Can a big fish in England take my hook for once? I’ve forgotten what it feels like.

Like last year’s fishing rod going off like a machine-gun full of trout being hooked up when my guide and I were basically on fire (fish-fire really!) in springtime, I decided to go back to England to try my luck of hooking and landing lots and lots of fish again since I couldn’t fish in Mallorca. Also, it’s spring in England! And spring time is a great time in the UK for fishing trout as many of the fish hatcheries, ponds, lakes, and small waters have started stocking up on a variety of different sized trout. So that means that there is a lot of fresh fish around and they don’t really know any better as they’ve been trained to feed on pellets, not actually chase their food like real fish do. That’s the great thing about this break in artificial environments for these fish meaning that travelers like me can have a great time fishing it up! Fish after fish after fish! The fish have not gotten it so they haven’t smartened up.

It’s a different feeling when you go to an amazing place like Petra in Jordan versus utilizing your own skill and technique in catching a fish, especially a big-sized fish. It’s probably more fun knowing that you will catch fish unlike working hard only to catch one big fish, a fairly decent-sized brown trout like I did a few months ago in England. And of course, that was when the dumb fish have either been caught for dinner, died (for whatever reasons), or they actually got smart. Usually, after a winter is when the fish start their turn to becoming truly wild again which also means that they will be intelligent and make smart decisions especially regarding fish hooks or flies.

So back onto the reservoirs of England again! This time I was looking to see what I could get and go from there. Some people have told me that they have gone to the places like I have in the UK but they never HAD that much fun. Oh well, they should have gone fishing like me because having a live fish on the other end of a fishing rod (and it’s a big fish!) is quite an experience since you are feeling it, smelling it, seeing it, (maybe) hearing it, and overall, it was ALL you!

The fish and the weather actually cooperated with me for once…. well, maybe. It was unusually cold and windy but at least fishable because if I’m going to fail on fishing due to the weather as it happened with my last trip to Mallorca, then it looks like I have to travel to my go-to-place – England. Even if there is bad weather and/or waves, there are still places for fishing! I also don’t want to see any bad British blokes as well getting drunk and doing stupid stuff back in the Balearic Islands since it’s back on their homeland where hopefully, they are better behaved. Usually at home, people are. But also, I’m going out into the countryside and not into the cramped city of London so it’s a different story as the country folk are a bit more controlled I should say?

But to me, it appeared as if the fishing gods listened to my complaints of having zero chances to fish in Mallorca and made up for it by providing fish for me to catch. Of course, some of them got away but the gods kept providing.

rainbow trout trucha de acro iris

Within the first 20 minutes of fishing, a rainbow trout took my fly and its eventual land into the net and boat. A quick picture and release into the waters.

fishing gods provide 4 four pound rainbow fish trout

Later on, I got this 4 pound rainbow trout to hang on so I could catch it. The fishing gods do provide!

Eventually, after catching rainbow trout after rainbow trout, the gods gave me something else. Pike!

pike action fishing hardcore fish predators

I had to fight hard to get these pike in the net and into the boat! Here’s an action photo of me getting that rod bent in my hands trying to land the first pike of the day!

And I got two of those nasty pikes! A six pounder and an eight pounder!

fishing net pike 6 pounds

There’s my 6 pounder back into the net to breathe before final release into the water.

upclose with a pike in the net

An upclose of the pike, a predator fish, in the net before I picked it up before I posed with it and then released it.

pike 6 pounds pitsford water reservoir waters uk england fly fishing tourism

First pike of the day on a fly rod! Was about 6 pounds which is not bad at all. Good fight on a fly rod.

pike eight pounds uk english predator fishing troll fly rod flies pesca con la mosca

My second pike of the day and my biggest overall for this fishing day! 8 pound pike – a great fight with a lot of depth charges straight to the bottom.

Fishing in the UK is what I’d call a hidden treasure that no one thinks about as most people would rather do the London tours or go see castles or go to Stonehenge. I know, I know, I’m guilty of it myself because I did the same thing as well. That’s why fishing is the way to go.

