We had the once-in-a-lifetime privilege to stay with friends in Spain during a holiday. One of the highlights of the trip was the fishing we did in the Mediterranean Sea. It was a treat worth remembering forever.
Our friends, Manny and Mia, chartered a boat to take us fishing. My husband and I are not great fishing people, but we love the water so it was a good excuse as any to go on that trip. Manny had all the toys aka equipment and tools for the fishing part. He was bent on giving my husband his first taste of a big catch, promising that once he did, he would forever be changed into a big fishing fan.
We cast off from Marbella, which is in the Southern part of Spain. The sun was beautiful; the sea a clear color of azure, and you can’t clearly see where the sky ends and the waters begin. The Captain of our charter had so many interesting stories to tell about fishes, fishing and the Mediterranean Sea.
The Mediterranean shares its coastlines with 19 countries which include France, Italy, Turkey, Greece and Spain. Since it is enclosed by land, the warm waters do not easily renew itself so it takes time for it to recover from damage and over-fishing.
The fishes are teeming you can even fish right at the coastline. But if you want a big challenge and the experience of it, then chartering a boat is the best way to go. He took us close to the Strait of Gibraltar, which is where the Mediterranean Sea converges with the Atlantic Ocean. The meeting of warm and cold waters attracts schools of fishes which are used for bait.
Pardon me but I thought worms made the perfect bait. It was a nice surprise to have to catch our bait. When we had enough, we were set to hook some of the most beautiful trophy fishes.
In the area of Marbella, where we started, up to the islands of Ibiza, Mallorca, Formentera and Menorca, there was an abundance of migratory fishes like swordfish and tuna. Tuna would include the Black Skipjack, Bluefin Tuna, Atlantic Bonito and Frigate Tuna. There have been instances of successful fishing fans hooking Bluefin Tuna between 200 kg to 400 kg. I was leaning on beginner’s luck for my husband to catch one.
When we got to the perfect spot per our Captain’s advice, we got ready to rumble. Manny warned us that getting a Bluefin Tuna would be so physically demanding you would feel like you wrestled Hulk Hogan.
Manny taught my husband how to hook the live bait. Then they used a chum slick, which stinks to high heavens, but the smell attracts the fish. The Bluefin usually swims 20 – 30 feet down, so the bait had to go that low, too. After almost an hour, his rod was bent and the line was being stripped off the reel really fast. That was the start of the battle, and thank God for the help of the crew. It was a challenge to keep the line taut, and to hold on as the Bluefish tuna tried to unhook itself. Finally, it got tired, and my husband hooked for himself a 240 kg. We posed for pictures, toasted bubblies and took a nap.