Friday, March 23, 2018

Monster Catfish and Pike in Portugal

After 27 years exploring the fishing in Portugal, spending years - yes years - camping out in all weather fishing, I can confidently say that I know our freshwater fishing better than any other angler in Portugal. I read all I can about our fishing, talk to the anglers I meet when fishing, talk to the police when they ask for my permit (some very good anglers among them). Many anglers email me for help and after I help them they give me tips about their secret places.

So do we have big catfish in Portugal – YES - a few years ago there was a report in a local paper about a dam in the north where the locals told the tourists not to swim because there was a big crocodile in the water. The tourist board got to know and had the water netted. The result was a catfish just under 300lbs. I know that a number of people have put catfish into local dams when they became too big for their tanks at home. These can turn up in any water but are so few as to not be viable targets.

Some waters will give you a better chance long term and the Alqueva Dam could come good. The Spanish have moved some there from the Ebro and I know of one being recaptured. We have hooked monster fish in the river Sado they could be cats or Comizo Barbel both of which are not supposed to be in there!!! But the best place is the river Tejo and its dams access is difficult but well worth a try. There’s some good carp and barbel there as well. Try a web search for pesca siluro Portugal and you will see lots of pictures of cats 60 to 75lbs from this area. Most cats are taken by accident on normal carp gear. The big ones are lost so any effort with suitable tackle could pay off.

We have Pike as well, but not in too many places. The Alqueva Dam has them and big Zander as well. They turn up all down the river Guadiana down to near the sea but only the odd fish. The best place, again, are the dams on the river Tejo. They turn up in the north of Portugal in the Azibo Dam.

If you fancy coming out and having a crack at of these species, contact me via our Reservations page..

John Bate

Just had this report in from a customer who was out here good to hear back how the customers feel about their experience..

Pretty good reason to think about coming our yourself..

Hi John,

Just a quick line to thank you most sincerely for a great time fishing with you in southern Portugal last week. I really enjoyed the trip and will definitely try to come back and fish with you again in the not too distant future.

The whole trip ran like clockwork from the moment you picked me up at Faro airport until the time you dropped me off a week later. The accommodation that you provided for me at the Hotel Colina dos Mouros in Silves was ideal. It was clean, comfortable and all the staff were extremely friendly. What more can you ask for ? Silves is a great place to stay and all the locals that I encountered were extremely kind, friendly and helpful and the local restaurants and cafes were excellent. An evening meal plus wine and coffees and all for less than 15 euros can’t be bad !!

The three stillwater venues that we fished during the week were all different and beautiful in their own ways. I particularly enjoyed fishing the lake further to the west in the nature reserve. The tackle and bait that you provided was first class and everywhere we fished everything happened that you said would happen. You can’t argue with that. Your expert knowledge of the fish and fishing in your area is without equal.

My main objective of the trip was to catch some Gypsy (or Andalucian) Barbel and I achieved that quite easily. Unfortunately, because of the prevailing weather and river conditions, we could not fish for the barbel in the rivers as originally planned but I thoroughly enjoyed catching them in the various stillwaters in the area. They were all in wonderful condition, beautifully marked and they all fought like tigers. Great sport.

The carp fishing was excellent too. It was good to be able to catch all the target species using different fishing methods and baits and next time I cover over to fish with you I plan to try some different techniques to catch them. Seeing you catch such large fish on light float tackle was a real eye opener. We caught plenty of fish during the week in what was without doubt difficult
weather and water conditions so I can’t wait to come over and fish with you when the fishing is red hot !! Next time it would be great if we could get to target the barbel on the various rivers in your area. That would be ideal from my point of view.Sincere thanks once again John for a great trip. I really enjoyed myself and I will definitely be trying to book to come over and fish with you again, hopefully, in the not too distant future. My batteries are now fully recharged and I am ready for anything that life decides to throw at me.

All the very best, as always, and tight lines wherever you decide to fish,

Paul Bowen

Abergavenny, U.K. Thursday, 8th March 2018.

