We're now back home after a wonderful 12 days in Corfu, for those that don't know Corfu is a Greek island in the Ionian Sea and one that we have not visited before so this year would be a bit of an adventure.
This was a family holiday where I was expecting to get the odd fishing session in and do a bit of a mini species hunt, I'm going to split the fishing into two sections, this bluefish blog and a general holiday catch report/.
My fishing species hunting started ok, without any spoilers it was a bream fest and I wasn't sure how I was going to find new species for my own personal tally with the limited ground I had to go at with the time I'd have available to fish.
I decided to focus on an hour in any small fishing harbour/ marina/ ports I could access conveniently. One evening I happened to be in a fishing port towards 7pm and whilst catching bream and mackerel well I had a chat with a Corfiot local who was casting big topwater lures around, specifically the EvoLures Zargana which I can only describe as a trumpet nosed topwater, I assumed he was fishing for bluefish which he confirmed, we had a chat about angling in general, where he'd travelled, what he liked fishing for and the usual angling tit for tat about experiences etc, I was catching bream, he was still casting this lure around the port without success, I paid note to how he was working this lure as it was quite aggressive compared to what we do for bass in the UK. He was using a 15-50g rod, casting the lure as far as he could to deeper water and then sweeping the tip of the rod from the 12 o clock position to about 7 o clock with one quick sweep. He'd then wind the slack until he got the rod tip back to 12 o clock and then done the same again. He said 'bluefish are stupid, they'll hit anything' but then proceeded to tell me this lure was the lure that most people seem to use these days and fish it in this manner and it was what was working best, sounds just like home with fad lures I thought.
I didn't see a bluefish caught or even follow on the first night, a day or two later I made sure I was at the port again around the same time with one eye on having a go myself, on this night I bumped into a different angler unsurprisingly fishing for bluefish using the same lure. We struck up a conversation, he welcomed me to fish alongside him so I set about trying to catch my first bluefish on my Major Craft Crostage Light Game rod, rated 3-15g , as I rifled through my lures he caught one, then had a follow, I was managing to get the odd follow but I couldn't work my lure quick enough for how they wanted it a combination of the wrong lure, wrong rod action. After a few lure changes I settled on the Lucky Craft Gunfish I'd got in the box as the lure that was going to give me the most water displacement that would hold a straight line when ripped back in the same way the other two anglers were fishing.
This brought about instant hits, I managed to hook one but it flipped and jumped around and threw the hook, I had been warned about this but in my mind it was progress, as the evening drew in I knew I had my family back home waiting for me to fire up the BBQ so I had to run off and make dinner, I left buoyed with my new found technique and felt confident I could convert this into fish.
Second Session Success!
The next evening I worked it so that I could be at the port at the same time, I arrived, hit some bream and mullet on the UL rod before the light reached the point I thought the fish would start to arrive, I'd noted the evening before that the bites started when the sun had fell behind a hill/ mountain, from this point it all got a little crazy, I found quickly that I was getting attention from bluefish working my Gunfish in the way that I'd seen the locals doing it but I couldn't get them to hit the lure. I decided to mix the retrieve up fan casting and working the edges of shadows, I was getting into a rhythm with the rod/ lure when I got my first hit that connected. The fight of this first fish was exactly what I'd hoped it would be on the light rod and after a fight lasting not much more than a minute the fish was landed, thrilling sport on the tackle I was using.
I fished on, hooked and lost a couple that just flipped out and shook the lure, it was nearing time to leave and I got another hit, this fight was dogged and lasted around 1 minute again, it was such good fun, as a bonus I managed to capture all 5 fish on GoPro, here's the fight from this fish, I will edit the rest of the footage up into a video for YouTube at some point.
This was to be another learning curve, I arrived, done some LRF species scratching around the shallower parts of the port then headed on to the bluefish mark timing it to hit it just as the sun fell and on cue the fish arrived, loads of them in fact, do you think I could get them to hit my lure though, I tried everything to no avail, I did eventually manage to hook one before it flipped off, they really are crazy fish once hooked and they'll do everything to try and throw the hook, with defeat in my grasp I managed to hook the smallest one I'd seen yet and land it to save the blank.
This was to be the session of the trip for me, I'd done the usual LRF species stuff until the light fell then almost had a race with some guys to the spot, we got there at the same time and struck up conversation, these guys were from Albania, living in Greece and they were quite vocal in that they had no idea what they were doing with fishing, they were still learning to fish. Conversation was flowing, they were really interesting people, one of the kids asked if he could speak English with me, he was telling me and demonstrating he knew 4 languages, he was 14 and aspired to be a F1 engineer- impressive, one of the adults aspired to move to the UK to work on high end hand made furniture, the conversation ebbed and flowed and it was interesting to hear about Albania from Albanian's rather than what you read in the media or remember from the news growing up.
I know this is a few of my friends idea of hell but I didn't mind the company whilst I scanned the water furiously looking for signs of fish, it also gave me the opportunity to share some angling knowledge, re-rigging them and they started to catch small bream on Isome.
As the light fell the bluefish would show and disappear as quick as they arrived, I was fearing a blank as as fish smashed me off the top taking the lure high up in the air but failing to stick, I can't remember how many casts after it was but I managed to hook one, this fish damaged its lip during the fight so after a quick photo and demo to them all about their sharp teeth it was dispatched and donated to the family for dinner.
One of the lads in the tackle shop back in the UK yesterday said to me that they looked like a slightly bigger scad, if scad had teeth like this you'd go nowhere near them! Whilst showing them the teeth the fish thrashed and made 4 incisions into my thumb which produced a lot of blood, anglers tell me that they'll bite through your leader and I can certainly see how.
There was a huge buzz around now and I made a few last frantic casts, about 10 mins later I hit into another fish, this was to be number 5 of the trip and was a lovely end to the evening.
This was a family holiday, a couple of LRF/Light Game rods tossed in the case with some small lures, light reels and line, you never know what to expect in Greece as the waters have been overfished and the average size of fish inshore is very small, to get the opportunity to experience a fish like this, in stunning surroundings using such light tackle was amazing.
Being able to see a pattern develop and replicate it time after time was good, it gives me confidence to make trips to the Greek islands at other times in the year when there's a chance of bigger bluefish though there's a lot to learn here, I guess the message is now I've tasted it I want a bigger one! Like most lure fishing I think it's all subjective and there's no reason you can't catch these fish on other methods, shore jigging etc and I'll be giving it more thought before the next holiday or dedicated trip to ensure I've got more suitable tackle for scaling it up.
I hope this was as interesting to you as it was for me fishing for them, thanks for making it this far and if you're into LRF species hunting keep your eye out for the follow up blog, Corfu really does have some great LRF fishing!
Rod: Major Craft Crostage Light Game 3-15g
Mainline: Major Craft Dangan X 12lb
Leader: Major Craft Dangan Flurocarbon 10lb
Lure: Lucky Craft Gunfish 95 in Ghost Minnow