Shore Fishing in Malta - A Beginner's Guide
Shore fishing in Malta is
popular, and can be fun, however local fishing
needs local techniques. Read along so that when
you hit our shores, you can look like a pro!
We shall be seeing three different techniques
in this guide, all targetting various species
of fish. The most popular locally is Pole
fishing. Spinning is also gaining ground and
finally bottom fishing from the shore can
also produce results.
Pole Fishing is the most
popular amongst the locals. Prepare a 4 metre
or 5 metre extendible pole rod, available locally
from a number of fishing outlets. For clarity's sake, these are the
rods that do not take a reel on them. Plain
fibre rods which open up from around 1 metre in length to between 4 or 5 metres.
You could fish with something longer such a 6 metre, but don't try if you're not
Rig the rod with a
0.18mm line which can take at least 0.5kg. A
stronger line of the same diameter would be
better. The length of the line should be exactly the length of the rod.
You can also use FluoroCarbon lines.
At the end of the line use a size 12 or size 14
hook. You can also buy what is locally known as
a zewg (double, pronounced sewch), which would
be a rig having 2 hooks horizontally spaced across
a thicker line to
fish 2 hooks at the same time.
Fit a float on the line, a simple
float, maybe 3cm in height and 2 or 3 cm
diameter. Then attach 2 or 3 grammes of lead to
the bottom end of the line, 15 to 20 cm above the hook/s.
Bait Take some white french toast with you.
When you arrive, first thing you do is to wet
the bread and work it out in your hands until
it looks like dough. At the same time, also
prepare a small chum bucket. Throw inside
scraps of bread mixed with water and possibly
some shrimps for the smell. Locals use
varieties of cheese patees to attract fish, the better ones
are usually not for sale, but you can find some
patees to mix with your chum at local fishing shops. Also take some shrimps
with you (You can buy shrimps from any fish
shop by the kilo, 200 grammes will be more than
enough for a half day fishing). To bait shrimp,
remove the hard shell and head
and cut it up in 3 or 4 pieces.
Location and Weather. When the sea is too calm,
results will not be so good. The best is when
the waves make some white foam, but should not
be too windy either, otherwise you will not
enjoy it. A force 3 to 4 wind should be
perfect. Look for any place on the rocks which
is around 1 metre deep at the rock edge,
deepening to at least 3 or 4 metres a couple of
metres out. Any place around the Island is good.
You can fish from the shore in most tourist
areas, including Bugibba, Mellieha, Msida & Sliema.
For Pole Fishing, I personally prefer inhabited
areas and harbours.
Fishing Tecnhique. When you choose your spot,
start attracting the fish with your chum
bucket. Sit down, don't stand up, otherwise fish can see you.
Try various depths by moving your float up and
down. Usually you should fish around 1 meter deep.
Cover your one or two hooks with the ball
of dough you prepared and throw in. The hook should be completely
covered with the dough, however the ball should not be much bigger than
the minimum you need to cover the hook. With this
fishing technique you can catch Mullet, Salema,
Bogue, Bream and a variety of other fish
staying close to shore. You can also experiment
with other bait such as Cheddar Cheese or Worms
(Locally known as Hniex). The best time for shore fishing is
early morning until around 10:00am. If bread is not productive,
try deepening your rig and have a go with worms or shrimps.
Blata tal-Melh in Bahrija
The west coast of Malta
Spinning has picked up in popularity during
the last few years. Compared to pole fishing, the quantity of
fish caught is much, much less. However both satisfaction and also size
are much bigger!
I will not elaborate on spinning techniques in this manual
as spinning in Malta is like spinning any where else in the
world. What you need to know are the type of fish which you
can catch, where and when.
Fish caught on spinning
Barracuda (MT - Lizz) can be caught all year round
in Malta. The best places are harbour areas where shoal
fish are present. Marfa, Xemxija, Cirkewwa, Valletta/Msida Harbour are
all proven locations. The best time for barracuda is very early in the morning,
however I have caught them even during the night with spinning.
Dolphin Fish (MT - Lampuki) can be caught from the shore from late September
to end of January. There are very few locations where you can catch Lampuki from
the shore, and catching one is surely a big prize. The only places I know
of are Blata Tal-Melh in Bahrija (Which is rather tricky to reach, but possible),
Qbajjar in Gozo, Ghar Lapsi in Siggiewi and Cliffs below Wied iz-Zurrieq. Lampuki
from the shore can only be caught were the sea is deep very close to the edge.
Amberjack, Dentex and Mediterranean Trevally are feeding along our shores all
year long. I have never
personally caught any of these on spinning, but I know who has. The cliffs
on the west coast would be your best bet. There are not many locations where
you can spin from the cliffs, and as I pointed oout earlier, one of the best
spots for spinning is Blata Tal-Melh in Bahrija.
Harbour Spinning can be productive all year round. Look around in Msida and
Valletta Harbours for any locals spinning. Various Pelagic fish can also be
caught with spinning between October and December. For Pelagic Fish, deep areas
in harbours or remote locations such as Blata tal-Melh or Qbajjar in Gozo
would be your best options.
Bottom fishing from shore is also very popular
in Malta. You can target a wide variety of Mediterranean species
with this technique, however most of your fish will be quite small
in size. Never the less, it is a good pass time, and you might be
lucky and get a few fish which you can keep. The most common fish
caught on bottom fishing are bream (Gilthead Bream, Sheephead Bream,
Saddled Bream, White Bream, Annular Bream, Black Bream and Two Bandied Bream),
Painted Comber, Dentex, Wrasse, Moray eels, Pandora, Bouge and many
The top bait for bottom fishing are shrimps which you can buy from
all fish shops, rag worms which you can buy from fishing tackle shops,
and Cray Fish, also available from fishing tackle shops. Another vey popular
bait is "Hniex ta l-Imperjal" which is also good for night fishing. This
is however quite expensive and you can pay up to 40 euro for one worm,
which will last you and your buddy for a whole night of fishing.
Rig a pater noster (as illustrated) on a reel rod,
typically equipped with .30mm line.
I like to use size 7 hooks for bottom fishing, and 2 or 3 hooks is
better than 1. From the weight to the first hook leave around 20 cm, and
leave another 20cm between each hook.
For bottom fishing, I prefer to look for remote areas, but if you wish,
you can also try bottom fishing in inhabited and tourist areas. The worst thing
with bottom fishing is your weight getting stuck on rocks at the bottom.
There is nothing much you can do about this, but if you are in an area where
your weight is getting stuck too often, change place.
For the more experienced, Cliff Bottom fishing is probably the most productive.
However to find good locations, you need to be adventerous. All the west coast
of Malta offers great locations for Cliff Bottom Fishing.
Pater Noster Rig