The Sargo, or White Sea Bream as it’s commonly called, is a species that is located in the eastern Atlantic and western Indian Oceans. These fish are very sought after and are known for their culinary values when eaten fresh. Sea Bream can be found around the surf zone, shallow water rock marks and in and around harbours and marinas.
They can grow up to 45cm, but the average size of the White Sea Bream is 25cm. They are omnivorous and live on a diet consisting of things like seaweeds, sponges, crustaceans, worms, molluscs and fish. They will live singly or in a loose shoal. They are a very hard fighting fish, especially when using light tackle, so if you hook a reasonable sized one, be prepared for a battle.
A lot of local anglers around the Canary Islands use a float and bait such as squid and prawn to catch these fish, but they fish for the table with crude tackle. For ultimate fun, fish light with lures such as paddle-tails, flukes and worm type baits. I’ve caught most of my White Bream using 2” strips of Marukyu Isome on size 8 jig-heads.
Madeira Rockfish are found in the eastern central Atlantic Ocean and the western Mediterranean, in depths up to about 40 meters. The colouration of these fish varies between individuals, but they are generally brown/white or red/white, although paler and darker individuals exist.
These fish are ambush predators. They lie in wait until their prey comes within striking distance, when they’ll lunge and inhale their victims with their large mouth. The one characteristic that these fish have is a very sharp dorsal fin and armoured gill plates which are highly venomous. Extreme care must be taken when handling these fish.
When targeting these fish, using bait such as strips of squid or prawn is an option, but by far the best and most successful method is to use lures. Small worm and fish shaped lures around the 2” mark and rigged on a small jig head will catch these fish. Red, brown and dark green lures are the most successful colours, although I have caught fish using pink and yellow. Work the lures slowly close to the bottom near structure and wait for the fish to strike.
The Blue Finned Damselfish is a popular species for the home aquarium. It is a very rounded fish which is almost black in colour but posses long flowing fins with striking flashes of blue. The damselfish is a very widespread species and is prominent around the Canary Islands. It can be seen in shallow water along the edges of rock marks, harbours, marinas and rock pools.
The damsel is an omnivorous species meaning that it will feed on both plant and animal life. Small crabs, worms and shrimps provide the substantial part of its diet but it is also prone to eating soft corals. Damsels are a very aggressive and territorial species that will compete with each other for food.
The one thing that you’ll notice with the damsel is that it possess a tiny mouth, so when fishing for them you will need to use very small hooks, something around sizes 14-18. I’ve had most success using a split shot rig with a single AAA shot around 4” away from the hook baited with a tiny piece of Isome, no bigger than about 10mm, simply lowered down the edges of rock marks.
The Ornate Wrasse is a colourful Wrasse species that is native to the Eastern Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. It is a shoaling fish that inhabits depths up to 150m, but is quite often seen and caught in very shallow water around the coastline. The males and females have different colouration, although both sexes have striking blue and green markings.
Ornate wrasse are classed as a cleaner fish and can quite often be seen cleaning other fish of parasites. They grow to around 20cm in length and are a very popular species for the saltwater aquarium. They eat small molluscs and crustaceans and are therefore classed as a carnivorous species.
When it comes to catching these fish, it’s generally regarded that it is harder to not catch them than it is to catch them. They are not fussy eaters and will beat most other fish to your bait or lure, appearing out of nowhere the second you cast in. Float fishing with bread, sweet corn, prawn or squid will catch fish, as will soft lures in the 2” range fished on a drop shot rig, split shot rig or a jig head.
This species of goby is widespread throughout the eastern Atlantic, although it is more prolific around the Canary Islands. It grows to around 15cm in length and has a body that is characteristic of all goby species in that it is elongated. Its large dorsal fin is divided and it possesses various irregular spots that can be white, blueish or beige.
This goby lives in very shallow water and can often be found in rock pools and around the margins of harbours and marinas. It will feed predominately on small crustaceans but will eat aquatic worms and small fish too. It lives around rocks and boulders or under any structure that makes them feel safe. It will swim around and scavenge, but generally it will lie in wait until a food source comes within striking distance of their lair.
Catching this fish on lures is a relatively simple matter. Small 1.5”-2” worm or fish shaped lures rigged on a jig-head and worked around structure in rock pools will catch fish. I’ve also caught plenty of these on bread flake whilst targeting mullet in marinas in the Canaries. If you don’t catch a goby after a few minutes from a certain spot, move on. If there are gobies present, you will normally catch one pretty quickly.
One of the most beautiful and interesting species that you can catch around the Canary Islands is the pufferfish. There are over 120 different species of pufferfish, some even living in freshwater, so identifying them can be tricky. They all have one thing in common though and that is the ability to inflate their body when threatened.
Catching pufferfish is a relatively straight forward procedure. Although they can be caught from the beach, look for areas around docks and marinas.
Pufferfish have very small mouths, so hook sizes around a size 10 will suffice. Baits can be small bits of mussel, prawn or squid, either float fished or free lined.