FISHING AROUND MALTA

Situated right in the middle of the Mediterrenean Sea the Maltese waters are home to several species of fish. Shore and Boat fishing are practiced all year round and often offer rewarding captures. The best season generally is in late summer (September), when the water tempreture rises and shoals of pelagic fish such as Garfish, Dorado, Amberjack, and Little Tuna come close to the shore.

SHORE FISHING
Depending on where and when one can practice loads of different angling techniques. Rock fishing, beach ledgering, spinnig, float fishing just to mention a few. Generally many choose to relax along the sea side in shelterd bays or on the many piers along the shore line and enjoy a few hours of light tackle fishing.

The Maltese waters host a large variety of fish and underwater fauna. When fishing from shore it is easy to catch various bottom dwelling species such as Bream, Wrasse, Comber, Mullet, Parrotfish and much more. A soft to medium action telescopic casting rod fitted with a medium spinning reel filled up with 6kg (10lbs) breaking strain monofilament line is the ideal choice for light tackle fishing. Bait is another essential part in order to get a few fish in your landing net. Live Rag Worms is the best choice, but if you cant’ get hold of any do not dispare, shrimps and cockles will also do the job. Paste is another option and is a common bait when fishing with a pole rod for shoal fish such as Mullet. In this case ground baiting is a must, doing so will bring more fish in your fishing area and hopefully also in to your keep net.

BOAT FISHING
Having the opportunity of fishing from a boat will increase your chances of catching bigger species, not only bottom dwelling such as painted comber, wrasse and bream but even predetory species as Amberjack, Barracuda, Albacore Tuna, Skipjack, Dentex, Dorado. Depending on the season certain species are caught using artificial lures (spinners, muppets, eels ect.) and in some cases also using live bait fish or squid. The majority of locals still use hand lines altough recently more and more people are now starting to use sport fishing equipment (rod & reels). Even very close to the shore it is possible to come across Barracuda, Little Tunny or Amberjack especially in the early morning hours or just before dawn. When the sea is flat calm it is also possible to sea shoals of little sardine gathered close to the surface being attacked by bigger fish and making it look like rain hitting the water.

RIGS
The following illustrations will give you sevaral ways how to target the different species of fish according to the bottom structure and other fishing conditions. There are two main groups of rigs; bottom rigs and float rigs. Notice that the use of a rig is specific for the location and bottom composition (rocks, weeds, sand, ect).

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When the bottom is a mixture of rock and weed it is best to use a paternoster rig with the branch line/s above sinker and this is for two main reasons: 1) it keeps the bait in the feeding area , "striking zone", preventing it from being covered or stuck to the weeds or other snags on the bottom , 2) you can detect the fish biting before it will have time to snag you to the bottom as soon as they feel the hook in their mouth.

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The feeding habits of fish also vary from one place to another and from different bottom structures. While in rocky areas the striking zone is just a few inches off the bottom, on sandy bottoms the fish are used to dig in the sand / mud in search of worms and shrimps. By stating this you will conclude that the best rig to use in this case is the running ledger rig or a paternoster rig with a long trace line below the sinker, in this way the bait will be presented in the most natural way possible.

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All these rigs are subject to variations,the weights, hooks, branch lines and floats will have to be adjusted according to the bait, species of fish and fishing conditions you will encounter.

BAIT
Bait is one of the most important elements in fishing, the conditions and the choice of the bait will determine the out come of the fishing session.
Make it a habit to match the bait you are using with the location and the species you intend to target. Before starting fishing have a look at the natural bait present on the spot like little shrimps or clams and this will give and idea of what will be the right choice for that location.

 

Rag Worms
Rag worms is one the best bait when shore fishing. Being alive it stimulates the fish giving it the instinctive drive to attack it with no hesitation.


Live shrimps & yabbies
Live shrimps and yabbies give the best results when fishing close to the bottom because it is there that they are more likely to be found in nature.

Being delicate bait, special care has to be taken when casting so as not to damage the bait with violent casts and or heavy weights.


Prawn
Prawn is very versatile as it can be put whole for big bait presentations or else cut (with the use of a knife or clippers) into pieces for smaller fish.


Squid
Squid is a harder bait than prawn and is mostly uses for deeper waters or in combination with other baits. There are two main ways how to use squid as hook bait
1) it can be hooked whole for on large hooks targeting species like grouper,

scorpion fish or moray eels.
2)or it can be cut into smaller pieces, such as stripes, for bottom dwelling species.

Clams

This bait is mostly used on sandy beaches where they are the natural diet for many species such as Marmora, Bream, and Pandora. Good results are also obtained when fishing on rocky bottoms having a chance to target most of the bottom dwelling species.

Ground Bait
Ground bait is thrown in the water to attract in the fishing area different species making them more active and competing for the bait. It is not necessary to use ground bait always, but when fishing for shoal fish this becomes an important part of the fishing action.


Live White Bait
Some predatory species like Barracuda and Amberjack can be targeted by using live small sardines which are simply deadly if put in the right place at right time of the day.

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