Tackle and Tactics
Maltese fishing solution???
After my recent trip to Malta I mentioned the youngsters who were baiting with half-loaves of bread and asked for information. The replies that I had all said more or less the same thing and, despite my uncertainty, must be the explanation of what they were doing.
Firstly my epal Dave who clearly knows what he's talking about.
I visited Malta many years ago in my youth and saw at close range the method you described in your latest diary entry. The guys were fishing for mullet and the end tackle consisted of a longish trace of around a metre or more in length which was festooned with literally dozens of small hooks spaced very closely together. The trace was then wrapped around a very large hunk of bread and the hooks firmly embedded. The bread was then lobbed out and fish usually ended up being foul hooked as a result of the number of hooks. I saw mullet caught this way but they said that other fish were caught as well. The other method being used from jetties and piers was to attach to the end of the line a heavyish jig armed with many backward pointing spikes. A ball of dough was then squeezed onto the line several inches above the jig and as soon as a few fish started to graze on the bread a sharp upwards jerk of the jig resulted in foul hooked fish being landed for the pot. The Maltese seem to be very pragmatic when it comes to fishing for ther pot food rather than sport!!
P.S. Just had my week in Sardinia, weather was awful but I did have a couple of plugging/spinning sessions in the rough water but with no success. Spoke to a couple of locals who said that big bream and bass were on offer during rough winter weather but they used only crab baits on the bottom. Before I went I found a great saltwater flyfishing site which had a forum with bags of info about all sorts of Mediterranean venues purely from a flyfishing perspective. Definitely worth a trawl through if you'r planning any trips to the Med. You've probably already seen it but if you're interested I'll send you the details.
As usual I asked Dave if it was OK to use his stuff on the site and I thought that the website might be of interest to anyone thinking of visiting the Med. He replied -
No problem with using my comments on your site. The website I mentioned is www.medflyfish.com
It has a forum in English that has loads of postings from people who are seeking info about holiday flyfishinglocations in the Med, and there are loads of really helpful replies from people who know or have fished the areas in question. There was plenty of stuff on Sardinia but with family commitments I didn't really have time to investigate fully.
Hope this helps.
Ken Loy then sent me the following additional comments plus a picture. Ken actually tried the tactics so -
As a regular reader of your website I was interested to read of your friend's visit to Malta where he saw laced hook traces being used.
It seems these are maybe widely used in the Mediterranean since I've seen them used in Cyprus and Greece as well. I was on holiday some years ago near Aya Napa, Cyprus and I bought a cheap rod and reel locally for £15 and the shop suggested I use a laced hook trace with bread. I tried it and caught Mullet that were duly accepted willingly by some hotel staff who were watching me fishing. The Mullet were all about 18" long and looked perfectly edible if you like them. The trouble is they spend most of their time eating from the sewer outlets of the hotels and the like.
I've attached a photo of the trace I used. It's exactly 1 metre long made of 0.35 mono with 10 hooks attached at 25mm pitch from one end. The hooks are 18mm long and 8mm in the gape and spade ended. (No 6 maybe). It looks as though the hooks were attached by a machine since the joints were so regular. I also bought a large clear bubble float and used it 1/2 filled with water to help casting. So imagine, a round bread roll (from my hotel) laced around the outside with 10 hooks dug in, then 2 metres distance to the bubble float and then to the main line. A soft slow swing delivered the float and the bread roll quite safely out sufficient distance then I threw smaller pieces of bread around the bread roll to attract a large shoal of mullet. They went crazy after the bread roll and came in 3 or 4 at a time. There were very few other species of fish in that area and mullet seemed a staple food for the locals. I scuba dived several times that week in the vicinity and saw only a few other tiny fish around the cliffs and rocks just as the local dive leader told us. The Med. is so heavily fished. I only fished twice with the laced hook trace but it was an experience and very successful but not again.
The next contribution was from Gary John.
That was an interesting story about the young kids catching the Mullet with the large pieces of bread. I witnessed the same thing over in Cyprus a few years ago when I was walking along the promenade at Paphos harbour, I saw some locals fishing for mullet using the same technique. The end gear was quite a surprise (to me) as it consisted of a multi-hook rig with small hooks (just think of a shrimp rig but without all the trimmings and a few more hooks) which was wrapped around the piece of bread. It was a very effective method and can be used for other species of fish but I guess not very sporting.
I responded and Gary came up with the following interesting email.
Thanks for the reply, I thought I would mention an other fishing experience over in Cyprus. I don't know if you are familiar with the country but I visited a small village called Leche on the north west side of the island where one morning I saw some old boys buying fresh fish which looked like sardines from the local commercial fishermen. I noticed they had fishing rods in their hands so I sat down and watched where they went. They walked along the beach to a rocky headland where there was a slight surf braking over some submerged rocks. After about ten minuets or so I walked over to them to have a closer look at what they were doing. Both of them were using a very crude looking lure that looked very much like a home made job. They were casting towards the submerged rocks and working the lures on the surface. After about 10-15 minutes one of them pointed to a commotion on the surface which looked like the distinct boil of a bass, next thing the rod of the other fella bent in two as he connected with a decent fish.
With all this going on I decided to go over to talk to them but unfortunately they did not speak a word of English. However, they were quite happy about me watching them fish. By now the man had landed a decent bass of around 4ib,this gave me the opportunity to have a closer look at their gear.
As I mentioned they were using home made surface lures which had been painted black and silver with a single treble hook at the end connected to a trace with a single hook about two foot above the lure. Now comes the interesting thing. The sardine looking fish were cut into very thin strips and placed over the treble barbs and looked like the tails you get on many lures, then a sliver was cut and placed on the single hook above the lure. I watched these guys land about 8-10 fish apiece over a two hour period which was quite impressive as these fish where really nailing the lure and the baited hook.
On many occasions I have experienced a bass come up and nose a surface popper but refuse it at the last minute, as if it knows its not the real thing (most anglers have similar experiences ML). These days I catch a mackerel, cut thin strips and place them on the end treble of a Daiwa Saltiga SAP1140F Lazer Shiner popper. I have had very good results with this method as I believe having some flesh and scent trailing from the lure encourages the fish to nail it.
"Good idea eh! It certainly can't do any harm and may just make the difference. Anyway, I think that the multi-hook half loaf must have been what I saw in Valleta, My pal Dave Baker says that he's seen barracuda and bluefish attack small mullet feeding on lumps of bread so I guess that the fish I saw the lads catch was probably a bluefish - as I suspected. Why didn't they take my lures???
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