Tackle and Tactics
Mike Ladle


Information Page

Archaeology and fishing.

My wife is an archaeologist and has a particular interest in the Mediterranean area. As a result I sometimes have to visit spots around the coast of the Med. Recently we went to Sicily and during our stay we travelled from Syracuse in the east to Palermo in the west. If possible I try to fish, or at least to watch the locals fishing, whenever I get the chance.

On the first evening after landing at Syracuse we visited the large harbour to the west of the town. As usual I wandered down to the sea front to suss out the lie of the land (water). There was a large ornamental pond of brackish water set into the promenade and basking at the surface were numerous grey mullet to about four pounds in weight. The seaside wall was about four metres above the water and several local anglers were fishing from it for abundant but much smaller mullet. Most were using some type of bread bait and the tackle ranged from poles with freelined bait to light float gear on fixed spool outfits. All the tactics were producing mullet but the biggest was no more than a few ounces in weight.

The following morning I rose at five-thirty (just pre dawn I hoped), clipped a Rapala onto a short wire trace and set off for the sea wall. Needless to say I was alone. It was soon apparent that the Rapala was too light and shallow-diving to fish effectively so I changed it for a crystal minnow. After a further ten minutes the sky began to lighten and just as it grew light enough to see the lure splashdown I had a ferocious bite. The fish thrashed wildly on the surface before tearing off out to sea and it was some minutes before I could bring it under control. Eventually I slid the barracuda (by now I could see what it was) onto a broad ledge at the foot of the wall. Now I was faced with a tricky climb down a ladder if I wanted to secure my catch. Just as I was wondering how best to manage the climb a couple of blokes turned up sweeping the road. One of them immediately grsped my problem, nipped down the ladder and lifted my fish up. I took a picture and gave my new pal the fish - he seemed delighted.

The barracuda proved to be my only fish of the trip. It was a different species to the ones that I normally catch in the West Indies but it certainly weighed much more than the total of all the other fish I saw landed by locals during my stay. However, I did see a number of interesting techniques used. Almost without exception everyone was fishing for small fish. I saw people fishing for wrasse using six metre poles, I saw others legering for tiny bream with gear that would normally be used for dace or roach and one bloke was casting a heavy spoon that trailed six foot of nylon and a small hook baited with shrimp (he did not catch anything while I was there). According to the local fishing magazines there are bass, leerfish, bluefish, dentex bream and barracuda that should take my lures but why does no-one seem to fish for them?????

The only place that I didn't fish was Palermo where the sea smelt so strongly of sewage that I did not fancy casting in.

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 - docladle@hotmail.com


Lead free fishing.

Syracuse sea front at dawn.

I caught the fish from here.  Notice my rod propped up against the rail as I took the picture.

Sphyraena viridensis.

This is my barracuda caught on a crystal minnow.

Sphyraena barracuda.

This is a great barracuda from the Atlantic for comparison.  These fish grow much bigger than their Mediterranean cousins.

Baited spoon.

I'm not sure what this bloke was after in    Naxos harbour.

The harbour mouth at Selinunte.

Two people had fished here all night using luminous floats.  The sea was alive with baitfish at dawn (when I fished) but no sign of predators.