small swell running and lights winds!
It was great fun just checking out the shallow grounds with a surface lure!
I hadn’t seen any action until I reached the end of the point when a nice sized bass followed my lure over a ledge.
With my heart racing I cast out again to the same area but this time I gave the lure some harder cranks with the rod tip! The bass hit it hard and I could feel it was a decent sized fish. After negotiating it around a few rocks I was happy to be holding the first decent bass of the trip!
Over the next few days the winds turned to south and temperatures soared until many parts of Portugal were in the low to mid 40s.
South easterly winds effects the currents and in a matter of days the water temperature had risen considerably and you could actually see people swimming and not just surfers in there wetsuits!
It was just what I was hoping for knowing the rise in temperatures would bring more bass in close to shore.
Camping had become less comfortable which lead people to go to all sorts of funny measures in order to try and keep their tents cooler.
Im not sure if placing branches on your tent helps but I guess it was worth a try!
The best place to be in this weather, is down on the beach!
So after a few hours of the kids body boarding I headed around to the next cove for a short spinning session.
I had agreed an hour! You have to know when and when not to push it!
I did nearly come unstuck a few times on the trip coming back a little late in the morning, and caution was needed not to risk getting a total ban!
It’s great in Portugal how with just a short walk you can be away from all the crowds of people and find a bit of fishing heaven!
Fishing in such warm temperatures certainly made a welcome change from the cold north wind that often keeps coastal fishing chilly even in the middle of summer!
With no wind, glassy conditions and a small swell I decided to cast out a 30g Enticer to a few likely looking spots as high tide approached.
It wasn’t long before I had a follow from a juvenile bass, who then hit the lure just a few minutes later!As I set off on my family summer holiday to Portugal I knew I would need to plan things very carefully in order to get some good bass fishing in whilst ensuring all the family had a great holiday, and my wife didn’t have the feeling I was turning it into a fishing trip.
Bass fishing in Portugal can really be a hit and miss affair!
If it’s just not happening there’s nothing you can do about it! But when the conditions are right you can certainly be rewarded with some fine catches, and a wonderful coastline to explore!
Last summer was slow with constant heavy north winds effecting currents causing freezing waters, which the locals call mares de gelo.
When the winds get strong it can be almost impossible to even stand up on the rocks!
So when the boys stopped asking on my return ‘did you catch a bass dad’?
I knew things were bad!
Fortunately conditions were more favorable this summer, and it turned out to be not only a fun trip, but very productive fishing.
I took along my Go Pro and was happy to be able to capture some of the catches on film! You can check the footage out on YouTube!
My usual fishing trips are literally fish, eat, sleep repeat! as the saying goes!
With a family holiday it’s a whole different kettle of fish! and I would need to strategically work out the best possibilities based around tides, swell size, my wife’s demeanor, and try to visit some nice spots where I could slip away for the odd spin!
Dawn sessions were the best option! Making sure I was back in time for breakfast!
It also gave my wife a chance for a few well earned extra hours in bed without me waking her!
Bringing back fresh fruit and veg from the market also helped the cause! With the bonus I could always blame being late back on heavy summer queues!
This summer in Portugal was all about a mixture of conditions ranging from big swells bought about by a storm in Northern Europe followed by a mini heat wave where winds turned around from the prevailing north winds to the hot African southern winds which saw temperatures literally rocketing overnight, causing some quite serious forest fires.
The mixture of dry weather and the oily eucalyptus trees can be a lethal combination!
The fire fighters were really up against it with hectares of land being ravaged by the fire. They did a great job and although many people needed to be evacuated, thank God there was no loss of life.
When in the south west of Portugal, during the summer months you can expect on average 5 plus days a week of north wind which effects the currents keeping sea temperatures very icy as any swimmers will tell you!
As always I passed my local tackle shop to pick up a few bits and pieces and ask how the fishing was going?
I left some what disappointed after hearing that the bass were feeding on the masses of pilado crabs (swimming crabs) a few kilometers out to sea, and the shore fishing was very quiet due to the limited supply of food along the coastline.
The recent flat period also could have effected fishing and the coast was in need of a good swell to mix things up again.
I knew this could change overnight so I checked the windguru each day for updates.
During the initial days I was up and out early checking some spots I knew well, to find out what areas were the most productive.
I had mixed results but was pleasantly surprised to pick up the odd bass including a couple of spotted bass they call Robalo baila in Portugal.
Over the next few sessions conditions remained small and I managed to land a few more bass as I checked out some of my favorite marks!
Then a big storm hit in Northern Europe causing a large summer swell mixing things up and making lure fishing impossible for a few days with large amounts of weed everywhere!
I wasn’t too upset not to be able to fish for a few days as I was hoping it would improve conditions.
The west coast of Portugal is full of stunning landscapes, with rugged cliffs and remote coves making it a bass fishermans paradise!
Late one afternoon when the swells were calming down, I left the family to enjoy a coffee enjoying beautiful views overlooking the coastline, and ventured down the cliffs for a few casts.
I tried a spot I had caught a bass a few days earlier before the swell, this time opting for high tide, which meant I would need to find a way to get to a mark I thought could be productive.
There are a variety of locations you can fish depending on conditions, but getting wet certainly enables you to reach a wider range of marks.
Once around the rocks, I set up and it wasn’t long before I was into another bass! again on a surface lure!
As I’m sure most bass fishermen would agree there’s nothing like hooking bass on the top!
It also allows you to fish areas with a mixture of shallow and deeper grounds! This kind of territory is where you will often find bass hunting for bait fish out past the breaking waves, and right up to the shoreline!
Allowing a lure to work between surface and just under the surface with splashes mimicking an injured fish can have a lethal effect when targeting bass.
When the conditions were right with low tides in the late afternoon, I took the family to a Secret beach with the promise of empty white sands which my wife found irresistible.
The long walk down certainly didn’t faze her as she and the boys enjoy hiking, so this turned out to be a nice adventure for them.
‘Do you mind if I take a rod’ I asked ‘just incase it looks good for bass’!
Well my wife loves a good read on the beach so with the boys collecting shells I squeezed myself between some rocks I had passed through many times, to reach the next cove and have a few casts!
The conditions were pretty good, with a
I was happy to have hooked up and continued to send out lures to the same area where the small waves were breaking over some rocks into a shallow pool on the inside providing perfect conditions for a bass to ambush bait fish.
For me the best feeling in bass fishing is when you get a hit in an area you really felt looked like it could hold a fish or two!
So when the lure stopped and the rod bent over, I soon knew I was into a decent sized bass!
It was many years back when I had caught a huge bass of over 19.5lbs in this very same spot!
Although this one was not quite in the same league, I was more than happy especially as big summer bass can be hard to come by!
As soon as I had got him around a couple of dangerous rocks lurking Inches under the surface it was just a case of landing him up against the rocks!
It brought back memories of when I had done the same thing with the big bass only for the hook to spring out of the mouth the instant it was landed.
Fortunately I had managed to scramble down to retrieve it in time! I can remember this like it was yesterday, as during the mayhem the hook had ended up where the sun don’t shine!
In part 2 with the seas already warmed up from the south winds, the fishing was also hotting up with a last few action packed days fishing I manage to land a few more good sized bass to end a memorable summer holiday!