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In the Balearic Islands – Cruising around the island of Mallorca, Spain

Like my trip to the Azores, I decided to go do both fishing and scuba diving on this trip but with one change – the two activities would be on separate days because of the amount of energy required to do so. I thought I almost burnt myself out with the amount of energy that I had to put out to do both on the same day in the Azores that it would be far better to separate the days. Unfortunately, the weather gods did NOT get the memo from the fishing gods that I was going fishing on this day because the weather was so bad and continue to be bad into the next day that it was just windy, wavy, and storms were coming in. Better to stay on land than on water which was exactly what I did – cruise around the island.

Unlike the beach-goers and mass quantity alcohol drinkers, I’ve found something far better and more productive to do in these islands because even in the hotel I hear stuff such as “Oh man, I got so wasted last night that I don’t remember what happened.” That’s not what I want to reveal to people that I just drank and drank to the state of complete blackout consciousness and be complete idiots to everyone else. Even though I was not able to go fishing nor scuba diving (as the waves were worse than the previous day), I can still find things to go and do and see.

I found out that this island has some interesting caves to go to so that was my first place to stop at. They are called the Drach Caves (Cuevas del Drach) which are a major tourist attraction meaning that I recommend to go there early in the day or later in the afternoon to avoid the tourist crowds as I saw tour buses filled with tourists wanting to go to this location. These caves have interesting rock formations which probably took many, many years (centuries, really) to form. It kind of reminded me of the cave visit in Gibraltar since the cave had rock formations as well but the key attraction was that there was a church made into a cave. Another one site that comes to mind was the Cenotes of Mexico where I went diving there in underground caves/passages.

drach cave ceiling

This is an underground walking tour of unique rock formations probably took millenniums to create.

rocks water cuevas del drach

There are no vampires or scary things living here. Just rocks and some water.

drop deep cave

There are guard rails but make sure you don’t drop anything important like a camera because it might be a long drop… into water!

drach caves

More unique rock formations in the Drach Caves.

concert underground caves of drach spanish attraction tourism

In the end, they have a pleasant surprise as there is a concert on the water – they have a special boat where a small orchestra plays as it moves on the water inside the cave. The cave and the water provide a great conduit for the music to be heard that speakers are not needed.

Next I drove around the island’s coastline which gave me the idea that this island has quite a bit of beaches, some of them quite big (and popular) while others were less crowded and probably more likely to have less people. Mallorca has some interesting lighthouses which happen to be popular for tourists to visit them for some weird reason.

uphill road mallorca lighthouse

This is the Capdepera Lighthouse. You can either take a car or bike or walk up there but just note that hiking is quite a walk uphill on a windy road.

Mallorca cove view vista blue waters rocky island

By knowing where to go, you can get a good view of a cove.

Tip: Just a warning to everyone who comes to these islands – they are a lot of loud, obnoxious people who will not shut the hell up. God, they are just loud, proud, and drunk during the day and especially at night. The previous night was a bunch of British idiots screaming and yelling about stupid crap which I wasn’t able to decipher through their drunken voices. What was hilarious was when some Spanish lady screamed, “SHUT UP!” Unfortunately, that made the Brits even more enraged in their drunken stupor.

Tip: If you’re not in the drinking and bar/club scene then that’s great. However, you are driving a car on these islands beware where are you driving because there are a LOT, and I mean a lot of bicyclists on this island – most of them are obviously not from the islands. A lot of tourist bikers go to the Balearic Islands due to the great weather compared to the mainland so you have to watch out for them especially while in passing. The bikers might be annoying but you still have to maintain 1.5 meters (5 feet) when passing them. That’s the law on the islands I believe.

