November 11, 2015 Last Updated 6:17 pm

* Beat the winter blues – ADVENTURE IN FUERTE….

Stan Ryan is no stranger to a bit of globetrotting. This time he heads for the popular Canary Islands destination, Fuertaventura.



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With reports of good fishing we decided to pay Fuerteventura a visit.. Having been there twice before I had some idea of where to fish, where to get bait and any fishing gear we might require. More importantly, I know Aram, the owner of the local tackle shop “Gone Fishing”.

Flights were booked for a trip in October. This is the prime time for Marlin fishing.



Bringing the correct gear is vital on any trip. The fish are going to be different to Ireland and so the items brought have to match what we are likely to catch.

Make a list and tick items off as they are packed.

Rods: 2 beach rods each were brought. As we would be targeting  rays up to 220lb these had to be strong to land the fish.

I usually bring a Century TLD or Compressor and a Shakespeare travel beach rod with me.

Barry & Eamon both had Shimano travel beach rods with them.

All of these rods have backbone and will land nearly any fish.

If traveling to a place that may not have a local tackle shop it is a good idea to bring a tip ring for each rod because if this breaks then that will be the end of your fishing!

We also each brought a spinning rod to target local species such as bonito, barracuda and bluefish. These could also be used for light fishing for species such as bream.

I always bring an Illex Tyrant with me and this will land any fish caught on a lure. It has landed barracuda up to 67lb, jacks and leerfish up to 45lb.

Reels: Again strong reels are needed. My preference for the beach would be a Penn Spinfisher 8000 and a Daiwa Saltiga. Big rays will strip the gears on a cheap reel.

Any decent large spinning reel will cope with a fish caught on a lure. I use a Stella 8000 and also bring a Penn Spinfisher 6000. I have seen sharks up to 250 lb landed on the latter.

Line: Good quality 50lb braid is the requirement for the beach with an equivalent florocarbon leader. 30lb is adequate for spinning. My preference is for Penn PowerPro or MagiBraid.

Terminal Tackle: Very strong snap and ordinary swivels, 70lb florocarbon, hooks and leads are optional as these can be bought locally.

Rod Rests: must be capable of fitting in a case or tube.

fuerta 2Rod Tube: I use a tube with a 6” diameter and this will hold a lot if packed with care.

To pack the tube lay it flat on the ground.  This will enable fitting in rods more easily and efficiently than when the tube is in a vertical position.  Rods should be positioned so that the tip is facing upwards when the tube is in the vertical position. Failure to do this may mean a broken rod. It is a good idea to place some sponge in the rod tube cap to protect the rod tips.

Rods rests can also fit in. This may involve taking tripods apart. Single stands that are driven into sand may be taped together. I managed to fit 4 stands and 5 rods in the tube. Weights can also be dropped into the tube. I place them in a sock so that they don’t damage the rods. They can also but taped together with Ducktape. There may still be space to bring items like spools of line, hooks, filleting knife, sun cream etc in the tube.

The cost for checking in the rod tube was €50 and it was totally filled!

Cases: It is as well to check in a suitcase. Travel rods can be placed in it as well as scissors and a full lure bag.

The cost is €30.


Boat Fishing

It is important to book a good charter boat well in advance. How often have I heard people saying “ I was out in a boat in the Canaries and the fishing was very poor”!! If you go out on a charter boat, the skipper and crew will more than likely view you as a holiday maker going for a days fishing and not as an angler. The boat will troll out a small distance with lures in tow. It will then anchor up and you will end up bottom fishing for small fish. One or two stronger rods may be placed out in case a bigger fish shows up.

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To get a good day’s angling you need a boat that will treat you as an angler. You must know what type of fish you want to target. If marlin fishing ,do not be under any illusion that you will definitely hook or even strike one of these beauties. They may not be in feeding form on the day that you are out. Even if one strikes the lure, you may not land it. Only 1 in every 3-4 strikes results in a successful hook up. So be prepared for this. You may or may not get another species of fish.

Reef fishing is generally more productive but the allure of trolling for a monster can be addictive for some of us!!!

