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Shore fishing from Sal - a report by D from Wales

Rods and reels:the best ones to use for the rough conditions

Shakespeare SALT TRVL BEACH 11ft6ins 6-piece Casting Weight 4-8oz matched to a Penn Surfmaster 850 with 2 spools (270m of 20lbs and 200 metres of 40lbs).

Shimano T-Curve HiPower Carbon Deep Jig Overhead 400 5ft6ins 2-piece with a Shakespeare SeaQuest Multiplier 4:1 Gear Ratio Star Drag holding 250metres of 30lb line.

Silstar PowerTip F-802 8ft 2-piece (Australian) Heavy Spinning/Popping Rod (+ 2nd Beach Rod) (V strong and supple) with a Daiwa Opus 6000 holding 290 metres of 20lb line.

Daiwa "Shock" 702MRS 7ft 2-piece Graphite (6-14lb line 0.25-0.75oz lures), Light/Fast Spinning and Baitfish Rod, plus a Daiwa "Shock" 3500-38i reel holding 190 metres of 10lb line.

Best Bait Black mackerel bought from fishermen

Santa Maria Beach

Across the road from the hotels with. plenty of stones to use as will lose a few, but there are loads of Moray Eels and small Captain Fish..

Bait is best obtained from the local fishermen. Black Mackerel is by far the best but D did not know this as he spoke no Portuguese, and the locals were not letting on.

If you want to get your own there are plenty of baitfish under the jetty. At dawn/dusk you can get them easily on unbaited Sabikis. When light the same Sabikis can be baited with tiny pieces of tuna left on the jetty and when the locals are cleaning their tuna on the jetty the baitfish will take anything underneath!

It look like sandy foreshore. Just under the first few metres is some very rough ground, which extends just about all the way out. The rod really has to be held, because if you don't feel the moray (or other fish) take the bait, it will be in the rough stuff in a hole somewhere before you know it. But if you feel the bite and be aggressive, you can wrestle most of them out. If it goes to ground and feels stuck just lay the rod up for a while first before breaking it off and if the line goes really slack after a while he's out again and start again.

North Coast a rough and dangerous spot

Anywhere North of a line from Palmeira through Espargos to Pedra de Lume is a drop-off into at least 30-40 metres. Although the wind is from the NE (and strong), the swell can comes from anywhere in the North quadrant, so many of the rock platforms on the West side which you think might be sheltered are very dangerous indeed as a quiet spot can become awash in no time at all.

And the North and NE Coasts are really wild in the rough seas.

A local guy had been washed off the rocks about 10 days before I arrived...never to be seen again, so be VERY careful. But if the wind hasn't been blowing for a few days the Northern shores are very productive for sharks. Buracona on the NW coast looks lovely at any time and is a nice place to swim in the top pool...

Santa Maria Beach West

The best locally known spot for surfcasting. Basically straight off the beach halfway between the lighthouse at Ponta do Sino and the Riu. Easiest way is by Beach Buggy if you can afford it. Otherwise a 30 minute hike West from the Jetty with all your gear (gets you fit anyway!). Out along the promenade from the jetty, then straight on over the sand flats (not really dunes) leaving the lighthouse to your left. When you reach the beach you need just a bit of sand between you and Monte Leone in the distance to be in the right spot.

Under a balloon the wind is right behind so a whole mackerel can be floated out and I had 3 BIG runs from sharks in no time at all. My gear was really not big enough but I got one back to the first breaker line and it was at least a 7 footer, probably a Bull Shark it looked like before I got snapped off.

Each day more and more stuff was being brought in to the Jetty by the locals. Lots of big yellowfin tuna and wahoo were regulars...

The whole South of Murdeira Bay is really rough ground with some wild seas but slightly further along the track to the South at Calheta Funda itself there's a little bay about 50 metres across with a reef across the entrance. Plenty of Morays (again) and Captain Fish close to the beach...

Monte Leao

At the North end of Murdeira Bay...take the turn off the main N-S Rd into Murdeira and follow the wall North along the Coast Rd, it becomes a rough track (as usual) and as you get closer to Monte Leao, the rough foreshore becomes sandier and right in the top corner is a good sandy bottom. Also a very secluded spot for a safe swim.

A few goatfish and flounders to be had, but gets a bit shallow at low tide. Although the tidal range is only about 2 foot at Neaps and 3 to 4 feet at Springs. Can wade out a long way here if you wish!

It looks benign around the point but again be wary of big swells from nowhere if you venture out to the rock platform on the outside. Plenty of small snappers, triggerfish and bait-stealers generally.


The Coast track North towards Buracona (the wild natural swimming pool), you head for the port at Palmeira and about 100 metres from the gates before the yellow Customs building take a right turn. After about 150 metres the road forks and take a left between the walled container terminal on your left and the fenced desalination plant on your right. Follow this track for about 400 metres and you are at the coast and on the track North.

Just as you reach the coast and turn right to head North there is a rock shelf right ahead of you that is a good spot. It's a deep drop-off into 30 - 40 metres of water and is a good spot for triggerfish, parrotfish, grunts and morays. I tried ballooning some livebait and also various lures and poppers to no avail, but I am sure this would be a really good spot for some big fish when the water is a little warmer again later in the year.

The swell as I mentioned comes from the NE, so the far W and NW of the shelf is a bit hairy. On the SW extremity there is a slightly higher spot at the waters edge where any rogue swell washes over the platform left and right of you. Again, caution required.


The track North for about 8km brings you to Buracona...too wild to fish in my opinion because it funnels the swells. There is no track North from Buracona but a track leads directly East and after 4km splits; N to the wild N Coast, S back to Espargos and NW leaving the highest volcanic peak on Sal (Monte Grande 406m) to your right and heading for the furthest NE point Reguinho Fiura. It is reported to be a good fishing spot when the wind hasn't been blowing strongly for a few days, but is extremely dangerous when it has. It had been so I didn't bother taking that route.

Pedra de Lume

Later in the trip I bumped into 4 Portuguese spearfishermen I had met before on Sao Vicente and they told me there were some good spots about 3 miles off Pedra de Lume for groupers and big GTs/Jacks in about 30 metres of water. They had hired one of the local fishermens boats for €50 for a haklf day.

The East Coast South of Pedra de Lume has no tracks worth talking about. From the main N-S Rd to Santa Maria just north of Ponta Preta there is a track east to Point 7; The kite surfers beach at Costa da Fragata. This can also be reached on a track along the coast from the East end of Santa Maria by the Windsurfing Club. A bit too wild for my liking.