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).
Brazil 3 The final flourish.
While we were in Brazil we had several mini-holidays in different places and explored the fishing on a number of beaches - mostly without result. We saw baby turtles being released and a dead dolphin washed ashore and being devoured by the ubiquitous vultures. There were lots of interesting plants and birds and we even managed to obtain the first record of a white woodpecker ever seen in the state of Alagoas. However - Sod's law made us hope that the best of the fishing might be at the end of the holiday. Richard was booked to examine a Ph.D. thesis in Recife so we decided to spend our last three days at a resort nearer to the University where he would be working. We hired a seven seater car, to cram the family in, and drove north for about four hours through endless huge fields of sugar cane and patches of coastal forest. The hotel we stayed in was on the beach near a little town called Porto do Galinhas and it fronted the usual long sandy surf beaten strand.
On our first day I walked the length of the beach looking for features which might suggest the presence of fish. About twenty minutes along I came across a rocky reef which angled in towards the beach forming a V shape with the water's edge and looking ideal for predatory fish to corner their prey. The following morning Richard and I were there at dawn with the spinning gear. There was lots of loose weed in the margin so we both tried weedless soft plastic lures and to our surprise each of us managed a bite or two, although none of them stuck. Before packing in we switched to plugs and it turned out that by picking our spots and casting a little further out it was possible to fish weedless on most occasions. Also, as the tide approached low water there were massive shoals of sardines breaking the surface. Very encouraging!
Later that day I walked along to try the likely hot-spot at high water but it seemed quite dead and I didn't have a bite. That evening, for a change, Richard and I tried bait fishing in the dark but again it was futile and the original baits were still on our hooks when we packed in and went for supper. It seemed that lure fishing the low water at first light was our best bet. This time we armed ourselves with plugs. Mine was a large green and silver fakebait and Richards was a little slow sinking minnow with the mid-body treble removed. This one was given to me years ago by my New Zealand pal Alan Bulmer. We hurried along to the reef just as the first light was appearing on the horizon. Straight away we saw some sardines breaking the surface so we were rarin' to go. We picked our spots and out went the lures. I missed a bite on my first cast then, after about ten minutes, right out of the blue, my rod buckled over and a strong fish made a fast run out to sea. There were a couple of small boats moored sixty or seventy metres from where we stood so as the fish took more and more line I became concerned about the presence of anchor ropes. I shouted for Richard and on the third shout he heard me and came hurrying along. At this point I'd managed, at last, to slow the fish down and by walking along the shore I succeeded in applying a bit of side-strain and turned it away from the obstructions. Now it was fairly easy and within another five minutes I had it on the beach - a fine blue runner - the first one either of us had ever seen and although they are smaller than some other jack species it had all the fighting qualities of the family. As we were unhooking my catch and taking its picture a group pf youthful Brazilian revellers came along, presumably after a long night out, and they asked us to let one of the girls have her picture taken with the fish before we returned it to the water.
Of course we were chuffed with our catch but there was still time for a few more casts so we continued spinning. Not long afterwards I missed another decent bite and fifteen minutes later just as I was thinking about packing up, I saw Richard walking towards me with his rod in one hand and a long silver shape in the other. It turned out to be a huge ladyfish. Now we've both caught ladyfish before and they are super, running, leaping fighters, so I said "Did it give you much of a tussle?" However, it turned out that the fish had struck right at the water's edge and immediately surrendered by leaping ashore. Like me Rich had also missed a couple of bites. That was almost our last chance to fish - so not a bad way to finish.
There is a little sequel to the story of our last session. The following day Rich did his duty at the exam in the morning and when he returned to the hotel we prepared for the long drive back down to Maceio. Our flight to England was on the following day. We packed the car, put the girls in their seats and set off. After a while on the road everyone was feeling ready for a drink and an icecream and we stopped at a village cafe so that Richard and Lilian could go in and buy the goodies. Lil happened to have the last of our Brazilian cash in her purse so she said that there was no need for Richard to use his plastic and they spent every last cent on cold drinks, ice lollies and icecream. They came back to the car and, refreshed, off we drove again through the endless sugar cane plantations. I was sitting in the front passenger seat and after an hour or so the car suddenly gave a loud beep. "Do we need some petrol?" I asked my son. "Oh we'll be fine." He replied "I'm going to put some in just before we get back to the car hire place." Fifteen minutes later there was another beep from the car. I glanced at the driver, he seemed a little disconcerted and said- "The gauge is going down a lot faster than I expected." Following up with. " How far is it to the next petrol station?" Ana fiddled with her I-pad and replied "About fifty kilometres." Richards's confidence was now ebbing even faster than the petrol - clearly we weren't going to make it. Visions of a forty km hitch hike in the blazing sun sprang to mind. Then - a miracle - on the roadside there was a tiny, dangling sign indicating the presence of fuel. Our spirits lifted. We swung in to find a single antique pump guarded by an old lady, who looked as though her previous job had been stirring a cauldron in "Macbeth". A young lad, presumably her grandson, came and asked what we needed. Richard, in his best Portuguese said, "We'd like to fill the tank," but added "Do you take cards?" The lad laughed and spoke to his granny. It was clear that she was not keen on modern, new fangled, plastic money, and even less enthusiastic when it was proffered by pale looking, shifty foreigners so the answer was a firm "Nao!" Now we had a problem. Everyone searched in their pockets for cash - but we'd spent it on icecream and we mustered the equivalent of about fifty pence - useless! It didn't look good. At this point Ana (who is definitely Brazilian) leaned out of the car window and began to negotiate with the aged owner of the petrol pump. Eureka! She was prepared to take a cheque for enough fuel to get us to the next garage. Sighs of relief all round. The rest of the journey was uneventful. On the following morning Richard and I had a final fling on Mermaid Beach but there wasn't even a sniff of a fish. Ah well, there's always next time.
People gathered at the crack of dawn on Mermaid Beach for the turtle release.
Baby loggerhead turtles ready for off!
Black vultures never miss the chance of a meal and this is a feast.
The beach at our hotel. The reef is at the far point of land.
My blue runner, clearly another type of jack.
Richard's big ladyfish. All we needed was a few more days to suss it out.
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