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In the Balearic Islands – Going scuba diving in Mallorca, Spain

On this day, I was hoping that the scuba diving would be like what it was in Barcelona but possibly with more interesting things and/or wildlife to see. Well, on this day, I had no idea since you never know with diving as I’ve found out how different the diving was in nearby Barcelona, Spain and Nice, France despite the fact that both locations are close to each other but for some reason, it was like night and day – Barcelona had far more wildlife compared to Nice’s. So going to Mallorca, which is slightly southeast of Barcelona and southwest of Nice, I was going to see if there were any differences in the diving. Hopefully, it was going to be more like Barcelona’s – see more interesting stuff.

On these dives, it’s all shore diving so no boat but rather grab the gear and put it on, and out into the water…. well, that was the plan. Unfortunately, the diving conditions were not so great as the dive operator said that the usual good diving spots were basically a no-go. 3 meter (1o foot) waves (would have been great for surfing if the waves were consistent like in Lima, Peru!), extremely choppy waters, and heavy wind does not make a good diving start, nor an end either as you have to come out some time. Also, the waters here are cold just like the Azores and the Canaries so gotta wear a thicker wetsuit!

So basically we could realistically go to one spot where it was possible so we headed off there for the shore dive. No boats as it was just too rough out on the waters. The first dive was difficult as visibility was terrible. You could barely see no more than 5 meters (about 15 feet) in front of you. Also, this site was primarily a beginner’s diving spot so there wasn’t much to see except for one thing. A John Dory also known as a Saint Peter’s Fish (in Spanish: Pez de San Pedro). I’ve see these while scuba diving in Barcelona but the divemaster said that he’s never seen one in these waters so it was quite a rare, odd sighting to finally see one in the flesh!

pez de san pedro john dory fish

As I was diving, I saw the rear of this fish, a John Dory aka St. Peter’s Fish! That’s why you have to keep an alert eye to see anything interesting.

john dory fish spain balearic islands islas espana mar oceanico salt water diving

If you look closely in the middle of the picture, it’s a St. Peter’s Fish with its prominent big “rear eye” meant to scare predators that it’s watching them.

Other than that fish, there wasn’t much to see but thankfully, the second dive was much better as the visibility improved quite a bit but the water temperature dropped substantially. I was far colder than the first dive but I got to see a lot more and the pictures came out better as well.

speedboat wreck spain balearic islands tourism

Looks like some kind of speedboat that had a hole and found its way to the bottom of the sea to provide a home for the fish to hide in.

fishing boat wreck

I don’t know what kind of boat this is but it looked like a fishing boat of some sort.

huge anchor grande

This was quite a big anchor that I’m pretty sure that it didn’t come off of one of the wrecks earlier seen during the dive. Must have broken off of a huge boat!

I was told that the diving is far better in the summer but that appears to be the truth throughout the other places that I’ve gone diving in Europe: Azores, Canaries, Nice, Costa del Sol, Malta, Croatia, and Greece. I should add in Iceland as well since the water temperature is somewhat more bearable than in winter! But the only problem with summer is all these tourists showing up as Europe’s prime time high season is summer.

Contact for scuba diving: https://www.norwaydive.com/

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In the Balearic Islands: the island of Mallorca, Spain

I’ve been continuing the recent tradition of going to the islands of Europe as I’ve visited Malta, Iceland, United Kingdom (biggest island in Europe), Canary Islands, Azores, and now the Balearic Islands. I mean why not keep it going by going to another group of islands where I’ve never been before? Going southeast from Barcelona, there they are – the Balearic Islands with the three biggest islands of Ibiza, Mallorca, and Menorca being the most well-known.

sea waters waves serene area scene mallorca island

Other than the drunks swimming in their puke, piss, and sweat, Mallorca does have some pleasant waters around.

