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Wistful ruins, crystal waters, and endless beaches…You can see why Cyprus is the legendary home of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love. And whatever your feelings about bait and tackle, there’s a lot to like about fishing in Cyprus, too.
That’s partly because there are two entirely different sides to the local fishery. Believe it or not, this hot, arid, eastern Mediterranean island is more than just a sea fishing destination. It’s also a mecca for freshwater fishing! That means all sorts of anglers will find something to love here. Come take a look.
Cyprus Fish Species
The most common fish to catch in Cyprus depends on where – and when – you want to cast your line. Tuna, Snappers, and Groupers swim offshore, while unusually big Largemouth Bass and Carp thrive on the other side of the scenic harbor walls. We’ll walk you through the top target fish on the open seas and inland so you can plan your trip accordingly.
Common Sea Fish in Cyprus
We understand if you’re dubious about sea fishing in the Mediterranean. Generations of overfishing, harmful techniques, and warming sea temperatures have put a lot of pressure on this busy – and relatively small – waterway. But don’t let that put you off. You still have a very good chance of finding the following species.
Summer in Cyprus is all about one thing. No, not the beaches! It’s the Tuna. From mid-June, large schools of Albacore swim just a few miles off Cyprus’s coastline. These mid-sized Tuna are easy to identify because of their big eyes and unusually long dorsal fins. They’re great to eat and fun to catch. And, because they swim in schools, you often end up reeling in more than one at a time.
The Tuna fishing season in Cyprus peaks in July and usually quietens down by mid-August, so time your trip carefully if you’re set on this tasty target.
If you still want to go deep sea fishing but plan to avoid the summer holiday rush, all is not lost. Skipjack Tuna tend to arrive shortly after the last Albacore leave, with the main season running from August to November. These fish are smaller than Albacores, but are still fun to catch and good to eat. You probably have some in your cupboard right now – these are the fish that are commonly sold in cans!
Small but tasty Bullet Tuna and Bonitos are other potential catches outside of the main Tuna season.
Swap trolling for bottom fishing, and your odds of catching fresh fish for dinner get even better. Various species of Porgy live their entire lives in the waters around Cyprus, meaning there’s always the possibility of a good meal.
Common Pandora is one of the most impressive. These pinkish fish grow relatively large and are famous for their delicate flavor. They look very similar to Red Porgies, which are just as tasty and are also common Cyprus catches.
Various types of Seabream share similar habitats and biology with Pandoras and Red Porgies. The Gilt-head Bream is the best-tasting and is very enjoyable to catch on light tackle.
While we’re on the topic of table fish, the Mediterranean’s ultimate delicacy also lives around Cyprus. Dusky Grouper can grow very large – up to 1.2 meters (4 feet) long – although you’re more likely to find one about half this size. And oh my, do they taste good.
Dusky Grouper are solitary bottom fish that live around rocks at the bottom of the sea bed. They all start their lives as females and then change gender at about the age of 12. This makes them very vulnerable to overfishing, as the more small fish disappear from the sea, the lower the chance of females finding a male to mate with and reproduce. Don’t take any more than you need and make sure to savor the taste!
Trolling around Cyprus from September to November will give you a good chance of catching Mahi Mahi. These beautiful golden-green fish put up a serious fight and taste phenomenal fresh. Jigging around bottom structure can find you decent-sized Amberjack, while bottom fishing can also raise various Wrasse and Triggerfish species. Squid, Octopus, and the occasional Swordfish are all possibilities, too.
Catches in this part of the Mediterranean are getting more exotic every year – but this isn’t necessarily a good thing. The widening of the Suez Canal, coupled with rising sea temperatures, has introduced a variety of newcomers to Cyprus’s waters. Pufferfish is one of the most common, while Lionfish is also carving out its own home in the local reefs. If you catch these species, do your bit to protect the local ecosystem by making sure you take them home.
Freshwater Fish in Cyprus
Cyprus’s history of long, dry summers has utterly transformed the country’s freshwater fishery. But not in the way you’d expect. Deep dams are regularly stocked with freshwater fish from around the world. That means you can enjoy exceptional fishing for Carp, Largemouth Bass, and Trout in this arid, eastern Mediterranean landscape. So, although the only native freshwater fish is the Eel, there’s plenty else to target.
If you’re hooked on Bass fishing, Cyprus is an unlikely choice for a vacation. But it’s time to change that. Ever since Largemouth Bass first arrived here in the early 1970s, the population has grown from strength to strength. Now, dams such as Kalavasos hold unusually fat specimens that just love the amount of prey that’s available in their adopted home.
Cyprus’s history of Carp fishing stretches back to the 1940s, and it’s made quite a name for itself. A small but dedicated community of people put their Carp fishing skills to the test here every year in local coarse fishing championships. Anyone with a fishing license is welcome to join in, with matches taking place from April to December with a break in the summer.
