Greek LRF – The Big Lerf Weekender Part 1

The Big Lerf Weekender 2021 was as much about the international catches as the UK ones. So I was happy to be approached by Alex Dounis, contributor to 30 species towards the total of 157, that he wanted to tell his Big Lerf story on my blog. Something I was all too happy to allow. So what follows is part one of Alex’s weekend, but first, his introduction…

Alex and a truly huge giant goby, measuring over 37cm!

My name is Alex and I’m based in Attica, Greece’s most populated and over-fished county. I’ve been fishing since I was 4 and I was introduced to the beautiful world of light rock fishing by the owner of my local tackle store 5 years ago. Now I’ve become a multispecies / lifelist angler with 104 species in my lifelist in just 2 years, using only LRF gear and, from the start of 2021, I use almost exclusively artificial baits to catch as many species as I can.

Scrolling through my Instagram stories in August I saw Ben, Rich and Joe posting about an event called The Big Lerf Weekender 2021, so I took a peak at Ben’s blog to learn more about it. I soon found out that I could participate and help them break their previous record of 44 species on lures.
In the meantime, me and my girlfriend were looking to book a trip for vacation and fishing so we decided to visit Poros island, an LRF paradise in Attica, to combine the Lerf Weekender and our vacation.

 We arrived at Poros port 30 minutes before the event started so I had plenty of time to set up. I was nervously checking the time every 30 seconds waiting for the clock to hit 11:00 and when it did a fish broke me off! … I retired and at 11:08 AM the first fish was landed!! It was a beautiful little white seabream.

The white seabream is a superb target for ultralight anglers around the Mediterranean.

Usually for me ,when the first of the day is a white seabream it means that the rest of the day will be exceptionally productive and indeed it was!

First few casts on the beach and I was on the board with another two species, an Atlantic stargazer and a black goby. Unfortunately a very polite lifeguard told us that it would be better not to fish at the beach for now as there were a few people swimming towards us so we moved to a water sports dock, as I had met the owner last year and had permission to fish near his boats.

My favourite of Alex’s catches, the bonkers looking Atlantic stargazer.
This is the same species of black goby that we get in the UK, their range is seriously impressive.

I let my girlfriend pick a lure and she pointed at a Spearhead Ryuki 45s, first cast and a leerfish demolished me! It hit the lure and then started peeling drag until my fluorocarbon leader broke as it was constantly rubbing on the fish’s dorsal fin. I quickly changed my leader picked another Spearhead Ryuki and had a brown comber on immediately. But while bringing the fish in it got attacked by a shoal of leerfish so I only took a couple of shots with the Big Lerf Weekender card and cast out again. Once I first twitched my bait my drag started screaming and my rod almost folded over. After what was probably my best fight on my newest set-up, a nice leerfish for ultralight gear standards was landed and being photographed!

The common comber is always eager to attack a lure!
The leerfish is a true pelagic predator, I would love to have these around the UK coast.

Another smaller leerfish was landed next cast and I soon moved to get a few more species, but on the other docks I only landed a nice white seabream and a comber. A few metres after the docks I found a nice looking rock to stand on and make a few casts. On three consecutive casts i had three different species on! A greater weever , a painted comber and a lizardfish all on a tiny jerkbait.

One of my favourite species, the greater weever.
Another Med’ classic, the beautiful painted comber.
Such a brilliant, aggressive species. the lizardfish.

We took a much needed break to dive into the warm waters of Saronikos Gulf and for my girlfriend to catch a few fish for herself on a couple of limpets we gathered on the rocks.

Knowing that sooner or later we had to keep moving in order to add a few more species I had to look for another spot; and I was about to do just that when a local lady recommended trying to fish there, pointing right at a house’s door. She said that the water get a bit deeper there and she usually finds a lot of fish. So we followed her advice. Our first few casts produced two more species, a Mediterranean rainbow wrasse and a Mediterranean parrotfish both on Isome. Soon the wrasse started getting smaller and smaller and a few garfish started attacking them. This meantI had to once again change my rig from a drop-shot to an M-Caro rig with a size 18 hook and Isome instead, and soon we both had a garfish on.
(Med. rainbow wrasse, med. Parrotfish, Garfish photos)

The Mediterranean rainbow wrasse, like a far more colourful goldsinny.
A right chomper – the parrotfish.
These don’t just turn up around the UK.

After messing around with some crabs and letting my girlfriend fish with limpets, I noticed that all of a sudden, nothing was biting and I suspected that a few predatory fish must have rolled in. I tied on a 5 gram metal, as the water was quite deep, and soon I was on to what I thought was a big grouper trying to get me into it’s cave and break me off. I soon realised that the fish was trying to rub me off on the weeds so I tightened the drag and started horsing it in, bringing my knots to their limits! Thankfully everything held up perfectly and a gorgeous, small but powerful Amberjack was landed! (Amberjack photo)

The powerful amberjack.

We spent one more hour fishing at that spot and a few more fish showed up including two more incredibly energetic leerfish and two white seabream ,but only one new species showed up for the event. A tiny little ornate wrasse that, as usual, tried to bully my jerkbait out of it’s territory by attacking it’s back treble hook.
(Ornate wrasse photo)

The surprisingly aggressive ornate wrasse.

With 13 species on board so far we decided to take a long break to take a shower, eat and rest for a night-time outing that was rather uneventful. Only some huge bluefish where feeding on a ball of sardines but where not interested at all on any artificial lures so I ignored them as well and managed 3 more species…. Species 14 was an annular seabream, while 15 was an unexpected night time derbio and last but not least a Bogue showed up to end my first day of The Big Lerf Weekender on 16 species using both hard baits and Isome!

An annular bream, taken on brown Isome.
The forktailed derbio, an unusual catch at night.
A pogue, Alex’s 16th species in a single day.

Thank you for reading, check in next week for Part 2 of Alex’s Greek Big Lerf Weekender 2021. If you liked this one, you can find my article on Greek LRF below.

Listen to our Podcast of the event here.

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