Cape Verde

fishing santa maria sal cape verde

Santa Maria – Sal, Cape Verde

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This mid-Atlantic island paradise boasts of some of the best fishing to be found anywhere in the world. Serious big game fishermen flock here to experience what can only be called Blue Marlin nirvana. Cape Verde has been providing world-class big game fishing for a long time to the few who discovered its potential but only now is the rest of the world catching up.

The islands have now twice been winners of the World Cup Blue Marlin Championship (1998 and 2010) since being discovered by the international angling community. The 2010 Championship produced one of the biggest catches in the tournament’s 30-plus years history – a 1097 lbs (498 kg) specimen that put Cape Verde on the big game map forever.

About Cape Verde

Cape Verde is made up of a group of ten small, mountainous islands found in the Atlantic Ocean about 360 miles (579 km) from the coast of Senegal in West Africa. Today the Republic of Cabo Verde, as it is officially recognized, is a popular vacation destination particularly for Europeans, although avid anglers will know the island nation as one of the hidden gems for big game species. 

Cape Verde was actually unpopulated for quite some time, as it wasn’t until the Portuguese discovered and colonized it in the mid 15th century. The tiny islands provided an important route for European slave traders, in particular, the Portuguese, during the height of the transatlantic slave trade.

The prosperity brought to the islands by the slave trade, however, soon vanished with the abolition of slavery.

With few natural resources of its own, the Cape Verde Islands suffered greatly as it endured drought and famine that decimated its population and sparked a wave of emigration to the U.S. and Europe. The popular Cape Verdean Morna, a melancholy and beautiful musical tradition, was borne out of hardship.

The small archipelago of just roughly half a million people was able to recover in part due to its prime location in the Atlantic Ocean, which helped establish the islands as an important commercial shipping route.

After gaining independence from Portugal in 1975, Cape Verde managed to remain prosperous thanks to its investments in tourism and attracting foreign investment.

Today, Cape Verde is one of the most politically and economically stable democracies in Africa. Now you can find many gorgeous resorts, hotels, and tourist attractions throughout the group of islands as well some of the friendliest and welcoming people anywhere.

Fishing plays a strong role in the tourism of the islands, as many businesses specialize in providing charters and fishing supplies for any fisherman making his way to Cape Verde. Blue marlin remains the most sought-after big game in Cape Verde and they can reach quite truly incredible sizes, but there are countless other species that can be caught throughout the year.

Cape Verde’s Best Fishing Locations

Mindelo – This port town on the island of Sao Vicente has long been an important hub of Cape Verdean culture and one of its best fishing destinations. Here you will be able to find the biggest and most modern fleet of charter boats to take you out on the hunt for really big fish, including some of the best Blue Marlin fishing on the islands.

 Palmeira – This is a small fishing town on the island of Sal, and it features a number of boats on its docks. Fishing is a mainstay in the local cuisine, so the locals know exactly where to find the best spots. The shores just north of the town are great for fishing, with rock fishing and line fishing a local favorite.

Santa Maria – Found on the southern coast of Sal, Santa Maria is another fishing town that has a magnificent beach just to the east, which is great for some shore surf fishing. Yet the spot where the beach becomes rockier terrain is a popular spot for rock fishing. The town itself has some great boats for hire too, which will get you out into the deeper waters for a chance at trophy fish.

Some other spots worth checking out include Praia, the capital of Cape Verde and the nation’s largest city on the island of Santiago, and the island of Boa Vista, which makes up part of the Barlavento chain of islands.

Blue-water Fishing in Cape Verde

cape verde blue marlin fishing

Cape Verde Marlin Fishing

Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean has made Cape Verde a prime location for some truly big game fish. Channels such as the one between the islands of Santo Antao and Sao Vicente have a reputation for attracting monstrous blue marlin that is anywhere between 600-900lbs, and many exceeding 1000 lbs!

Yellowfin tuna can reach up to 300 lbs and are best found from September to December. The blue marlin is most plentiful during mid-March through to June, although in September/October you tend to find fewer but bigger marlin.

Trolling can find you wahoo, barracuda, and dorado, while jigs can bring in plenty of amberjack, blackjack, and oilfish. You can also find a range of shark species including tiger shark, bull shark, and hammerheads.

Whether you come to Cape Verde for a holiday or for the fishing, or both, you will not be disappointed with any time spent in this island paradise once so poetically described as “the Earth’s green cape and verdant isles” by Milton in his Paradise Lost.