Why would I use dead bait instead of live bait?
Well, first of all, it is forbidden to use live bait in the Canary Islands.
If we took this rule flexible —which experienced fisherman would deny the advantages of using live bait?— it would be difficult to get live bait. And it doesn’t worth to waste your valued time and efforts to catch the fish to use as bait instead of just fishing. And if we rent a boat, for sure we don’t want to bother ourselves with such hassle, but rather go directly for the big fish.
Which kind of baitfish is regularly available?
In terms of popularity, durability and availability these are the real choices:
Sardina (European pilchard): the available frozen sardines come to pieces very easily (Spar, 5óceanos)
Caballa (mackerel): when it is alive it can be good in the open ocean, but after freezing it is not very durable (Spar, 5óceanos)
Chicharro (saurel): it is quite good, the predatory fish like it (5óceanos)
Boga (Boops Boops): it’s quite durable but not for sale in the shops. You can catch it inshore, even in the port. I use it together with squids with an excellent experience.
Aguja (Needlefish): it is very popular. Almost all the inshore predatory fish species like it (sierra tuna, barracuda, shark, and bluefish) The smaller ones can be used to fish. Catching aguja requires some experience and needs special rig – later I will write about this issue. Here in Valle Gran Rey, you can’t buy it.
Lagarto: It is my choice to catch bluefish, and the hammer shark also bites it. To catch lagarto you can use efficiently the Rapala X-rap Magnum 30. It lives near to the sandy beaches. Around Valle Gran Rey from Arguagua to Roque Iguala and you can easily catch some in front of the sandy shores of La Rajita and La Playa. It is one of the most durable baitfish on my list. And, in my opinion, it has the most intense smell to attract predatory fish.
Find your honey hole!