Portugal freshwater fishing rules

As from November 2017 we have a lot of new laws that will affect our fishing. I have printed off some 40 pages of new law and the following is my best interpretation of these where they affect our normal fishing.

RODS - 2 rods per angler except when carp fishing where 3 rods are allowed .

CLOSED SEASON - there is a closed season for Barbel mid March till mid June.There is no closed season for Carp this allows us to fish all year we just have to put back any Barbel we catch in the closed season.There is a closed season for Black Bass mid March till mid May only in still water not rivers.

NIGHT FISHING - Big changes here thanks to the Portuguese Carp Society.A number of the larger dams have been designated for night fishing for Carp anglers.The closest to the Algarve is the Roxo dam.The rules for smaller private waters are a little complicated but basically when the owner registers his dam there is a box on the form to tick which allowed night fishing.There are sensible night fishing rules that avoid you upsetting people trying to sleep like not fishing within 250 meters of a house or farm building.

PERMITS - We have to register as anglers in 2018 with the ICNF web site then in 2019 we can get our permit.For tourists they have to go on the ICNF web site and get there permit on line.

FISH WE ARE ASKED TO KILL - Unfortunately here we have big changes , I think its from a EU directive because they are talking about this in Spain as well.

CARP, PIKE, BLACK BASS, CATFISH AND ZANDER are not naturally occurring and they are going to try to eradicate them FROM RIVERS. In ALL waters Pike, Zander and Catfish must not be returned to the water. In rivers ALL Black Bass cannot be returned. In rivers except areas designated for sport fishing ( match fishing) no Carp can be returned.

This week I was joined for a few days by two experienced carp anglers from the UK, Gary Spencer of Premium Carp Fishing and his mate Martin from Holme Fen carp fishery.

This was a short trip targeting our Barbel. I took them to my favourite spot where a river enters a big dam, it took me years exploring in my 4 x 4 to find this spot and its producing some good fish Barbel to 13lbs and Carp over 20lbs.

Access is difficult and a 4 x 4 vital, but worth it as its very peaceful and we have never seen another angler there.

If you fancy trying this i can take small groups for around €600 each per week it was 20c this week in the sun not bad for December.

Gary is coming back in January for another go and I have others over in February so I will do a short report of what we catch, we had one fantastic day there last year with over 50 Barbel to over 9lbs.


Sea fishing

This years fishing have been interesting and varied, red and golden snappers have been around all year, these we target whilst drifting for sharks. Sharks have been around most of the year and bigger than last year, but not as many, 5 or 6 on a good day, some very big Makos taken.

Highlight of the season for me was the arrival of big groups of giant Bluefin Tuna in June and July some over 1,000lbs my mate hooked one at 12am and lost it at 8.30pm estimated at 900lbs clearly seen at the surface, but the leader was cut off on the trim tab.

The Marlin came early in mid July of Tavira and stayed till 1st week in September when we lost them due to cold north winds.

Good numbers of White Marlin taken with multiple hook ups and a few big Blue Marlin taken.

Bottom fishing has been good fun with lots of different fish taken, we are out most weekends doing this and if you book early can often fit you in with locals fishing with us at a good price.

Freshwater fishing

We have had a very busy season with lots of clients coming to fish with me. Some have been over two times for a week each time. Early booking is vital as we have had to turn many down January and Feb is booked solid for 2018. Carp and Barbel have been our main targets, but a few clients have enjoyed fishing for American Black Bass, for this we fish from my boat on our big private water.

River fishing

After many years of exploring I can now offer these trips and have two places I like. one on the Guadiana river, the other on my secret river and we have good B and B close to the river only, 5 minutes away from this secluded river-please note you cannot target just Barbel as there are Carp (big ones) mixed in with them.,

Big Carp

My mates have had them to near 50lb this season, but i have not had time to fish for them.Please note that camping and night fishing is allowed on the smaller private waters and it will be allowed on designated sections of a few big waters, but we are awaiting details of just where, this is a new rule just come in, Rules for the closed season seem a bit confused with some police saying there is no closed season and others with different ideas, so when i have the new rules I will post them.

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Copyright 2015 John Bate - Development David Batten

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