Coastal fishing in the Azores usually takes place close to the scenic coastlines of the Islands. Depths fall off quickly and bottoms (often rugged and steep) are composed mostly of rock areas surrounded by sand or shell bottoms. The diverse bottom structures are swept by oceanic currents creating nutrient rich upwellings that support a variety of both demersal and pelagic species. The following listing includes just some of the species that can be caught whilst coastal sport fishing in the Azores.

Coastal Species (0 -100 m)

Barracuda occur throughout the year and are most abundant from May to September. They can reach a maximum size of 130 cm / 8 kg and may be caught by trolling, jigging or popping. Barracuda are most active during twilight hours.

Bluefish are most abundant in the Azores between June and October. They reach a maximum size of 130 cm / 14 kg and are caught by trolling, live-baiting and popping. A number world records including the All Tackle World Record for bluefish have been set in the Azores.

Eel - moray are found in the Azores throughout the year and may reach a maximum length of 150 cm. They are always caught whilst bottom fishing over rocky ground. Moray eels frequently pull gear into crevices and caves leading to chaffed and broken lines. They are also difficult and dangerous to handle.

Eel - conger occur throughout the year and may reach a maximum size of 300 cm / 110 kg. They are always caught whilst bottom fishing over rocky ground.
(species subject to min. size restriction of 130 cm / 5 kg)

Forkbeard may be found throughout the year and may reach a maximum length of 65 cm / 4 kg. They are usually caught whilst bottom fishing over rocky ground in all depths. They are most active and more easily caught by night in shallow waters.

Grouper - blacktail comber are abundant throughout the year in the year and are relatively easy to catch. They reach a maximum size of 43 cm / 2 kg and are excellent eating. They may caught by bottom fishing, jigging and jigging with mackerel feathers or sabiki rigs.

Grouper - dusky grouper occur throughout the year, may reach a maximum size of 150 cm / 60 kg and are usually found in depths of 20-75 m. Dusky groupers are a valued commodity for Eco-tourism and any fish caught in shallow water should be released.

Jack - Almaco jack
are most abundant during May to October and reach a maximum size of 120 cm / 35 kg. They may be caught by trolling, jigging, popping. Jigging at 50-100 m over rocky drop-offs is most effective.

Jack - amberjack may be found throughout the year, but are most abundant during the summer months and reach a maximum size of 190 cm / 80 kg. They may be caught by jigging, popping and live-baiting. Surface popping and jigging to 70-plus m is most effective.

Jack - guelly may be found throughout the year, but are most abundant during the summer months and reach a maximum size of 90 cm / 15 kg. They may be caught by bottom fishing, live-baiting, jigging and chunking. Fishing during twilight hours is particularly effective.

Mackerel - Atlantic chub occur in the Azores throughout the year and may reach a maximum size of 65 cm / 2.9 kg. They may caught by bottom fishing, but mostly by jigging with mackerel feathers or sabiki rigs.
(species subject to min. catch size restriction of 20 cm)

Mackerel - blue jack occur in the Azores throughout the year and are an important bait fish for many other species. Larger specimens usually stay in deep water and may be caught by bottom fishing and by jigging with mackerel feathers or sabiki rigs.

Scorpionfish - largescaled are found in the Azores throughout the year and may reach a maximum length of 55 cm / 3.4 kg. They are always caught whilst bottom fishing over rocky ground. Scorpionfish have venomous spines and must be handled with care.

Seabream - common are found in the Azores throughout the year and may reach a maximum length of 90 cm / 7 kg. They are usually caught whilst bottom fishing and occasionally by jigging over rocky bottoms at depths of 70-plus m.
(species subject to min. catch size restriction of 20 cm)

Seabream - white are abundant throughout the year and may reach a maximum length of 45 cm / 2 kg. They are usually caught by float fishing from the coast or from boats by bottom fishing in shallow water over or close to rocky areas. Float fishing in the white water of breaking waves on the coast can particularly effective. However, shore fishing when there are large swells can be dangerous and requires local knowledge.
(species subject to min. catch size restriction of 15 cm)

Ray - thornback occur in the Azores throughout the year and may reach a size of 90 cm / 5 kg. They are usually caught whilst bottom fishing over sand bottoms and mostly at depths of 70-100 m.

Mullet - thicklip grey may be found in the Azores throughout the year and may reach a maximum size of 75 cm / 6 kg. They are usually caught from the shore and fishing can be spectacular during the winter months, notably in January and February. Shore fishing when there are large swells can be dangerous and requires local knowledge.