Our Day in The Boat

We booked the “Albakore Kat” for a day targeting marlin. This magnificent boat is extremely well equipped with the best of rods and reels.  8 rods were set up with various large lures. Trolling 8 lures behind the boat involves great skill. Some lures are within 10m of the boat while others are over 100M away. Marlin and tuna are not afraid of engine noise and will rise up to the surface to see what is going on and may even take the lure closest to the boat.

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Fuerteventura is an island caused by an  underwater volcano. So within a very short distance from the port the water depth plummets to over 350M. Marlin generally lie at depths of around 100M in the deep water and come to the surface to feed.

A recent competition over a weekend in Fuerteventura had yielded 43 white and 2 blue marlin between 40 boats. This is phenomenal.

Barry, Eamon and I had a draw. I was number 1 and so was given a chance at the first fish.

So our spirits were up as we set sail and 15 minutes later a white marlin struck the middle rod. The skipper really revved the boat to set the hook and there was great excitement  as one of the crew and Aram set about winding in the other 7 rods at great speed.  I sat into the chair ready for action. Unfortunately, the fish got off the hook. The bill of a marlin is very tough and the hook must go right through this or into the mouth for a successful hookup.

While it was a disappointment , a strike in itself got the blood pressure going. White marlin also tend to shoal and so where there is one fish more may be present. Blue and black marlin on the other hand tend to travel on their own.

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Then the dolphins arrived…..loads of them everywhere. Strangely enough they never attack a lure. These beauties shot across the bow of the boat and jumped along the sides and stern. Nature can sometimes be spectacular. We were worried that they might prevent a marlin from coming to the lure but they left as quickly as they came.

Several hours later and not a sniff of another fish ,we passed a wooden pallet floating on the surface. Floating structures act as fish aggregating areas for many types of fish. Dorado, otherwise know as Mahi Mahi or Dolphin Fish, often lie under these.  Our skipper brought the lures right by this pallet and sure enough one of the lures got a massive strike. It was Eamon’s turn to sit in the chair and a very large bull Mahi  Mahi gave a great aerial display. These are a marvelous fighter and even on heavy gear this beautiful creature gave Eamon a good run for his money.

That was it for the day. At least we did not blank.

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Shore Fishing

We arrived on a Tuesday on the island via Ryanair. After a quick visit to “Gone Fishing” to collect some gear and bait we set off a small distance down the coast to “las Salinas.” Salt is collected in this area in salt pans. Basically, sea water is collected in ponds in the rock and salt remains after evaporation of the water.

The area is made of volcanic rock and is very popular with anglers. Many spin for bonito , barracuda and bluefish. The water is very deep and the trick is to let the lure sink before retrieval.

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Bait fishing can also be very good.

Using 2 rods I started spinning and cast out a sardine on a running ledger rig on the bottom.

When neither setup yielded results I fished bait , on small hooks, straight down along the side of the rocks to try and catch (a) some fish that could be used as live bait or (b) catch a variety of small fish up to 2 lbs

The live bait is slid down the line of the rod that has the sardine on the bottom. The rig for this is simple. On one end of a piece of line about 18inches long is a size 3/0 hook and at the other end a snap swivel. The live bait is placed on the hook and attached to the mainline by the snap swivel. This is then slid down the mainline into the water. The live bait swims around the mainline and should attract bonito, barracuda or other predators.

There were 12 anglers at “las Salinas” and no fish of any description was caught despite trying various methods. The weather was perfect and the water was clear. Everything looked fine but the fish just would not cooperate or were not there. This was very disappointing as on the last occasion I had heaps of fish including an angel shark (monkfish) about 35-40lb weigh. Blanking was the last thing on my mind but hey “that’s fishing!!!!”

On day 3 we set off to the Costa Calma on the South of the island.  We had 2 small villas rented in a complex there. It was an all-in package at a very reasonable price. I had intended to fish a beach beside a town called Torrejalejo. However, Aram , recommended a beach in the Costa Calma right beside the hotel where we were staying.

fuerta 8This stoney beach has no signpost to it and would not be found without local knowledge. Getting to it, meant driving off-road down a dirt track. We did a quick sortie during daylight to orientate the journey down at night….not an easy task. Then it was back to the hotel for a lovely evening meal.  Tide was fully in at midnight and we intended to fish tide up for 4 hours and back for 2 hours.

