Fishing in Portugal
Portugal remains one of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations, with millions of visitors converging annually to take advantage of the gorgeous weather, beautiful golden beaches and the many stunning resorts and destinations found throughout the nation.
Many of these tourists to this small nation on the Iberian Peninsula next to Spain will, however, also be avid fishermen, as Portugal is regarded as one of the premier fishing locations, not just in Europe but the entire world. With its strategic location in the Atlantic Ocean and proximity to the Mediterranean Sea, the country’s passion and tradition for the ocean and seafaring have been well documented in the history books.
It should come then as no surprise that the Portuguese love fish and fishing – it’s in their blood. From the traditional images of salted Cod (Bacalhau) and grilled Sardines to every known delicacy from its seas and waters within the country, the Portuguese love affair with seafood is conspicuous everywhere.
With miles upon miles of stunning coastlines that border the Atlantic Ocean, there are countless locations, with many quaint, picturesque fishing villages along the way, that are perfect for casting a line. Be it deep sea, coastal, or freshwater fishing, there is something for every angler in Portugal.
Beginners and experts alike will enjoy the variety of species and long fishing seasons. It is well known that many of the best fishermen in the world make the trip to Portugal to take advantage of some of the most impressive sport fishing opportunities in all of Europe.
One can fish just about anywhere and have the time of his life in this angler’s paradise. However, the three locations highlighted here are must-fish destinations for any angler looking the experience the very best Portugal has to offer.
The Algarve – Fishing and Sunshine in Southern Portugal
The Algarve is the southernmost region of Portugal and attracts the bulk of the tourism the country sees. It is a sunny area, averaging about 12 hours of sunlight in the summer months with temperatures in the low 80s Fahrenheit (28 Celsius) and little rain. Winters are mild and pleasant with temperatures in the 59 – 62 Fahrenheit range (15 – 17 Celsius).
Fishing is very much ingrained in the culture and economy of the Algarve, so the fishing opportunities throughout this region are plentiful, especially from the popular fishing ports of Sagres, Lagos, Albufeira, Faro, and Tavira. Algarve boasts of record marlin hauls and annual marlin tournaments.
Water temperatures begin to rise in the summer months – as well as warm waters coming from the Mediterranean- which can attract plenty of big game fish such as Bluefin Tuna, Swordfish, Sawfish, Corvina and many species of shark, including Blue Shark, Mako, and Hammerhead that frequent the coast due to the abundance of baitfish.
Fishing on the beaches and harbors of the region is incredibly popular too, and it is very common to see anglers testing their luck from high cliffs along the coast. Algarve’s rocky coastline presents plenty of opportunities for big Sea Bass as well as Bluefish, Mackerel and Bream.
Carp fishing is probably the most appealing freshwater fishing available in Portugal, and there are many freshwater locations throughout the Algarve that are perfect for these. Asking locals is great for finding the best spots in any nearby rivers, streams or lakes, and you can easily find a secluded location that is teeming with game fish.
It is also easy to find charters, guides, and gear for hire here, so even if you aren’t in Portugal for the sole purpose of fishing, it is easy to arrange to do some fishing to relax and unwind.
Madeira – Blue Marlin Paradise
Madeira is a group of Islands found in the Atlantic Ocean that are roughly southwest of mainland Portugal and is a massively popular destination for big game fishing. Funchal, the island’s capital, and largest city is the best location to go thanks to their strong emphasis on tourism, with many boats and charters available for hire.
The local charters and fishermen will know all the prime locations and times to head out to sea, and most will have a selection of tackle available for the excursion.
Most of the big game caught here are massive in size, and the region is known to hold many records for huge Blue marlin, many of which tip 1000lbs on the scales! Madeira has been the winner of the Blue Marlin World Cup Tournament 4 times, most recently in 2015 as wells as winning it consecutively from 1995 – 1997.
Countless other species also frequent these waters, with Big Eye Tuna, White Marlin, Spearfish and Broadbill Swordfish. You might even sight a few whales and dolphins while out at sea!
The Azores – Legendary Fishing
Another chain of 9 volcanic Portuguese islands, the Azores are found northwest of Madeira and share a reputation internationally with them for having some of the best fishing opportunities in Portugal and Europe. In addition to breathtaking landscapes and rustic fishing villages, here, the best fishing can be found in the deep waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
Big Blue Marlin can also be found in abundance here, with many seeing it as one of the best regions for finding this species. The average size here is in the 500 lbs vicinity. Of course, there are numerous other big game species waiting to be found as well. Various tuna are present in the waters surrounding the Azores, including Bluefin, Yellowfin, Longfin and Big Eye.
Much like Madeira, Azores holds many records for large marlin and is the winner of the 2001 Blue Marlin World Cup and owns 6 Blue Marlin IFGA world records. Faial island, part of the central islands group of the Azores, is famous for its Blue Marlin catches. Candor Bank, approximately 15 nautical miles south of Horta Harbour in Faial, is legendary for its quantity and size of Blue Marlin.
The islands also hold world record catches for 22 different species! White Marlin fishing from the island of Santa Maria, the southernmost island in the Azores, offers yet another exciting experience.
Big-game fishermen will be right at home in the Azores and can expect the experience, and maybe even the catch of a lifetime here! And If that’s not enough, the islands also offer prime surfing and scuba diving settings.