From inland to ocean and back

Vom Inland zum Ozean und zurück | Hammer Tackle

The dream spot

Bianca and I spent a week in a wonderful place far away from any civilization. We were standing directly on a large headland of a several hundred hectare reservoir in the Algarve of Portugal. The headland was surrounded by dead trees, which were visible in large numbers due to the low water level. A real dream spot for every carp angler. As soon as we arrived at this place, I wanted to see what it looked like underwater. So I got my boat ready with an echo sounder and rowed shirtless onto the lake in the wonderful sunshine. It was mid-November and the water was still 19 degrees. So I could safely refrain from using a “winter tactic” as is usually the case at this time of year. I tended to lay my rods shallower at depths between 1 and a maximum of 8 meters of water. However, when I was looking for a job, the flatter bank areas seemed to be the better choice. I kept seeing shadows of smaller fish scurrying away from under my boat, which I startled with my slow strokes of the oar.

The bitter realization

Taking off was more difficult than I expected due to the many trees. The entire fishable area was full of trees - an underwater forest with trees some 10 meters high and depths of over 20 meters. Getting bites was one thing, but landing the fish safely was quite another.

After a lot of rowing back and forth, I placed my three rods on the first evening, but kept changing them over the next few days. On the first night I lost a fish in a tree on a subfloat rod. During the day, a rod right on the bank in front of a row of trees kept producing bites, from which I was able to land all the fish. Due to the obstacles, I only fished there during the day, as this was the only way I could ensure I landed the fish. Based on my experience on the two lakes I fished previously, it didn't really surprise me that the fish were either barbel or extremely small scale carp. Although I had hoped to come across somewhat larger fish on this lake due to its size and geographical location, unfortunately I didn't manage to do so there either. The population of small carp and barbel just seemed to be too high, so catching a better carp there would probably be an annual project. After repeated research, I came to the bitter realization that carp fishing in Portugal is much more difficult than I thought. There are said to be very large barbels in some regions and waters. So maybe I'll just specialize better during my time here in Portugal.

Despite the lack of any big carp, we had an incredibly relaxing time on our headland. In a week we didn't see a soul apart from one car. Inland Portugal, away from paved roads and coastal towns, you can find incredible peace, as we are finding out again and again.

Between inland and ocean

After a week of social distancing, it was time to go shopping and breathe in the sea air. We had now reached the south and were able to convince ourselves over and over again that the Portuguese were fed up with campers and mobile homes. The parking spaces were rigorously closed, especially on the stretches of coast that are also interesting for surfers. In contrast to the previously visited west coast, it was much more difficult to find a safe place by the sea in the southern region. We heard more and more often about police checks, heavy fines and vandalism from locals. It was not uncommon for us to feel unwelcome and insecure when searching for a suitable place to sleep.

One reason why we always go to the less busy inland of the Algarve. The situation there seems to be much more relaxed. So we now commute between the very beautiful inland countryside and the coastal towns around Lagos and Faro. With the current knowledge that the Portuguese government has now published an official law against parking for campers in most car parks, we will be drawn even further inland in the near future. With the small glimmer of hope that we might still come across a body of water where the average size of the fish is a little higher.

So it remains exciting...

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