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Belated Report – Fishing The Mediterranean


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It’s sometime ago but I thought I’d share my fishing experiences in the Mediterranean last year.

In June of last year, having just quit my job, I was casually presented the opportunity to help sail a friends yacht from Israel to Spain for 6 weeks before having to go back to the real world and get another job. The adventure is a story in itself but the fishing is of some interest as well.

I met up with my mate in a seaside town south of Tel Aviv where we spent a week doing some work on the boat before heading off. Despite taking every opportunity to have a fish in any every country I visit I didn’t really have any intention of fishing off the back of the yacht in the Med. But having been informed by several reliable sources around the marina that Albacore were a real possibility I had to have ago.

So with some dodgy directions we set off to a tackle shop to buy some gear. We had a bit of trouble finding the shop as it was in a crowded dusty old shopping district but it turned out to be a real diamond in the rough. The shop was about 4 x 8 meters but half of that was a pet shop out the back. The tackle shop was actually pretty neat, if a little crowded, with some pretty serious gear. On the walls were photos of some hoodlum kings and huge northern Bluefin tuna. After attempting to make enquiries in very poor Hebrew it turned out the guy behind the counter spoke perfect English and having been to Australia was falling over himself to help. He confirmed we had a good chance of catching Albacore and sold us some 100lb plus cord and a 60 gram slice. He told us that the Kings were caught only few kays out from the coast and were quite common. Jigging for them was all the rage. Sounds familiar, no?

With a great deal of anticipation and adventure we left Israel and headed out to sea. After four and half days of sailing through some pretty ordinary weather (the winds and seas can get nastier than you might think for inland sea) we reached a small remote fishing village on an island south of Greece. A quick look underneath the wharfs and a meal of fish for dinner at a local restaurant confirmed what we had heard from old Greeks and Italians here in Aus, the Med is more or less fished out. The best the restaurant could do was a small bream looking fish (no bigger than 15-20cm) and an even smaller goat fish. Turns out this was more or less true of everywhere we went in the coastal regions of the Med. Large mullet are about as exciting as it gets. I have since read that it’s not that the Med is fished out it’s in fact never been prolific with fish in coastal regions due to the lack of micro organisms (hence the brilliant blue colours evident in the Med) and the general ecosystem.

On our way to Crete I attached the slice directly to the cord, threw it off the stern, did some wraps around a bollard and attached an ingenious alarm in the form of an empty ‘Dambuster’ beer can by threading some of the loose cord through the pull ring of the can.

It wasn’t until day two that my “Dambuster” fish alarm went off. It’s not easy to pull up a large yacht under sail in hurry and even harder to bring a fish up on deck without a gaff but after a bit of mayhem we managed to bring a nice Albacore on board with the boat hook. I don’t know for sure how much it weighed or how long it was but I reckon it was at least 7 kg. I followed this up by catching a smaller one leaving Crete on the way to Malta.

Got to Malta and went on another tackle shop adventure. Found a couple of great shops and ended up a buying a neat skirted trolling lure pre-rigged with 150lb mono leader to see how it would go.

Now weeks into the trip on our way to Spain in dead calm conditions we came across some very fishing looking water with regular sightings of dolphins and large schools of fish breaking the surface every now then. Sure enough it wasn’t long before my slice got absolutely smashed as if the cord was cotton. Time to try the skirted trolling lure! Next day similar conditions the same thing happened, snapping the cord at the swivel and ending my chances of anymore fish.

Given the relative ease I experienced dragging in the Albacore I reckon these were Bluefin. This was on the way to Menorca . A walking around the marina’s in Menorca we came across a game boat with some biggish Bluefin (in the 100 kg range) and I have since read that super heavy weight Bluefin (try 300kg plus) frequent the area that can eat Albacore for breakfast.

So in summation I don’t recommend you go to the trouble of packing your drop shot or squidgy rods etc if only visiting the coastal areas of the Med. But if your sailing or get an opportunity to go deep sea you could do worse than having ago at some game fish.

Boat hooking gaffing Albacore (check out the brillant colours of both the fish and water)


The end result (skipper not happy about the bloodied deck)


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Nice post and sounds like the great adventure of a lifetime. There must be some fabulous fishing to be had further up towards Spain and Gibralter it seems.

A mate of mine made a trip one time from San Fransisco to the top of Canada with his fishing club and reckons they hooked up some very big fish and said that the far northern hemisphere scenery was awesome when everything was thawing out and sunrise and sunset was magnificent.

:thumbup: Very enjoyable Kingiemaster

jewgaffer :1fishing1:

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