I decided to go to Mallorca since it was the biggest island meaning that it would probably have the most options of fun available and not to mention I wanted to avoid Ibiza which has a huge reputation of being a party-central island for many Europeans. Almost like the Spring Break locations back in the western hemisphere where Cancun is often noted for its Spring Break craziness (or stupid-ness), the same applies to drinking and partying central of Ibiza which was why I decided on going east of that place, instead towards the big island of Mallorca. Another great part of Mallorca was that it used to be a part of the old Roman Empire unlike the Canaries or the Azores. Over time the islands have belonged to the Moors, Catalonia, Aragon, and eventually to the formal union between Castile and Aragon to become what it is now: Spain. The islands were a great staging spot for ships in the Mediterranean Sea since in the ancient times, ships needed to resupply more often back then. And now in modern times, the islands have become a tourist destination because of the sunny weather, beaches, and closeness to Europe itself unlike the Azores and Canaries which might be a bit far and the weather can be a bit more unpredictable.

calamare rings fried food awesome tasting

Like on any island with good weather, the seafood has to be good! These calamari rings were awesome!

mariscos paella arroz frito fried rice seafood mixed meats spanish specialty dinner lunch

You can’t ignore this Spanish specialty but it’s called paella. The problem with this on mainland Spain is that you need two or more people to order it as it’s quite a big meal due to the influx of ingredients to this dish.

Tip: I recommend renting a car to be more mobile in being able to go see and conduct fun activities because not all the fun stuff is located in one spot. That’s why it’s far better to have a rental car so you’re not shelling out a lot of money on taxis nor restricted to the local buses and their fixed schedules.

Tip: The people on these islands do speak English really well as they are accustomed to the waves of tourists descending upon the islands, kind of like the Portuguese are used to tourists in the Azores. However, if you can speak Spanish, you might get better service from the locals unlike the rest of the tourist entourage that speaks English back and forth. For example, a Swede will speak English to a local Spaniard instead of Swedish or Spanish. English is definitely the lingua franca but speaking the local language does wonders if you ask me.

Tip: There are a lot of Germans and British touristy folks in these islands and they tend to bring their culture and attitude with them making it a bit awkward to not just the locals but also fellow tourists who are not used to their way of life. For the Germans, they tend to hang out among themselves as if they were their own colony and for the British, a lot of them are there for the sun and lots of drinking. Ibiza, the west island of Mallorca, is a such a party destination. Unfortunately, even the island of Mallorca has its fair share of party-goers aka the participants of the stag and hen parties (aka bachelor and bachelorette parties). I think this is why the locals can speak English to yell at the rowdy tourists.

nude people fines sign warning idiots drunks stupids

Unfortunately, these islands have this reputation of being a party central location even though the island I went to was not Ibiza. So undoubtedly, there have been idiots who have decided to go run off in the full nude out here so hence why the signs for the potential fines for people who do so.

looks like thailand party central spain islands in the sea drinking time

I haven’t been there before but judging from pictures and videos, this place looks like Thailand with its rows and rows of bars, clubs, restaurants, stores, etc. I can’t imagine what it looks like during the night which was why I didn’t venture out but I already saw plenty of idiots wearing the same outfit while drinking profusely so that basically screams bachelor party or some kind of drinking party. I spoke to one local who was already tired of the drunks coming to the island despite the money the tourists provide.

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In Frankfurt, Germany for the Eintracht Frankfurt vs VfB Stuttgart football match

After winning the German Cup and then losing the German Super Cup in 2018, Eintracht Frankfurt has started to yo-yo back up in the standings in the Bundesliga as they are currently in the top 5, top 6 of the league. Thanks to the front three forwards of Luka Jovic, Ante Rebic, and Sebastien Haller, the team has rebounded from that Super Cup loss well as the team is having great success in the standings which would be good enough for qualifying for Europa League the next year. In addition, in this season, the team is forcing itself deep into this year’s Europa League by churning hard-pressed wins to continue its success not just in Germany but on the European stage. Their success has pushed the ticket sales to go up, making it harder and harder to find good seats. It reminds me of this year’s Borussia Dortmund as the team has done far better this season compared to last year’s which is making it all that more difficult to get good tickets. It’s not like the bottom dwellers or near the bottom teams like FC Augsburg or Hanover SV.

eintracht frankfurt main stadium big europa league capable champions league capable

Back to Commerzbank Arena… the last time I was there Bayern Munich won the Super Cup trophy. Things have changed for the better for the Frankfurt team since that loss.

