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Picturesque ruins, sandy beaches, and a fiercely welcoming local culture… Greece’s largest island has it all. Europe’s first civilization thrived here, leaving its mark across the island and across modern culture. This success is largely thanks to its surrounding seas.
As well as relying on the Mediterranean for trade and communications, people have been fishing in Crete for millennia. So grab a rod – it’s time to take part in one of Europe’s most ancient traditions yourself.
Crete Fish Species
Crete’s position at the southern reaches of the Aegean Sea makes it a potential stopping point for any fish that’s migrating through the Mediterranean. So although fish stocks have decreased noticeably over the last few decades, there’s always the possibility of a catch.
Some pelagic fish like Tuna and Mahi Mahi stop by every year, while a variety of small Groupers, Porgies, and Wrasses find food and shelter in the local rocks and reefs. Here are some of the most popular catches on and around the island.
Several species of Tuna travel through the Mediterranean, from the giant Bluefin Tuna all the way down to tiny Bonito and Bullet Tuna.
The highlight of Tuna fishing in Crete is when Albacore Tuna school past the island during summer. Although they don’t reach the enormous sizes of their Bluefin cousins, they’re still an impressive catch. With huge eyes and an extra-long dorsal fin, they’re easy to spot. And they promise to put up a fight. The best time to land them here is from June to August.
Catching Albacore is a rare treat, but Bonito are a lot more common. Their season stretches through to September, so prepare your trolling spread – you might be lucky!
Possibly even more exciting to catch than Tuna, Mahi Mahi look beautiful, taste fantastic, and will also test your fishing skills. These stunning golden-colored fish shine through Crete’s crystal clear waters and are very enjoyable fish to catch – if you can find them. Troll a couple of miles from shore in late summer and autumn for the best chance of hooking one.
Fish around Crete’s rocky seafloor, and you might reel in one of the Mediterranean’s favorite food fish. Dusky Groupers top the list of tasty taverna table fare and, if you’re lucky, you might find one for yourself. These solitary fish are getting ever rarer due to overfishing though, so it’s a good idea to bring a descending device so you can release any big breeder fish that you find.
Jigging in deep waters around rocky shorelines can also land you a stunning Goldblotch Grouper. These attractive fish swim fast to find cover once hooked, so work quickly to get them up to the boat!
It’s quite rare to find large fish around Crete, but the island’s waters hold a surprising variety of smaller reef fish. Common Pandora, Red Mullet, Red Porgy, and Sea Bream are all quite common, and they taste great cooked up fresh in the local taverna. Small Barracuda and Bluefish are quick to attack lures and bait nearshore, while you might be lucky and land a larger Amberjack in deeper waters.
Crete is gradually becoming home to a collection of invasive visitors from the Red Sea. The highly poisonous Silver Cheeked Toadfish is a fairly common catch nowadays, as is the impressive – but destructive – Lionfish. There are also some Mediterranean natives that you should always treat with respect. Weaver Fish and Scorpionfish can both cause painful injuries if you handle them.
How to Go Fishing in Crete
Contrary to common belief, it clearly is possible to find fish around Crete. But how you do so depends on how much time you have and your own gear and experience. Your options really come down to hiring a boat to fish the deeper waters or catching smaller creatures on light tackle from the shoreline.
Crete Fishing Trips
Our favorite way to explore any destination is from the water, and Crete is no exception. Pairing up with a local guide and a fishing boat will show you a side of Crete that you’d never experience from the shore. Crete fishing trips usually combine fishing with sightseeing, swimming, and even snorkeling. You won’t need to bring your own fishing gear and your guide will usually provide some snacks and drinks, too.
Although most fishing tours result in a variety of small bottom fish, it is possible to take a longer deep sea fishing trip, too. Trolling or jigging in deeper waters are your best option if you’re looking for larger fish to test your skills or take to the taverna at the end of the day.
