Marlin fishing in Tavira, East Algarve, Portugal, late August 2013
Sport Fishing on an eight metre boat 'Nauticabanas', out from Cabanas Tavira - Tel: 00351 968 854 450 or 00351 927 194 629

I booked the 6hr Tuna/Marlin trip on the above number on our first morning a Saturday. The individual space at 70 Euros was due to leave a nearby fishing village at 0930am the following Tuesday.

After a 730am breakfast, a short walk to the bus station, a 15 minute bus ride to Cabanas, I got to the pickup point nearly an hour early! I waited comfortably with the daily paper. At 850am the helmsman (skippers cousin) slipped the 8 meter boat 'Nauticabanas' from her mooring just off the pier and shot off into the distance. I guessed back to Tavira Town fuel dock, just 150 meters from my Hotel! I was proved right but we also learnt that the queue for fuel included priority ferries, so the wait between seeing my boat and boarding her was two hours in total! This is Portugal. We had all day and I didn't mind. My fellow anglers, a posh 80 year old White Rhodesian (now Zimbabwe) gent, living eight years local and three very excited French guys didn't seem to mind either. During the wait, Pedro our skipper, got another boat and used that to ferry us all back to the fuel dock to save some time. I helmed all the way, so I even enjoyed that. Pedro's English is fantastic.

All aboard the larger boat we set off, leaving our small twin out-boarded 'mini ferry' boat near to the mouth of the river (Ria de Formosa). Leaving the river entrance guarded by two lighthouses we headed South to 55m depth and about six miles from Tavira. We started trolling just past the JAPANESE SPONSORED but Portuguese run Tuna nets and boats being tightened around a Tuna shoal. After a troll time of about thirty minutes a small Marlin played around one lure then left it. This was soon followed by a run on another rod which appeared to be hooked up proper while another huge Marlin hit and played around the closest teaser. Another Marlin about three meters long jumped behind the last lure and another was hitting a lure on the starboard side! That was four Marlin all seen at exactly the same time. We were right on the fish however after another four hours of trolling we never hooked one proper. We saw another four Marlin chasing our closest teaser and lure and hitting it but not getting hooked up. These were all big fish too. The plan was to take turns winding in the big fish, I think, to kill and land at least one fish for the skippers restaurant but it never happened. We did see some huge Dolphins at one point and caught up with them as they played under our bow, it was truly awesome.


Pedro and his cousin worked hard but we never landed a fish. The boat ran well and it was a good day and I would say, value for money. I will go with them again, although I am not sure they were licensed but I could be wrong. On the way back Pedro and I transferred into the second boat to take me back to Tavira and sure enough we ran out of fuel! A short tow got us to the fuel dock right by my Hotel. Before I got away Pedro helped a friend with a jammed fuel cap. The winch handle wouldn't release the cap so Pedro used his foot, snapped the winch handle which few over the side, and left the end jammed tight in the cap. That was time for me to head off and tell him all his bad luck was now used up.

If you get panicky on the sea when things go wrong this trip is not for you but if you like messing in boats, on a nice day, then it was fantastic. Pedro put us on the fish straight off, big Marlin too. Faro is only a 2.5 hour flight away and the fish are only a few miles offshore between mid August and mid October, truly awesome fish too!