Catch Fish with
For anyone unfamiliar with the site always check the FRESHWATER, SALTWATER and TACK-TICS pages. The Saltwater page now extends back as a record of over several years of (mostly) sea fishing and may be a useful guide as to when to fish. The Freshwater stuff is also up to date now. I keep adding to both. These pages are effectively my diary and the latest will usually be about fishing in the previous day or two. As you see I also add the odd piece from my friends and correspondents if I've not been doing much. The Tactics pages which are chiefly 'how I do it' plus a bit of science are also updated regularly and (I think) worth a read (the earlier ones are mostly tackle and 'how to do it' stuff).
We’ve just returned from Brazil where we went for our granddaughter Jasmine’s first birthday. As I said last time we don’t go for the fishing, but with the house only a minute from the beach I had to have a dabble. On my previous visit it was clear that the shore near the house was only likely to produce small stuff – although the variety of fish species present is incredible.
The local fishermen fish for the small fish with a range of nets and traps and generally get nothing more than about a pound in weight. Sure enough, as before, a few exploratory sessions with paternostered prawn baits produced silver catfish plus a selection of other mini-species. Locals using beach seines were landing all sorts of miniature fish – most of which go for the pot. Many of these tiddlers are the young of larger species including jacks, permit, bonefish, croakers, pompano, puffers, grunts, snapper, gurnards, flatfishes, ladyfish, mullets, goatfish and so on, along with a vast range of small baitfish types. It’s mind boggling to see the contents of just a single haul.
However, one of the first surprises for my son Richard and I when we returned from a walk along the beach was to see the catch from the nearby fish trap. The traps are only emptied at low water and on this day it fell at early evening. One of the two chaps who run the trap was wading ashore and struggling with a heavy sack which he tipped out onto the beach. The catch was astounding – no less than fifteen big jacks of 10lb to 25lb apiece had been trapped. He told us that this was a once a year event, if they were lucky, but it showed the potential. Richard laughed because only a little earlier I had been fly fishing just a short distance from the trap.
Over the first few days of my stay we fished ‘Brazilian style’, beachcasting with our prawn baits but it was clear that we would catch only the usual small stuff. A change of bait to live ghost crabs produced a better stamp of catfish, although we had no sign of permit or bonefish, both of which are present. Slivers of octopus proved tough enough to withstand the rigours of most bait robbing species and also caught us some bigger catfish including a gafftopsail of several pounds. In view of our success with the new baits (less but bigger fish) the prawns were consigned to the ‘desperation only’ shelf. Catching the burrowing ghost crabs proved almost as much fun as fishing. We had a few by burying a big plant pot to its rim in the sand and baiting with a bit of whiffy fish. However, the most successful way of obtaining them for bait was to use a torch after dark. By creeping up on crabs which had left their burrows and pinning them to the sand with a swift hand movement it was often possible to collect a decent number. To be honest it was tricky because they have eyes like hawks, run like hell and, if you are careless, draw blood with a fierce nip: so, a chunk of octopus on the hook was an easier option.
Later on we paid a visit to the mighty Rio Sao Francisco, Rich did a spot of reef fishing from his kayak and we tried, with considerable success, spinning from the shore but I’ll write about those adventures on future web pages.
Rich and friend Oliver beachcasting.