Tackle and Tactics
Fishing in Brazil (3).
I've already mentioned the tendency for Brazilian sea anglers to fish with beachcasters baited with prawn. The fish which are caught are usually small (less than 250g = 8oz) and don't put up much of a fight. Of course there are bigger fish to be caught including permit, jacks and snook but they are not common catches on the standard tactics. I would say that marine catfish are some of the most frequent species landed and these are usually the small silver catfish. As far as we could establish there are four catfish species present near Maceio and the larger specimens put up a decent show on bass tackle. Richard and I found that one of the most effective approaches for these fish was to light leger, from the shore, round about high water, at night with decent sized pieces of fish or octopus as bait. We used our bass spinning gear and size 2/0 to 4/0 J or circle hooks (I preferred the latter).
On my best evening I had three of the four species in a short session and Richard had the fourth. My three species consisted of four fish (two the same species) all taken on the same piece of octopus (it's the toughest bait I've ever come across). Richard had the largest specimen - a 'sea catfish' which he's landed into double figures from the same beach in the past.
On our last few night-time sessions we tried a different tactic, wading a few hundred metres out onto the sand flat at low water and freelining with fish baits. The catch seemed to depend on the exact state of the tide and the sea conditions. Both of us used spinning rods and braid with the same hooks that we tried from the shore. On the first evening Rich had a decent mutton snapper and we missed two other runs - probably more snappers. On the second session Richard landed two of the big sea catfish and again I missed my bites (silly old sod). The most exciting session was saved for the last cast on our last evening. Once again we waded out thigh deep in the darkness and stood side by side with backs to the breeze and freelined baits (good sized fillets of leatherjacket which we'd caught on lures the previous day) perhaps ten metres away from where we stood. My first decent run was missed (followed by much cursing of my incompetence). My son then also missed a good run and was even more annoyed with himself than I had been. It was looking as though we would blank. "Five more minutes!" we said and flicked the baits out for a final cast.
Suddenly I felt a tug and the line began to run through my fingers. Faster and faster it went and with bated breath I closed the bale arm. The hook went home and the clutch began to zuzz as a good fish tore line from the reel. "It'll be a stingray." Richard said and in his next breath "I'm into something too!" It was soon apparent that we were attached to the same fish and after a bit of a tussle we could see that it was a good sized stingray as he had predicted. Clearly the fish had managed to take both our baits. What did we do now? The only solution which minimised the risk of a severe stinging round the legs was a long wade back to the beach. Slowly we began to trudge in the dark with the fish flapping and lashing its tail only metres from our private parts and periodically suckering itself to the bottom and having to be eased back into movement. It was probably twenty minutes (it seemed longer) before we were at last able to slide the fish onto the mud, take its picture and release it. Perhaps not the ideal fish to finish my holiday with but pretty exciting stuff for the last cast of the last evening.
If you have any comments or questions about fish, methods, tactics or 'what have you.'get in touch with me by sending an E-MAIL to - firstname.lastname@example.org
Gaff topsail catfish.