bites from different species. Plus there is always the chance to hook into something unexpected. Both Scott and Jack did this on separate mornings. The ending was the same with the unseen fish finding sanctuary in the rocks…..
My boys and the front of the shop. Our hotel is through the doors on the left!
Afternoons were usually spent on the beach and as the walk back took me right past the door of his store I found myself chatting with Aram on most days. Aram knowing of my passion for boats arranged a day jigging for me with one of the local specialist boats. Unfortunately the wind at this time of the year can really blow and it did not look very good for the only days that I had free to fish. With this in mind Aram came up with plan B – beach fishing…. As part of the shop he also runs guided evening trips to fish some of the nearby deserted beaches for big rays. Over the years they have released a number of fish over 150lbs and lost some much bigger! Aram said that only the previous week he had seen a fish in the region of 200lbs just feet from the shoreline.
So an evening beachcasting for sting, butterfly or other rays was decided upon. You also have the chance of bonus leerfish and bluefish. The bluefish around the island run to World record size with the largest recorded by commercial fishermen being over 15kg (the IGFA All Tackle World Record is 14.4kg!). Come the evening and we packed the tackle and bait into his car and set off just after 7.00pm. With only a very small window of evenings to fish the tide and moon (full) was not that favourable. But as they say “you never know unless you go”.
We drove around 45minutes or so to the chosen beach and arrived to see only a couple of ‘beat up’ surf campers with ‘sufer dudes’ as occupants and a commercial boat working for bait offshore.
Deserted Beach…..just one set of tracks and not a tourist in sight!
We drove to the far end of the beach and started to set-up. Aram uses a mix of rods with Shakespeare and Penn being his favourites. He has had fish of 150lb on these whilst also casting big baits somewhere around 130metres! Now that is product testing!
The tide was just coming to it’s low point and we could see the beach shelved gently for some 50metres or so before dropping away over a ledge. We were fishing three rods and cast one just over the shelf, one at 100m to the left and one at 130m or so to the right.
Two Hook Rig
Aram uses a two hook (6/0) rig with a bait clip. Bait is usually one or two sardines firmly bound on with bait elastic. The sardines are well soaked in fish oil to ooze a great sent trail and it also gives you a very good indication of exactly where they are from the surface slick that they emit.
Aram also fills a chum sack with mashed bread, sardines and fish oil which he stakes in the tide to draw fish in. Jaws the movie sprang into my mind!
With the three rods cast we sat back to enjoy the sun setting over the hills behind us. As dusk was fast approaching we saw the fantastic sight of big bluefish crashing bait around 200m from shore. Just too far to cast but would they be pulled in by our bait trail?
Starlights and the moon…..With a reflection from the sea.
Darkness fell, the moon rose up to light up the sky and reflect off the waves. By now the tide had started to rise and we were hopeful of a fish or two. We fished on with no indications and decided to re-bait. No sooner had we completed this on the near rod than I noticed a sharp ‘rap’ on Aram’s middle rod. There was another sharp ‘rap’ and then nothing. Next the same happened on the closer re-baited rod. Neither hooked up or gave chance for us to pull into the fish. That was it – nothing until we reluctantly decided to pack away just after midnight.
Although we were not lucky on this trip there is no doubt in my mind that Aram has this type of fishing really worked out. With a better tide and moon I am sure that we would have been successful. The previous week he had fish on 6 separate sessions.
To prove me right the following evening he took a young lad Niall Thompson and his dad from our hotel fishing. Niall is fishing mad and was so excited about trying for a ray. He was lucky and had a nice butterfly ray plus a small stingray to bring a huge smile to his face.
Two shots above show a very happy Niall Thompson with his Butterfly Ray of around 35lb
If you are travelling to Fuerteventura and you fancy something a little different from your normal UK style fishing then you really can do no better than contact Aram at the shop.
Hotel Geranios Suites
Tel/Fax (+34) 928 067 041
Mob (+34) 669 088 337