Explore the cooler waters of the Troodos Mountains with a fly rod, and you’ll be in with a chance of catching Rainbow Trout. Otherwise, fish deep in the dams for Channel Catfish or look out for Tilapia, Asp, Pike Perch, and even Siberian Sturgeon. Freshwater fishing in Cyprus is a truly international affair!
How to Go Fishing in Cyprus
Cyprus specializes in stunning views and warm hospitality, and that’s just as true on the water as it is off it. Here’s how to maximize your time here – both on the open sea and inland.
Sea Fishing in Cyprus
You can’t help but notice the amazingly clear, shallow seas around Cyprus’s coastline. While this makes for fantastic swimming, these empty waters are less than ideal for fishing. That’s why sea fishing in Cyprus is best from a boat. Local captains run fishing trips from almost every major port, giving you the chance to catch fish and sample the local culture.
Charter a boat, and you’ll quickly get to the protected, deeper waters that fish love. Most deep sea fishing trips take you up to 10 miles from the coastline, where you can target anything from Tuna and Mahi Mahi to Amberjack and Groupers. These trips offer a unique Cypriot experience, often including some kind of food and drinks – and sometimes even finishing with a cook-up of your catch.
Even though you’ll see locals fishing beaches and harbors across the country with their characteristic long poles, beach fishing in Cyprus rarely results in much of a catch. Dedicated anglers are most likely to get results by fishing from the rocks along the coastline north of Paphos.
Freshwater Fishing in Cyprus
We’ve already talked about the surprising abundance of freshwater fishing here. We’d even go as far as saying that if you’ve packed a rod and you don’t plan to hire a boat, head inland. Dam fishing in Cyprus is a real undiscovered gem of freshwater fishing in Europe.
There are over a hundred dams here, about 20 of which are open to anglers. Most of these are well-stocked and offer fantastic fishing and even better views. Kouris is the largest and, at 250 meters (820 feet) above sea level, is one of the best places to cool down on a hot summer’s day. Achna Reservoir, while smaller, is famous for its large Carp and Catfish.
Meanwhile, Asprokremmos Dam is only 20 minutes away from Paphos and is full of a wide variety of fish, from Carp to Tilapia.
Cyprus Fishing Places
No matter where you’re staying in Cyprus, you’ll probably find somewhere to fish nearby. Most tourist hotspots offer local boat rentals, while decent-sized fishing dams dot the entire island. Here are some of our favorite fishing spots:
- Cape Greko. The eastern tip of Cyprus has access to a wide variety of fish. Just 10 kilometers (6 miles) from Ayia Napa and Protaras, Cape Greko can be a relatively good spot for shore fishing, although you’re always going to have a better chance of catching fish from a boat. Most fishing trips depart from Pernera or Ayia Napa marina.
- Paphos. On the opposite end of the island, Paphos looks out onto some of the country’s most abundant waters. Drive half an hour up the coast to St George’s Harbour, and the fishing gets even better. Amberjack, Pandora, and Groupers live around the local rocky bottoms. Tuna season lasts longer here, too – running from May into August.
- Kyrenia. Most North Cyprus fishing trips depart from Girne Harbour, which has access to a good Tuna and bottom fishery in season.
- Kouris Dam. The high-altitude Kouris Dam is worth a visit even without a fishing rod. The semi-submerged Church of Saint Nicholas paints a picturesque image of times gone by, while the 115,000,000 cubic meters of water hold dozens of different fish species.
Cyprus Fishing Regulations
You need a fishing license to go freshwater fishing in Cyprus and a separate one to fish with a speargun. You also need a license if you’re planning to fish with long lines and traps, or to do any kind of commercial fishing. You can purchase these online from the Forestry Department.
You don’t need a license to go sea fishing, unless you’re planning on going spearfishing or use commercial fishing techniques.
There are several rules around fishing in freshwater dams. For instance, you can only fish these from shore and you must do so during daylight hours. There are also regulations around the number of fish you can keep in saltwater. But fishing with a legitimate operator will ensure you’re on the right side of the law.
It’s Time to Look Beyond Cyprus’s Beautiful Beaches
Ever since ancient times, the seas around Cyprus have generated something special. Aphrodite herself is fabled to have come from the sea. And even though the Mediterranean has changed a lot since her time, Cyprus’s crystal waters are still nourishing locals and tourists alike.
You may need to look a bit harder than you used to, but there are fish here – and they’re good quality, too. So whether you’re heading off on a boat or fishing for treasures inland, bait your hook and get ready to fall in love.
Have you had any luck with a rod and reel in Cyprus? What did you catch? Do you have any recommendations for fishing spots? Share your adventures in the comments below.
Title: Fishing in Cyprus: The Complete Guide
Sourced From: fishingbooker.com/blog/fishing-in-cyprus/
Published Date: Thu, 28 Sep 2023 10:45:12 +0000