As for VfB Stuttgart, Frankfurt’s opponent, things have not gone that well since their return to top flight as the team is near the bottom of the standings and could get relegated. Currently, the team is in 16th place which means that if they maintain their current position, the team will have to go to the relegation playoffs against the 2nd league’s 3rd best team. I feel as if this team has started its downhill side since the last time I watched them play live last year when they were home in Stuttgart playing against FC Schalke. Since then Stuttgart has not really progressed that much in the standings and are just hoping to survive from being relegated back into the second league after their promotion 2 years ago. It’s almost like a recycle period of winning promotion, struggling in first league, getting relegated to second league, and then winning promotion to first league all over again. What’s dramatic is that the 2 teams that I watched in the previous day might actually face off Stuttgart in the relegation playoffs! There is no such thing as tanking like there is in the US. That’s what makes it all the more exciting to go see a game and know the story lines behind the scenes.

shooting penalty kicks free kicks goals

The Frankfurt players warmed up by doing their exercises, drills, and then onto the goal shooting practice.

ultra fans frankfurt eintracht black white colors eagles

Fans cheering on Eintracht Frankfurt. The people to the right are the ultras who bang the drums, sing, chant, and wave flags all game long.

As for Frankfurt, this might be the best year for the team to secure a high Bundesliga standing finish and maybe even win the Europa League trophy. They’re definitely not the team that I saw lose last season nor this early season’s team that lost in the German Super Cup against Bayern Munich. I feel as if the team’s front three of Jovic, Rebic, and Haller might be moving onto more lucrative contracts during the summer transfer period. Especially Jovic who has broken out as a striker since I read that FC Barcelona might be looking to take him along especially if he wants Champions League football. You never know what might happen during the summer transfer period.

counterattack style wide open frankfurt

Here’s Frankfurt lining up a free kick – this was how Stuttgart got pressured as Frankfurt would know exactly when to pour in the counterattack gear into the game. Stuttgart would have to foul Frankfurt otherwise, it would have been a wide-open goal scoring chance.

counterattack soccer football wide open spacing

When going to the football games, I like to analyze what’s happening. That’s one of the great things about traveling – you can see how certain teams play and in this picture you can see that they are wide open with 2 players up front ready to push forward with reinforcements to follow.

In this game, the black and white Frankfurter team had chances as did the visiting Stuttgart team but like most games, teams are trying to feel each other out. Frankfurt played a 3-2-2-3 format which might become a 3-4-3 with its top three forwards in the lineup. Stuttgart tried countering with a 5-3-2 with at times forming a 3-5-2 or even a 4-4-2 depending on the situation. The problem though with Stuttgart is that it doesn’t really have any firepower and when they try to press, they get caught in the counterattack which Frankfurt is good at hiding its special skill. Unlike other teams which specialize in it, Frankfurt actually knows when to bust it wide open which was how they scored 3 goals against Stuttgart’s 0. After seeing Stuttgart earlier in the season, I don’t see them staying in the first league any longer as they have no offense, no defense, and not much else to keep them going.

luka jovic celebrates his goal frankfurt

Frankfurt’s center-forward, Luka Jovic, seals the game after scoring Frankfurt’s third goal and keeping Stuttgart completely shut out.

The fans were really in it at this game since they are the only German team left in European competition (Europa League) and they just took over 4th place with this win meaning that they stay in this spot, they will go onto Champions League competition. Now how well they do will largely depend on next season’s squad but going to Champions League (or even Europa League) means that there is more money going into the team’s coffers so they should do well in keeping their key players (maybe) and/or attract other players.

I have to say it again that some of these cities don’t really have a lot to see or do except provide great sporting opportunities. I feel that Frankfurt is one of them as the city got heavily bombed in World War II so its team is one of the highlights to travel to the city. Or at least an excuse to go visit the city since the team is doing very well now.

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