The Cape Verde islands are known for the so-called ‘big-game’ fishing. This is fishing for the larger fish in the ocean such as tuna, swordfish and marlin. Cape Verde is the best place in the world to fish for the Atlantic blue marlin. Around Cape Verde specimens have been captured of more than 500 kilograms! You may understand that big-game fishing requires much from man and material.
Because of the good location of the Cape Verdean archipelago there is a large variety and quantity of fish. Below are given a number of large predatory fish species and other common fish that can be found around the Cape Verde islands. The Latin name of the species is listed in parentheses.
Blue marlin (Makaira nigricans)
Worldwide most of these ray finned fish are swimming in the ocean at Cape Verde. The blue marlin is family of the sailfish, and grows to a length of up to 4.5 meters. This predator can reach a speed of about 90 kilometers per hour, making it one of the fastest fish in the world.
Wahoo (Acanthocybium solandri)
One of the largest populations of wahoo fish are found in the sea near Cape Verde. The wahoo is a ray-finned fish from the family of the mackerel that can reach a length of 2.5 meters.
Sailfish (Istiophorus albicans)
Tou can recognize the sailfish, which can be up to 3.5 meters long, by a large dorsal fin. The fish can reach a maximum speed of 55 kilometers per hour and has like the blue marlin a spear-like beak.
Dorade (Sparus aurata)
The dorade is also known as sea bream and it is a fish that is served in many restaurants in Cape Verde. The dorade live in large numbers around the Cape Verde islands.
Yellowfin (Thunnus albacares)
The yellow fin tuna is part of the family of the mackerel. These tuna reaches a length of about two meters and is known for the great speed with which it can swim. This can be up to 70 kilometers per hour. It is named after the yellow color of its fin.
Horse mackerel (Caranx hippos)
This fish also comes from the family of the mackerels and is about one meter tall and weighing up to 40 kilograms.
Big amberjack (Seriola dumerili)
This fish comes from the family of the horse mackerel and can grow up to a length of two meters and can reach a weight of 70 kilogram.
Tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier) and other sharks
The tiger sharks are swimming in the warmer oceans of this planet. Far off the coast of Cape Verde you can spot these giant sharks. They hunt mainly at night and they can reach a length of 5.5 meters. It is more likely to catch a nurse shark (Ginglymostoma cirratum), hammerhead shark (Sphyrna lewini), lemon shark or even a large ray. These latter are usually harmless (!) for humans.
World hotspot of the blue marlin
Nowhere in the world the impressive blue marlin is found in such large numbers as in Cape Verde. It is therefore an excellent country to see a blue marlin or perhaps to fish. The biggest catch of a blue marlin that has been reported is in the name of the duo Silleman and Niebuhr. In September 2006, in the waters around the island of Sao Vicente, the fishermen caught a blue marlin weighing as much as 563 kilograms. It is not remarkable that Cape Verde is a popular spot for anglers competing for the World Cup.
Best time to fish?
You can fish all year round in Cape Verde. For a number of common fish the best time to fish those species is indicated below.
- Blue marlin: present throughout the year but the best season is between the months of April and July. March and August are also fine;
- Sailfish: The best conditions are between the months of June and August. In September, there are also good opportunities;
- Wahoo: All year you can fish the wahoo. The best conditions are between the months of December and May;
- Yellowfin tuna: In the months of March, April, June and October, conditions are perfect for the tuna. November and December also offer opportunities for a catch;
- Dorade: July and August are the best months, but in June and September it is also still likely to catch a dorado.
Islands for fishing
Fishing can be done from all Cape Verde islands. Especially the islands of Sao Nicolau, Sao Vicente, Santo Antao and Maio are preferred for big-game fishing. The sea channel between Sao Vicente and Santo Antao is internationally known for its attraction to the blue marlin. This also applies to the sea near the island of Sal, where you can frequently find blue marlin. On the islands there are plenty of organizations where you can rent a boat and a guide. It is no problem to arrange a day trip. Due to the closeness between the islands by plane or ferry is holidays combine well with other activities than just fish.
Popular fishing methods
Drifting and bottom fishing are the methods which are mainly used by local fishermen. In addition, the fishing methods ‘trolling’ and ‘vertical jigging’ are very popular among big-game fishermen in Cape Verde. Trolling is hauling with lighter material. There way, be captured for example, wahoo, barracuda (sphyraena barracuda) and dolphinfish (Coryphaena hippurus) are captured. Because the surface of the ocean is formed by lava, the vertical jigging fishing method also gives good results. Predatory fish such as the yellow tail fish, black jack (caranx lugubris) and butterfish (Ruvettus pretiosus) can be caught this way. Finally, traditional fishing from the beach fishing with a fishing rod is also possible on all islands.
A sufficiently large population and diversity of fish in the ocean is crucial to preserve our nature. The beauty in the oceans should not be lost. The disruption of biodiversity should be limited at all times. We recommend that you only just fish under the guidance of professional organizations that operate according to the rules, which could be part of the universal rules of the International Game Fish Association. In short, have respect and do not harm the environment.