Fly fishing for Sea Bass in Sicily (inc. video)

I was on a holiday in Sicily with my fiancé in the end of June. It was mostly just about spending some quality time together but I managed to sneak a 7wt Sage Fli fly rod to my back bag. Well ok, I did ask for permission first, but I’m lucky enough to have a girl who understands these little quirks of mine.

I managed to get couple of hours of fishing at one evening in Giardini Naxos near Taormina, where our hotel was. It happened to be the most windy day of our trip, but Sage was heavy enough to cast Tinseli even in gusts. Tinseli is a classic Finnish flashy streamer tied almost purely out of flashabou. It is a murderous fly anywhere in the world: pretty much every predatory fish in the planet have some small silvery bait fish on their menu and Tinseli is a perfect imitation of those.

I got some great general advice about fly fishing in Mediterranean in Medflyfish –forums. From there I also found a link to the gold mine of information about fishing in Sicily: Spinning Sicila Nord –pages. Apparently these guys run guided fishing trips for spinfishermen in Sicily. The site has a wealth of information about Sicilian fishing. It’s in Italy, but Google Translate does decent job now a days when translating from some major language to English. According to the SSN guys fishing in Sicily is pretty good compared to some other tourist destinations. Mediterranean tends to be overfished, but the situation around the island is pretty good and the sea is teeming with different predatory fish like barracudas and snappers, though sea bass seems to be the most important target species for SSN spinners. Sicily also has good black bass fishing in freshwater lakes and the picture gallery even has some shots of rainbows on streamside. I wanted to do some salt water fly fishing. Wet wading in warm blue Mediterranean sounded like a nice change from seatrout fishing, which is done when water temperatures are nearing the freezing point.

Fishing at the clear blue Mediterranean.

So I got some nice advice from the forums and SSN and had a little lookout on a bus tour to mount Etna. We drove through the coastal city of Giardini Naxos and I found very nice spot with a huge breakwater and some volcanic rocks. Then on one free evening we headed there, I geared up and started to fish behind these huge rocks that were breaking the waves rolling in from the sea. The spot just looked fishy, waves braking into white water, just like a place where a seatrout would love to lay and stalk for the pray. And as it happens, just five casts and I have a fish on and not a small one. I just couldn’t believe it myself, so it took couple of seconds to actually set the hook properly but luckily I managed to do that. Fish put up a decent fight, though the hardest part was to get down to sea level from the breakwater I was fishing from. I found a large rock jammed between two huge cubical pieces of the breakwater, climbed down from there and somehow managed to do all this while keeping tension in line and without losing the fish. When I finally got the fish to my hand it indeed proved to be a sea bass around 60 cm (24 inch) in length. It was ecstatic moment: I came to fish for species I knew nothing about in a place I’ve never been in, worked it all out in my head and had results on the fifth cast. Some shouting was involved, but gladly the wind was blowing so furiously that I didn’t disturb too many people.

My first sea bass ever.

At that point I thought I had it all figured out, but the next couple of hours drew me back to the ground. I didn’t get any more contacts to fish, no pulls no nothing. But it really didn’t matter, I had done what I came to do: to fish in the clear blue Mediterranean in the shadow of towering mount Etna. It was just a great bonus that I actually managed to catch something.

View from Taormina to Giardini Naxos with old lady, mount Etna on the backround. The breakwater can be seen on the point on left side.

Sicily truly is a beautiful place to visit whether you fish or not.

And to make it even better, my dear girlfriend happened to be filming on her Nokia C6 cell phone just at the right time. Idea was to take some film of me casting, but she actually managed to catch the take and some of the ensuing battle on camera. So here you go, please enjoy.