After what seems like an eternity I returned to the Mediterranean shores for some much needed surfcasting practice. The last competition I took part in
was way back on the weekend of 3rd / 4th June so I was eager to sort out my gear and get ready for the second half of the competition year. As with any sport practice is the key to success and it is all too easy to leave preparations until the last minute. I was contacted by Colin Francis, one of the UK’s top surfcasters. Colin had arrived for a holiday here and wanted advice on licences for himself and partner Roberta. After a long chat on the phone we obtained licences for them both and arranged to meet for some shore fishing so Colin could see how different the techniques are when fishing the Mediterranean, a great kick up the backside for me to focus on shore fishing again. Colin was very interested to use the so called euro rods that are selling fast in Britain, the light three piece rods I use manufactured by Spanish company Grauvell. We met up for a wonderful lunch at the Avenida Restaurante on the Paseo in Puerto De Mazarron and discussed the many differences in casting styles, regulations within competition, terminal rigs and past experiences. As it is the middle of the holiday season obviously fishing from the busy beaches is not allowed so we headed off on a bit of a 4X4 trek over the mountainous landscape of the Bolnuevo National Park to fish from the Roman Wharf. Colin and Bobbie were amazed by the scenery and the remoteness.
They were staying further up the coast in Quesada and had not realised that the landscape was so different south of Cartagena. As we set the rods up, Colin and I went through the differences between the heavy English rods and the much lighter Spanish examples. The fixed spool reel is the norm here and Colin understood that distance is not everything when fishing a water the size of the Mediterranean that has very little tidal influence so multipliers are not used. Instead fast retrieval fixed spools with thin line are suited better: Colin remarked that most of the top men in the UK seem to be following suit also especially when competing on the world stage alongside the southern European masters in their own backyards. We observed the fish in the clear waters and I explained that very much like coarse fishing it is all very well casting out two hundred metres but if the fish are feeding under your feet there is very little point. It was decided that we would not in the afternoon heat be able to target any large fish so we went for the Raspallón using Titas and Coreano worm baits. Colin had immediate results with one on each of the hooks presented on the two hook paternosters we were using. Bobbie followed up with several more together with a variety of other species over the next four hours. One species the Vaca – Serrano does become a nuisance when fishing around rocks and today was no exception. I caught one after another - funny I can never get them on the hook in competition! The Vaca has a huge mouth for its size and will try and devour anything in its path. Colin ended a very enjoyable session with a specimen Raspallón of twenty centimetres, the maximum size they grow to and he was a happy man. We actually headed off home at the time we should have been starting to fish but this had been for enjoyment and learning so it did not matter. Angling is about enjoying the sport and if you cannot enjoy it here in these idyllic surroundings then I think you would struggle to enjoy it anywhere. The next morning after some serious casting I ached and it just proved how out of shape I was, so a lesson learned and with three rounds left in the Puerto De Mazarron Surfcasting Championship plus several Open Competitions to compete in before the end of the year it is time to get back to the grindstone and practice, practice, practice.
Copyright © Gary Smith & Luigi Mateos