Fishing in Crete from Shore
Pack your own fishing rod, and you can happily while away a few hours casting lures and small pieces of bread off Crete’s rocks and harbors. Your catches won’t be as impressive as what you’ll find from a boat, but don’t let that put you off. The sheer variety here makes Crete an enjoyable destination for light rock fishing.
There are even several tackle shops on the island that will help build up your arsenal of gear. Georgioupoli and Chania Harbour are good places to start your tally of different Crete fish species.
It’s hard to resist jumping into Crete’s crystal clear waters. And doing so with a speargun will show you an entirely new side to Crete’s colorful fishery! Several operators run spearfishing trips on the island, giving you the chance to hunt your dinner by hand.
It’s against the law to spearfish with scuba gear in Greece, and you can’t spearfish in the month of May while the Groupers are spawning. But go with a guide, and they’ll make sure that you’re fishing safely and according to the law.
Crete Fishing Spots
Most people who visit Crete spend their time on the north coast of the island, looking out onto the idyllic Sea of Crete and the Aegean. This is also where most fishing trips start. So while the seductive, underdeveloped south coast borders the deeper waters of the Libyan Sea, our top fishing spots focus on the popular northern shores. They include:
- Chania. This picturesque Venetian town is the perfect starting point for a fishing tour of northern Crete. From here, you can sail round the Rodopou Peninsula to Gramvousa, one of the most beautiful spots on the entire island. The area is famous for its uninhabited islands and the idyllic lagoon, but it’s also a fun fishing spot. Take a longer trip, and you’ll reach Antikythera Island, a good spot for larger Groupers. Shore fishers will find good fishing in Chania itself, off the rocks near the town’s small harbor, or at the deep Kissamos Port, which can hold Grouper.
- Georgioupoli. Famous for its beaches, Georgioupoli is also one of the best places to fish in Crete. Three separate rivers reach the sea here – the largest of which, Almiros, empties into a picturesque harbor. This influx of freshwater attracts a wide variety of species, from Wrasses to Bluefish. The island’s only freshwater lake, Kournas, is just a 10-minute drive away. While it’s not common to fish here, it does hold a large Goldfish population.
- The Gulf of Heraklion. There’s surprisingly good fishing around Crete’s capital, especially if you take the trip along the coastline to Pantanassa. Trolling first thing in the morning or just as the sun is setting can find you pelagics like Mahi Mahi or Bonito. Otherwise, you can bottom fish for Red Porgy, Grouper, and Common Pandora. Further up the coastline, Agia Pelagia is a lovely fishing village that has some good shore fishing opportunities, while the rocks around the uninhabited Dia island are the perfect hiding ground for greedy bottom fish.
- Mirabello Bay. There’s no better way to explore the scenic blue waters around Agios Nikolaos than in a fishing boat. This charming part of eastern Crete is dotted with small islands. Kalydon, Agii Pantes, and Spinalonga hold a glittering population of reef fish that regularly make their way into the local boats.
Crete Fishing Regulations
You don’t need a license to fish with a normal rod and line in Crete. However, there are certain rules around the types of gear you use. For instance, you can’t go spearfishing with scuba gear. Fish with an accredited guide and you can be sure that you’re fishing according to local regulations and fish limits.
Fishing in Crete: A Unique Perspective on the Island of the Gods
Crete’s sandy beaches and clear blue seas have attracted visitors for decades. And the surrounding waters have been a crucial part of life here for about as long as people have inhabited the island. That’s why anyone who gets the chance to dip a rod with a local in Crete will make memories that go far beyond the simple fish they catch. Fishing in Crete may be less bountiful than it was in days of old, but the cultural perspective it offers up is unforgettable. It’s time to experience it for yourself!
Have you been fishing in Crete? What did you catch? Share your highlights in the comments below!
Title: Fishing in Crete: The Complete Guide
Sourced From: fishingbooker.com/blog/fishing-in-crete/
Published Date: Thu, 05 Oct 2023 11:44:08 +0000