Fishing in Menorca – Spain’s Leerfish Hotspot

June 11th, 2013| No Comments

Fishing in Menorca - Spain's Leerfish Hotspot

Surprising thing we learned recently: the Spanish island of Menorca is home to some unexpectedly good sport fishing. European readers, take note…

It’s always dangerous to generalise, but I’ll take a risk on this occasion. Broadly speaking, I’d wager that most of you don’t know a whole lot about Menorca.

If you live outside of Europe, you might be able to point to it – or its general vicinity – on a map. If you live in Europe, you’re probably more familiar with this little island in the Spanish Med. You might even have been, in which case you won’t need me to tell you that the beaches are some of the finest in Balearics – right up there with the sort of thing you expect to find in the Caribbean.

What you might have missed – understandably, if, like most people, you’re there on a family holiday – is that the island is home to some excellent fishing if you know where to look. And at 47km long and 20km wide, you won’t have to look that far. Go ahead and check it out on the map below – as you’ll see, it’s home to innumerable coves, rocky headlands and crystal-clear flats. Having spent some time there recently, I found it hard to believe I wasn’t about to see bonefish tails popping up in the shallows.

For the light-tackle lure angler, there are plenty of other exciting opportunities. Barracuda, for example, are present in excellent numbers – particularly in the rocky coves and harbours – providing reliable year-round sport. Also on the menu are gilthead bream, grouper, amberjack, bass, bonito, the occasional bluefish, and most prized of all, leerfish.

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Leerfish

The latter, for anyone who’s yet to become acquainted, is a highly aggressive member of the jack family, with a fondness for surface lures that makes it a super-exciting adversary. It’s got something of the Aussie queenfish about it, plenty of jack crevalle, a dash of bluefish and lots of attitude. Many anglers will be familiar with leerfish as a target species in African waters, but most are unaware of the possibility of pursuing these sportfish in Mediterranean waters. From May onwards, they start appearing off the beaches and near the island’s reefs, hunting baitfish. Summer is a good time to target them, but autumn is often the most productive.

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Leerfish

Late summer and autumn also herald the arrival of another exotic species – mahi mahi. Given their persuasion for hanging around near weed lines and oceanic debris, the best way to track them down is in a boat. But not always – when conditions are right, these acrobatic gamefish will frequently come within fly-casting range of the shore. Of course, predicting the time of their arrival is another thing altogether.

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If you talk to enough Menorcan people, you’ll doubtless hear the sadly familiar tale of dwindling fish stocks, with numbers of bass considered to now be a fraction of those in previous decades.

Fortunately, the people of the island have taken measures to safeguard its precious marine ecology – an official reserve has been set up on the north of the island; large areas are now catch and release only, and spear-fishing is prohibited.

And many fishermen have embraced the need to develop a sustainable fishery. Menorca Fishing Guides was set up in 2013 by two pioneering local anglers, Sam Bosch and Sergio Vargas; specialising in light-tackle and fly tactics, they offer fully guided excursions to some of the island’s hotspots, and have championed the importance of catch-and-release fishing.

If you’re going to be in Menorca on a family holiday, and you’re thinking of stealing away for a day’s fishing, these are the guys to call. You could take your chances on your own but if you really want to find out where those leerfish are currently hunting, or where best to go for cuda action, you’ll save yourself a lot of time by booking a guided trip. Relative to the price of guided fishing elsewhere in the world, these guys are ultra-affordable, too.

More info

Menorca Fishing Guides
Website: www.menorcafishing.com
Contact via the website or Facebook page

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All pictures courtesy of Menorca Fishing Guides

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