Harry recently joined the guy’s from Piscari Sporting on the island of Gran Canaria with a view to some rip roaring tuna action aboard their Puerto Rico based big game vessel, Cavalier.
The plan of attack was to try and get a hook up from a Blue Fin tuna, a species that can give you the fight of your life should you be lucky enough to hook one. Despite the best efforts of skipper Hafi, it became clear after a couple of days that although reasonably healthy catches of the target species had been made the week previous to Harry’s trip, these big blue water sport fish were going to play hard ball and even though fish were sighted smashing into bait balls, an encounter was never fulfilled.
Although it was more than enjoyable to cruise the deep and brilliant inshore waters that the Canary Islands have to offer, having travelled this far Harry was keen to get a hook up on something big one way or another and so did a little research into just what the islands shore fishing had to offer.
The following evening, armed with a 30/50lb Penn Rampage boat rod and a Shimano Saragosa 10000 reel, Harry found himself on the end of a long boulder clad breakwater. A selection of heavy mono traces terminating in 8/0 Varivas Big Mouth Xtra hooks had been prepared and a little bait gathered in the form of locally netted herring. The basic running ledger trace was baited and cast into the darkness. The reels clutch was checked and Harry sat back for what might have been a long wait. It wasn’t long however before a little line ticked off the spool and Harry picked up the rod to investigate. He adjusted the clutch slightly and waited. After a minute or two, whatever was responsible seemed to have moved on, but just as he was about to place the rod back on the rocks, the tip pulled round hard and line was torn from the reel. Holding the short rod aloft, Harry was totally taken aback as a very large and powerful fish tore line from the reel, increasing in momentum as it went. A minute passed and with the reels line level now dangerously low, Harry realised that this fight was only going to end one way. An extremely large marauding fish that refused to stop, let alone be turned, finally got the better of him as the remaining line left the reel, the knot parting like a sickening pistol shot.
Slumped down on the rocks feeling pretty beat up, Harry vowed to return the following night, providing he could locate some replacement mainline. The following day afloat proved once more to be fruitless, but with the events of the previous night still fresh in his mind, Harry very much looked forward to another crack at landing the unseen giant.
That evening, joined this time by Piscari Sporting front man Oscar Knowles, Harry once again found himself on the rocky promontory, the sun dipping below the horizon before darkness fell on the quiet port. By torch light the rods were assembled, baited and cast and the two anglers looked on with high hopes. Half an hour passed by and it entered Harry’s mind that the previous encounter may have been a fluke, a one off…a blown chance. Suddenly the silence was shattered as Oscar stood up clutching his light rod which was arching over in his grasp as once again a large fish tore line away far below. But when it looked like this was to be a repeat of Harry’s encounter, for whatever reason the fish suddenly stopped and Oscar was able to get line back on the reel. With every few yards he teased back, the fish would once again move away, putting agonising strain on both Oscar and the rod. But this fight wasn’t over just yet and it soon became apparent that there was a real chance of getting this one ashore. As the reel gradually began to fill up and the leader came into view, Harry shone his torchlight on the water.
A huge flat shape began to kite up through the depths and it was clear for both to see that this was a ray. Sure enough, Harry was able to take hold of the trace and release the fish without harm (it is illegal to land rays here) as an exhausted Oscar threw his rod down and caught his breath. Estimated at over 80lb, this Butterfly ray was one heck of a shore caught fish, made all the more rewarding for it being landed on just a four piece lure rod.
Next it was Harry’s turn to make a hook up and as he played his fish shoreward, it was evident that this was a little more manageable. The fish ran left and it ran right, seemingly far more manoeuvrable than a ray. Oscar made his way down to the waters edge and was able to tail Harry’s catch- a surprise smoothound that weighed 29lb.
Further hook ups with larger fish ended in disaster as the unseen adversary would either run the mainline off over a sharp reef or pull all of the line from the reel, but despite this, Harry was pleased to have found some interesting shore sport to turn the week around. He is heading back out to the Canary Islands later this year so look out for a follow up to this story and hopefully an account of a monster capture.