Portugal is a great destination for those who would like a great fishing trip on a budget. The country is a Southern European country with great climate and an year long fishing season. Being situated on the Atlantic Ocean, the culture and lifestyle is influenced by this proximity.
It is a popular destination for fishermen from Europe. Those who love sea fishing won’t be disappointed. Portugal is one of the warmest European countries. In mainland Portugal, yearly temperature averages are about 15°C (55°F) in the north and 18°C (64°F) in the south. Madeira and Azores have a narrower temperature range as expected given their insularity, with the former having low precipitation in most of the archipelago and the latter being wet and rainy.
It is an awesome destination for those who want to go out and experience fishing and the beautiful beaches. If you are into visiting beautiful monuments and enjoy remarkable views, then Lisbon, Sintra, and Porto are the top three places, and all of them are well worth a visit. But don’t overlook Viana do Castelo, Braga, Guimarães, Coimbra, Tomar, Aveiro, Amarante, Bragança, Chaves, Lamego, Viseu, Vila Real, Lagos, Silves, Évora, Angra as they also have wonderful monuments and places of interest. Although in Portugal most of the monuments in existence are somewhat neglected from a tourist point of view, one can easily find very old romanic churches, some with almost 900 years and still quite unchanged from that time. Old monasteries like Alcobaça or luxurious palaces like Mafra (one of the biggest palaces in Europe) or Queluz are not to be missed either. In most of these places you will have no queues.
The most popular beaches are in the Algarve, which has stunning coastlines and gobs of natural beauty. The water along the southern coast tends to be warmer and calmer than the water along the west coast, which is definitely Atlantic and doesn’t benefit of the Gulf Stream. For surfing, or just playing in the surf there are great beaches all along the west coast, near Lisbon and Peniche. Don’t forget also some of the almost deserted beaches along the Costa Vicentina, in Alentejo.
For nightlife Lisbon, Porto and Albufeira, Algarve are the best choices as you have major places of entertainment.
Back to fishing
Algarve – Portugal it’s considerate one of the best Big Game Fishing places in the world due to the influence of the warm currents of the Mediterranean Sea. Temperature breaks created where bodies of warm and cool water are pushed up against each other also act as a less tangible form of structure which attracts bait and big fish.
Specific for several types of Sharks (Blue Shark, Hammerhead Shark, Mako) you can find others species as Blue Marlin, White Marlin, Swordfish , Tuna , Dourados, Bonitos, and others.
Reef fishing in Agarve takes place ¾ miles off the coast (at 20 to 30 meters depth) with the vessel anchored. It’s a type of fishing where the bait stays at the bottom, close to the reefs, for the capture of a greater variety of fish, for example: mackerel, grouper, conger, and snapper, amongst others. The bait used is shrimp and common cockle.
Shark fishing takes place at high seas (10 miles off the coast) fishing a variety of shark species, such as, blue shark, short fin mako, amongst others. The bait used is sardines.
Note: This activity is advisable to all lovers of this sport, with or without experience, as you will be accompanied by an experienced crew who will teach you all the secrets there are to know.
Great fishing in the Azores
The Azores must be considered one of the best locations in the world to find an abundance of large big game species. It is the only place in the world were there is a good possibility to catching, blue marlin, white marlin, spearfish, bluefin tuna, bigeye tuna, longfin tuna (albacore), yellowfin tuna, mako shark, swordfish, wahoo and dorado. It is a pleasure to fish in the waters of the Azores. Warm waters, good weather, beautiful scenery.
The Azores are an important destination for many migratory pelagic species that make seasonal migrations of thousands of miles across the Atlantic Ocean. Local coastlines and numerous submarine banks hold huge quantities of bait – a vital food source that attracts and sustains so many large pelagic fish during their migration.
Species and seasons
Marlin season is from mid July to early October when the sea water temperatures are at their highest. Their may still be plenty of big pelagic fish to target throughout October, but the deterioration of weather conditions during this period tends reduces the number of fishing days.
Blue marlin usually appear in the Azores when the temperature of the water is 22⁰ C. Although most fish average around 500 lbs there is always the chance to see a fish of 1000 lbs+ which is known as a ‘grander’.
White marlin can be very abundant in Azores. They usually appear a little earlier than blue marlin, presumably because they can support slightly lower water temperatures. They are impressive fighters with light tackle rods and usually weigh around 50lbs. In 2008, we caught 4 at the same time. Other billfish, like spearfish are less abundant, but they can appear during the marlin season.
Although they can be abundant, swordfish are not usually caught by sport fishermen. They of more importance to commercial fishermen who usually catch them at night and rarely during the day. Commercial fishermen are known to occasionally catch large specimens with more than 600 lbs.
High season for tuna is usually from mid April to the end of June but they can also appear at other times of the year. During the last years the tuna season has extended well into the summer months and has been particularly good around the end of September.
This super strong and highly migratory fish is also frequently seen and occasionally captured in the Azores. Their presence is more difficult to detect because they spend a lot of time in deep water. They are often seen during the winter months when the water temperatures are a colder 15-16º C. In 2014, a commercial fisherman caught one with 1,050 lbs from S.Miguel Island. Some fishermen believe that they are around all year, but being difficult to detect most of the time, also makes them difficult to catch.
Bigeyes can be very abundant in the Azores and are very important for the regional economy. They normally weigh between 130 to 170 lbs, but some fish may be more than 300 lbs especially in the recent years. In 2012, we caught 7 in a single day, with largest weighing in at 314 lbs.
Other tuna, like albacore and skipjack tuna are also common in the Azores. Albacore, typically weigh in at around 45 lbs. In 2008, we caught 18 in single day. Skipjack tuna are smaller and usually weigh around 10 lbs. The beautiful yellowfin tuna are less common and usually occur when temperatures are higher, typically in August. In 2014, we captured big specimens in which the biggest had 285 lbs.
Smaller species such as Dolphinfish (Dorado) and less commonly, Wahoo, are caught from time to time.
Sharks such as Mako, Hammerhead and Blue are common in our waters and quite easy to catch. These days, they have become less popular amongst big-game fishermen.
Light tackle/coastal fishing for Barracudas, Atlantic bonito, Blue fish, Jacks, Mackerel and Grouper, can be good throughout the year.
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