THE FISHING PONDS OR CORRALES


Cataor Pescando Corrales desde Las Canteras Cataor Pescando
Vista Aerea Corrales Punta del Perro Pared de Corral Cataor Pescando
Puesta de Sol Corrales Cataor Pescando Cataor Pescando

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Structure of the Fishing Ponds

      The fishing ponds or “Corrales” are enclosed and artificial spaces made of oyster stone formed on the intertidal rocky area, or abrasion platform, with a geological structure coming from prehistoric cliffs, lowered for millions of years by the erosive strength of the waves.

      The fishing ponds are an ancient fishing art, whose origin is attributed to the Romans, although until the late fourteenth century there are no reliable records of their existence. The fishing ponds are built on a gently sloping beach, in order to leave a plenty space in low tide.

      A fishing pond consists of a wall, built with large stones from the sea at the base and sides and filled with rubble and gravel. The great proliferation of oysters, limpets and barnacles growing on the rocks act as a natural cement that solidifies the compact set. The fishing ponds communicate with the sea through tubes or channels of about 50 cm in diameter at the base of the wall. The number of tubes is variable but is usually high (about 30 or 40 per fishing pond) so that the water can drain quickly during the low tide.

      At low tide, the water is forming lagoons between the rocks and breakwaters. Each lagoon is known by the fishermen with a name alluding to its location or specific characteristics (La Barreta, Los Hoyos, El Rincon, del Centro…). The lagoons that form in the highlands, near the beach are called lagoons of land. These lagoons, which in low tide are completely empty, drain by strait natural gutters called “chorreras” or “correntines”. The sandy-bottomed lakes or sand are called “arenazos”. In the deep end of the corral, the gaps are subdivided into “Piélagos” through narrow walls called “atajos” or shortcuts that cut the fish route. Inside the “Piélagos” we can find “jarifes” or large flat stones covered by three or four small stones, leaving an empty space that serve as shelter for fish. Many rocks form flaps, ample and natural projections parallel to the ground leaving a deep, narrow fissure, used as a refuge for species that are trapped at low tide. The highest rocks and more salient of the corral are called “Alturas” or height.

Operation

      The fishing ponds are huge traps that work with the tide. Its effectiveness is significantly higher during the tides with high degrees, because it is when more fish enters and it is easier to fish when at low tide drained.

      The conducts should be covered with gratings (before it is covered with water) in order to fish in the “corral”. The fish come into the corral passing over the wall (not through the conducts) when the “corral” is being covered with water during rising tide. Some fish of high body such as breams come into the “corral” just when the water begins to cover the wall, lying sideways on the rocks. In the high tides the top of the wall may be nearly two meters below the water. During the low tides, many fish escape out to sea again passing over the wall, getting caught in the “corral” those who do not seize this moment. The best time to fish in the “corral” is from January to May for the squid and from May to October for the rest of the fish. Also after the windstorms have good catches. Each “corral” is headed by an assessor or “catador”, responsible for its maintenance and the first person authorized to enter it to fish. When the “corral” begins to descoronillar (or escoronillar - when the tips of the highest stones of the wall begin to show), the “catador” arrives to the “corral” to dissuade by its presence to other fishermen.

      The “catador” enters to fish near low tide. He often carries a knife for fishing, knocking and stunning the fish. Once collected, let the rest of fishermen enter to capture what he leaves behind. The best time to shellfish range from the last part of the low tide, the “reparo” of the tide (time during which the water is still), the “Reviro” (beginning of tides) and the first part of the tide (when the water level keeps on rising, about three or four hours in total.

      The “catador” use different fishing tackles. The “catador” enters inside the “corral” equipped with wading boots, the “fija” or “francajo”, a jar of olive oil to clarify the water during the foaming that causes the sea breeze, and a drum or “seroncillo” (former fishermen) to carry on the catches. Walking slowly, go raking under the flaps and “Jarifes”, pouring a little olive oil into the water from time to time to clarify and have better visibility of the bottom of the sea.