On Friday 25th we moved on to Stromboli Island, an active volcano, after five days on Lapari Island. The weather during that time had not been great, there was a strong cold wind blowing most of the time and one day had been quite wet but when I awoke on Friday morning the sky was blue and clear and the wind had completely died down. This was more like the Mediterranean weather I had been expecting.
Before getting the hydrofoil I went down to the tackle shop in Lipari's old town and restocked on rag worm and maggots. We approached the island at about 3 pm and as the ferry sailed around the northwest flank of the volcano we got to see a small eruption.
After checking into the hotel we went for a roam around the village and had a light late lunch. As it is a tectonically active zone the coastal road had a number of signs for tsunami escape routes heading up hill. I guess it is hoped that a major seismic event does not coincide with a major eruption!!!
That night we ate in a restaurant close to the hotel and I had a delicious meal of black squid ink pasta stuffed with swordfish. My mouth still waters when I think about it!!
26th May - It was another lovely calm sunny day so in the morning I asked around and found a small boat for hire. There is a volcanic plug called Strombolicchio about 1.5 km off the northeast corner of the island. I reckoned that would be a great spot for fish so we headed there first. As we got close it looked like something from the set of Lord of the Rings, an imposing rock mass with sheer cliffs rising vertically out of the sea.
However, after two hours of lure and bait fishing without a bite I had to admit defeat and headed back towards Stromboli. I dropped Melissa off as she was getting too hot on the boat and made my way southwards along the coast. But it was only when I moved close to the shore that I started to get bites. The fish seemed to be most prevalent on the edge of the drop off where the flanks of the volcano plunge down to the Mediterranean sea floor. First fish was an Ornate Wrasse, followed by some Rainbow Wrasse and Comber. The last fish was a Sea Bream, the biggest fish of the entire holiday. Unfortunately it was then almost 5 pm and time to return the boat.
That evening we headed up through the narrow streets of Stromboli, too narrow for cars, so the preferred mode of transport is golf carts. Even the police car is a golf cart with a blue flashing light on its roof. I was hoping that we might see a high speed golf cart chase but that was not to be!!!
27th May - Since all the fish I caught from the boat had been within casting distance of the shore I made my way down the black volcanic sand beach south of the village, over some rocks, along a couple of other deserted beaches to the area when I had most of the fish the previous day. Right away I was getting bites. The first was a Painted Comber followed by lots of Rainbow Wrasse and a few Comber. Nearly all the fish were taken on rag.
That evening I had the best pizza of my life, cooked in a proper wood burning pizza oven, not like the soggy based crap that passes for pizza in Ireland.
28th May - We headed back to the same mark. I only had one rag worm left but did have plenty of maggots. I started off with the rag worm, cutting it into four segments. The first fish was a small comber, followed by a Rainbow Wrasse. However, after all the rag was used up the bites died off. The fish were just not interested in the maggots. I did get one decent size Rainbow Wrasse after that but by 4 pm I decided to pack up and emptied the remainder of the maggots into the sea.
We had a boat trip later that evening around to the northwest side of the island to hopefully see a volcanic eruption after dark. Unfortunately clouds had built up around the summit of the volcano although we did get to see one eruption which burst through the clouds and sent shower of red hot glowing pyroclastics down the flank of the volcano.
The following day we got the hydrofoil back to the mainland and made out way to Catania for our flight home the next day. At the beginning of the holiday we had a very nice lunch in a litttle restaurant on a small plaza close to the fishmarket so we headed back there for out final Sicilian dinner. We were not disappointed, both Melissa and myself had the "Fantasia du Chef", the best pasta dish I have ever tasted, pasta with shell fish in a creamy tomato sauce.
Following that I had grilled fish, a large tuna steak with three smaller fish, the best fish meal of the entire trip. The next day it was back home to Ireland and our glorious summer weather!!!
While I did not catch anything capable of putting much of a bend in
the rod I was happy with the fishing and it was a great relaxing
holiday with plenty of great pasta dishes, although in general I was
disappointed with the fish dishes I had in the restaurants apart from the final