The target was sting rays and butterfly rays. However, Aram told us that there was a good change to catch Pandora bream and bluefish. It was a bit early in the season but there was also a chance of a smooth hound. Usually, these come in to pup in November and have an average weight of 20lb plus.

We each had 2 bait rods set up , one with prawns on a 2 hook – 1 down trace and the other with a sardine on a running ledger. Eamon got off to a got start with a Pandora bream. These are not a big fish but as Eamon is a species hunter, who has managed to catch over 100 species, he was delighted.  Shortly afterwards he had an octopus. Barry’s rod then got an unmerciful belt but no hook up. When he wound in ,his hook was bitten off….a clear indication that the predator was a bluefish. Eamon then had a similar experience. Eventually, my rod gave 2 slow nods which indicated that a ray was at the bait. Then it was pulled out of the stand and headed seaward. I quickly grabbed it and shouted “RAY”. The bend on the Century rod meant that I had hooked a large fish. Then disaster, the braid snapped about 10 yards out.  It must have touched a rock and frayed. I was gutted.

So although we had some action there was no large fish to show for our efforts.

Eamon decided to take a break the next night and Barry and I headed down to the same beach only to see that there were 3 other anglers present about 150M from our spot. Rods were set  and we cast out. No distance casting is required as the ray will come almost right up to the edge of the tide looking for food. Bait fish could be seen scuttling along just under our feet.

Within 10 minutes there was obvious action with our neighbouring anglers as their headlights all pointed towards the sea. Suddenly, even though we were quite a distance away , I could see a very large fish flapping its wings up at the surface.  Now I knew where the name “Butterfly” ray came from. Barry ran down to see the brute being landed.  Estimated weight was at least 60lb. This was great lift to our spirits as we needed to see some quality fish caught.

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The 3 anglers were English and one of them, Adrian ( hope I have his name correct) , had actually skippered  a charter boat in Catletownbere . He has lived in Fuerteventura for the last 12 years and is still an avid angler.Later on that night he came up to have a chat. Basically, he said that the fishing is hit and miss. Last year he had friends over for 2 weeks. The first week he fished the beach that we were on every night and never got a bite. He had to work the second week as his friends landed ray after ray from that beach.  They also had some fine spotted bass from another local beach.  He also explained that fine Scierra tuna and bluefish can be caught from the headlands by floating sardines under a light stick from the rocks. He also mentioned that there are several species of ray to be caught and they can be found anywhere there is sand. Ray are much more plentiful during the summer but tend to be smaller….still very large by our standards. As autumn arrives the smaller fish seem to disappear and there is a greater chance of getting a really big one.

This definitely lifted our spirits and then Barry’s rod got a typical ray bite. The fight was not typical of a ray as the fish shot down along the beach to the left and then back up to the right in similar fashion to a tope or smoothound  After a really good battle a beautiful 20lb butterfly ray was landed. Having flipped it over on its back, we had no t-bar ( added to the list for the next trip) there was no way to get the hook out. However, Adrian, on seeing the action had arrived and did the needful. As we were using a pennel rig ,2 hooks had to be extracted and Adrian was very careful to avoid damaging the fish. He strongly recommended using barbless hooks and said that he prefers a single hook to the pennel as there is less chance of damaging the fish. The ray was turned upright and dragged gently back into the water where it swam slowly off unharmed…..a beautiful sight.

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Well that was it. Mission accomplished and time to go to bed for an early start the next morning.

Besides the chance of getting the fish of a lifetime on this beautiful island the second attraction to going there is the price.

Has to be the cheapest fishing holiday abroad ever.


Total Cost

Flights   €787

Caleta Beach club 2 villas €120  ( €40 per person for 2 nights!!!)

Car Hire €172

Costa Calma  2 villas €317 (€105 each for 2 days B&B, lunch,  dinner plus drinks!!)

Bait €28

Charter Boat €750

Total €2174

Due 724 each

Plans are now being hatched for a trip next year.

Some videos of fishing in Fuerte



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