First Fish of the Year (at last!)
Well it certainly has been quite a while. In fact I can't honestly remember the last time I actually caught a fish (save for the great time I had with my youngest at the end of last summer) and it wasn't for the lack of trying!
My fishing buddy, Omer, and I have been out loads of times over the autumn, winter and spring months with virtually nothing to show for our efforts. Omer did manage a couple of fish and I had a couple of takes but no hook-ups. So it was a great adrenaline rush to hook into my first fish of the year.
It happened that Omer wasn't feeling too good and so I called up Eyal whom I had met on a fishing trip a couple of weeks earlier. We agreed to meet on the beach at Sidney Alley at about 04:45 (just before first light) this last Sunday morning (Shavuot Holiday). I got there before him and made a few casts with a Lucky Craft Gunfish 75 in Aurora Ghost Wakasagi color on my ultra light gear. Nothing doing. So when Eyal arrived just before 5 he suggested we move up a little bit to where there are some shallow reefs and a sort of lagoon. I cast out about 35 meters and after a couple of walk-the-dog strokes I hit what seemed like a rock. I thought to myself "How can I snag a topwater?". The 'snag' started to shake its head vigorously and head off on a short run. It was actually quite difficult knowing how much line he was taking as the 'clicker' on my drag was inoperative due to some grease and it was still sort of dark. I could only guess what was happening by the direction of the line and the curve of my rod.
As the light started to get better I could see that there was a small rock sticking out of the water and I had to steer the fish away from there several times. The fish felt big and it was certainly a powerful one - this wasn't going to be an easy or short fight.
The fight seemed to last a long time and i was thinking to myself that I really wanted to see what i had hooked and at the same time to to try to hard to get him in as I didn't want the line (I was using 5lb PowerPro) to break and lose, not only the fish but my lure.
The light was getting better by now and I could see that I had him pretty close the shore and could actually see his dorsal and tail fin. I was hoping it was a sea bass or even a blue fish but the shape of what I could see wasn't either of them.
I could now see that it wasn't going to be easy landing him as there were no waves to assist me in washing him ashore and that there was a bit of a drop off just half a meter from the shore's edge. I called to Eyal to se if he had a landing net. He duly brought it over and I remember saying to myself "What's that - a shrimp net?". It was tiny but all that we had. Eyal is pretty new to lure fishing and his first attempt/thrust to net the fish had me worried. I told him to give me the net and that I would manage okay by myself - I didn't want him startling the fish into a last minute surge for freedom. After a couple more minutes, the fish still had a lot of fight left in him, I managed to turn him and get his head and most of his body over the net and a gentle lift and he was mine. A lovely sized and healthy looking 1.8 Kg blue runner!
A Lovely Sized and Healthy Looking 1.8 Kg Blue Runner
The feeling of having broken such a long dry period with such a fish is indescribable! And I even managed a small grouper on a Rapala ultra light minnow later in the morning:
A Small Grouper Caught on a Rapala ULM04
Eyal also managed a small grouper on a Toby like spoon and a small octopus on a pink Ryobi Trapper Minnow.
A Small Octopus Caught on a Pink Ryobi Trapper Minnow
So a great way to begin again and gain some encouragement to keep going knowing that although the Mediterranean is somewhat over-fished, there are still some great fish to catch and with that I hope that I will have some more catch reports in the near future :-)