Trigger fish may occur throughout the year, but are most abundant during the summer months and reach a maximum size of 60 cm / 6 kg. They are usually caught by bottom fishing, sometimes by jigging and will often surround a boat where they can be caught at the surface. They are also easily caught from the shore during the summer months and are excellent eating.

Tuna - Atlantic bonito occur in the Azores from March to October. They can reach a maximum size of 90 cm / 11 kg and may be caught by trolling, jigging or popping. They may be encountered in large schools and their presence is usually accompanied by seabirds.


Coastal species (100-plus m)

Eel - conger
occur in the Azores throughout the year and may reach a maximum size of 300 cm / 110 kg. They are always caught whilst bottom fishing over rocky ground in all depths. (species subject to min. size restriction of 130 cm / 5 kg)

Forkbeard are found in the Azores throughout the year and may reach a maximum length of 65 cm / 4 kg. They are usually caught whilst bottom fishing over rocky ground at depths to 350 m.

Scorpion fish - bluemouth rockfish are found in the Azores throughout the year and may reach a maximum length of 45 cm / 1.5 kg. They are always caught whilst bottom fishing over rocky ground and usually at depths of 300-plus m. Remarkably, bluemouth rockfish have a max. reported age of 43 years. Scorpionfish have venomous spines and should be handled with care. (species subject to min. size restriction of 25 cm / 250 g)

Scorpionfish - offshore rockfish are found in the Azores throughout the year and may reach a maximum length of 45 cm / 2 kg. They are usually caught whilst bottom fishing over rocky ground at depths of 130-plus m. Scorpionfish have venomous spines and should be handled with care.

Seabream - blackspot are found in the Azores throughout the year and may reach a maximum length of 70 cm / 8 kg. They are usually caught whilst bottom fishing and occasionally by jigging over rocky ground at depths of 180-plus m.
(species subject to min. size restriction of 30 cm / 400 g)

Shark - blue shark are abundant in the Azores throughout the year and may reach a size of 400 cm / 200 kg. They are usually caught by drift fishing along coastal areas or around offshore banks using dead bait. Blue sharks are a valued commodity for Eco-tourism in the Azores and “catch-and-release” fishing using wire hooks for fast, easy release is recommended.

Shark - mako are most abundant in the Azores from April to November and may reach a size of 400 cm / 500 kg. They are usually caught by drift fishing along coastal areas or around offshore banks using dead bait or by trolling. Mako sharks are a valued commodity for Eco-tourism in the Azores and “catch-and-release” fishing using specialised hooks for fast, easy release is recommended.

Shark - sixgill are abundant in the Azores throughout the year and may reach a size of 480 cm / 590 kg. They are usually caught by bottom fishing in depths of 100-plus m by night. “Catch-and-release” fishing using specialised hooks for fast, easy release is recommended.

Shark - tope are abundant in the Azores throughout the year and may reach a size of 190 cm / 33 kg. They are usually caught by bottom fishing in depths of 100-plus m and occasionally in shallower water. “Catch-and-release” fishing using specialised hooks for fast, easy release is recommended.

Scabbard fish - silver occur in the Azores throughout the year and may reach a maximum size of 210 cm / 8 kg. They may be caught as a bi-catch when bottom fishing, but also by jigging with mackerel feathers or sabiki rigs and usually in depths of 150-plus m. This fish has an intriguing appearance with striking features and a beautiful chrome-like body.

Squid - veined may occur in the Azores throughout the year, but are most abundant from October to March and reach a maximum size of 100 cm / 9.5 kg. They are usually caught by jigging during the daytime close to the bottom and over rocky drop-offs at depths of 180-270 m. Veined squid are intriguing to catch, remarkably beautiful and very good to eat.

Tuna - skipjack usually occur in the Azores from July to October. This species may reach a maximum size of 100-plus cm / 30 kg. Skipjack may be caught by trolling, jigging or popping. They may be encountered in large schools and their presence is usually accompanied by seabirds.

Wahoo are relatively rare visitor to the Azores that usually occur from July to October and that may reach a maximum size of 250 cm / 80 kg. Skipjack can be caught by trolling, jigging or popping and usually in areas with depths of 100-plus m. They often form loose aggregations around coastal shoals or shallow seamounts.

Wreckfish may be found throughout the year, but are most abundant during the spring and summer months. They may reach a maximum length of 120 cm / 100 kg and are caught whilst bottom fishing over rocky ground and usually at depths of 250-plus m. Wreckfish fight hard at depth then succumb to pressure change becoming easier to bring to the surface with decreasing depth.

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