I was contacted in the beginning of August by two gentlemen who I had sold some of my surplus fishing tackle to a year ago, enquiring about some training in the methods of fishing the Mediterranean. After explaining that it is not a good time of year for fishing from the beaches in the daytime due to the amount of swimmers, sunbathers etc, they asked about fishing at night. They both had previous experience, so I agreed we would go to Isla Plana just outside Puerto De Mazarron. Regular followers of this column will know this is one of my favourite haunts, I like it because there is a good stretch of clean sandy seabed and you can park the car metres away and most of the beach is lit by streetlights. We agreed to meet up on the next Monday night and at nine o'clock and do four or five hours fishing. I had arranged for my fellow English member of Puerto De Mazarron Fishing Club, Peter Birch and his grandson Kyle to join us as I had competed in a competition on the previous Saturday night and had a lot of surplus worms left over. It is always a shame to waste good bait so this presented an excellent opportunity to put them to good use.
As we approached the beach at Isla Plana it appeared that most of the Murcian Regions population were there. I had forgotten it was holiday Monday. We waited half an hour and darkness started to fall, and with it the numbers of the sun worshippers on the beach. We picked a spot to set up, a little further down than my normal place, as we thought it good practice to keep well away from the few people who were still on the beach. Always remember if you are going fishing off the beach, keep well away from everyone else, whether it be winter or summer, as four ounce leads flying around at over a hundred miles an hour are lethal. Before you set up check the water for swimmers and scuba divers. Do not just presume they will move as they probably have not even seen you. If necessary move along to a quieter spot. It is not a them and us situation, we are all there for enjoyment. By nine thirty we were all set up and before the first cast out of the night the usual mixture of excitement and anticipation was building. What would we catch? What is lurking out there? Will it be a big Bass or a giant Magret? I love that feeling, it would be good if we ever caught any of these giants we dream of, but that's what it is all about. Until anyone has experienced this moment they will never understand what fishing is all about. I would suspect that many of you reading this were first introduced to fishing at an early age by your Parents or Grandparents and have been hooked since that time, learning many things about nature, sportsmanship and skills that helped to prepare you for life ahead. It is fantastic when young people are still introduced to basic hobbies such as fishing for this reason - to give them an interest in their environment and learn new skills for their future.
On the face of it the night was perfect for fish to be feeding, especially the Magret, with flat calm waters, the only problem I could foresee was the moon. It was seventy five percent illuminated, a waxing gibbous. This was low and very bright shining directly onto the waters we were fishing. I am reliably informed by my Spanish 'gurus' that this tends to put fish off feeding as they are visible to predator fish in the clear waters and become an easy food source themselves. Peter and Kyle had cast out first and immediately Kyle had a Magret, only thirty metres out, not very big but maybe I had been proved wrong about the moon. Colin and Alan meanwhile were wrestling with the loading of the worms onto the baiting needles. Obviously at night it is best to wear a headlight to make things easier. An all round camping type light is ok for general light but for working with hooks and worms headlights are fantastic as wherever you're looking light is there. After a little casting practice the duo were ecstatic to see the rod tip bend and retrieve two Magret one on each hook, again at around thirty metres. I had one rod at a hundred metres and one at seventy and had not had a bite! Over the next three hours we caught around fifteen fish. None were going to break records but we had a good laugh along the way and I think Colin and Alan learnt something, going through terminal rig preparation and the different species of fish that were likely to be caught here. We did use all the bait but as the moon rose and covered more water the fish stopped feeding, so we tried prawn and sand eel as bait to try and attract the bigger fish that may have been patrolling the shores for smaller fish to feed on. It has worked before but that night we failed miserably with our ploy. At two in the morning we decided to call it a day and head off to bed with excited talk of when and where the next fishing extravaganza would take place. We now know that worm baits are available twenty four hours a day, ANJU Sport Fishing in Puerto De Mazarron is one of several fishing shops that has installed a refrigerated coin operated worm dispenser outside his premises, this is a real step forward. This had been a good night and above all it was enjoyable, and as mentioned earlier, that is what it is all about.
Copyright © Gary Smith & Luigi Mateos