Cape Verde shark fishing
Written by Craig Owen
It was a special birthday coming up for the wife and she’d decided she’d like to go back to Cape Verde for her birthday. After going to Boa Vista for our honeymoon and catching small sharks on spinning gear, I was more than up for returning, but this time with some heavier gear.
This time we booked to go to the main island of Sal, the hotel was a bit more kid friendly to keep my 10 year old happy.
As soon as we booked I set about choosing what gear to take.
I decided on the Tronixpro Xenon Travel 12’6″ 3-6oz with a Penn Battle II 8000LL LC and a Shakespeare Agility 2 Exp Beach 11ft 6in Travel Rod with a Penn Spinfisher 6500 LL for my boy.
On arrival the country’s motto of “No Stress” really did kick in, so we chilled out for the first few days and did the family stuff along with an island tour. We also did a trip where we got to walk out onto a reef where juvenile Lemon Sharks hang out and swim amongst your feet. I did see some good 2 meter shark about 10m further out!
We were staying in the Dunas resort with Bikini Beach on the shorefront.
I was hoping to get some prawns from the restaurant but didn’t see any when I was there, so had to catch some bait myself. You aren’t allowed to fish inside of the breakwaters but the lifeguards did turn a blind eye if you were right on the end of the inside groin. I took some bread from the restaurant in the morning and went to try my luck for some bait. I fished the bread on a weighted float with size 12 hooks on 10lb fluorocarbon, it wasn’t long before the shoals of Mullet and White seabream were smashing the bread and I soon had a few in my cooler bag.
Landing a good fish on the front of the groin would be very difficult, so we headed onto the beach. It looked very rocky but as I was there I might as well give it a go. Indeed I was right, it was a grave yard! I had a few casts and a few bites which got instantly snagged, I’d guess they were eels, as when I reeled in my tackle I was missing some hooks. I even switched up to pike traces but they didn’t fare any better.
We watched the sun go down then decided to head back to the bar to enjoy some cold beer.
My second trip out I stepped up my end tackle and went for some 6/0 Sakuma 445 Circle Extra and some AFW 49-Strand Stainless Steel Shark wire to see if I could land something tidy! The swell was up a little from my previous session and getting the Bream was a little bit harder due to the waves rolling into Bikini Beach but I managed to get a few.
I decided to head a little further down the beach and set up my rods with half a fillet of Bream. It wasn’t long before the Shakespeare bent in half and the braid was flying off the Spinfisher at an alarming rate! I flicked the live liner off and set the hook. It felt a good fish with some powerful runs back and forth in front of me. After getting it under control I waited for a wave to come before lifting it over the shore reef and onto the sand.
It wasn’t the biggest but fought much bigger than its size. Nevertheless it was a shark from the shore. I baited back up in hope of another.
I was fishing today with a friend I’d met out there, Martin. It wasn’t long before the rod tip started moving, this time a gentle bite. As I’d already had a shark I let Martin have this one so I let it develop and hit into it! I could see this wasn’t a shark but something was definitely pulling back and didn’t want to come in.
Soon there was an eel on the beach of about 3lb! I tried to take a picture but the thing just wouldn’t stay still!
With Eels (especially the Morey type) not being my (or Martins) favourite things, the long nose pliers came out. I went to remove the hook when it coiled back up itself and regurgitated a whole fish! What a sight that was! I think Martin may still be having nightmares!
With the hook removed it slithered down the beach and out of sight! We cast out again and when chatting decided to book the shark tournament with cvfishingholidays.com.
I had already spoken with Jacopo on Facebook and he seemed to really know his stuff!
We were picked up from the hotel at 6pm and drove about 10 minutes to the beach mark. On arrival the Shimano rods and reels were already set up and ready for us to fish, with hooks baited with Herring and Mackerel combos. Martin and I brought our boys so I went one end, Martin the other, with the boys in the middle.
There were a few others on the beach with us and it wasn’t long before the sharks started to show.
It wasn’t long before my rod bent over and line screamed from my reel.
I grabbed the rod and set the hook and could tell it was a better shark than my previous. Fighting these warm water fish is very different to fishing back in the UK. They really do put up a fight!
Martin’s rod was the next to go and he was dying to catch a shark!
But no such luck this time. He landed this fish which I believe is called a Cobina or also known as a Grunt.
Next up my boy’s rod pings straight, slack line! So I grab it and take up the slack until I feel the weight of the fish. I feel him pull so set the hook.
With a bit of help he managed to get this one in.
There were a couple more Cobina caught plus some more Black Tips and a Dusky.
To top the night off my boy’s rod buckles over, like nothing I had seen that evening. I set the hook and instantly knew this was the biggest of the night. I handed Ifan the rod and tried to help him!
But this fish was too big for him and he was soon complaining so I happily took over!
This was a battle, with runs back and forth for a good ten minutes until I got him to the surf!
The swell by this time had picked up to an 8 foot shore break, there was a lot of toing and froing as I reeled in with the incoming wave, then as it dropped back the fish stripped all the line I had regained! This went on for several waves with a few attempts by Jacopo to grab it out of the surf until finally he managed to get him.
And there it was, a cracking Black Tip Reef shark at 114cm, I’d estimate not far from the 30lb mark.
All the sharks were handled carefully and returned safely by Jacopo and his crew. They worked really hard to get us on the fish, fresh baits every 20 minutes, chumming the water and even casting out for you if you were a beginner.
I really can’t rate the guys enough and can’t wait to go back out there and try another trip with him.
See you soon Cabo Verde! No Stress!!!