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.
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.
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 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,
on an image to enlarge
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.
on an image to enlarge
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.
on an image to enlarge
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 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 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 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
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 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
fish or moray eels.
2)or it can be cut into smaller pieces,
such as stripes, for bottom dwelling
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 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.