A Guide's Overview of Fishing in Sicily

Captain Andrea Giardina shares with us an overview of the abundant fishing opportunities from Sicily.

If you are going to fish in Europe, the lowest latitude corresponds with Italy and, in particular, the Sicily region. These are the “tropics” of the Mediterranean Sea.

History

Sicily is famous for its unbelievable history. The Greeks, the Romans, the Phoenicians, as well as other various cultures that settled on this island, left a fortune that is still visible in today's culture. Archaeology, food, traditions and the actual cities, just to mention a few, create a long list of things you must see and do in Sicily.

Obviously, the history tells a lot about Sicily and its relationship with fishing. It has been one of the main activities that humans developed with success on this island. Just taking a look at recent history, the “Tonnara” showed up. Tonnara is a long set of nets functioning as a tuna trap and processing base, destined for the commercial fishing of Bluefin Tuna and Swordfish. Entire communities were employed and brand new villages were built around this industry. 

Going back a bit more to the age of the Romans, the Villa Romana del Casale tells an unbelievable story on some of its great mosaics. Four fishing techniques that are still practiced nowadays are pictured below. The list could go on and on ... you'll have to come visit to learn them all!

Nature and Geography

Another important aspect of Sicily is the Nature, which is really particular and unique based on the presence of two kinds of landscapes: volcanoes and limestone.

A large part of Sicily has been formed by volcanoes, especially the fishing spots that usually follow the geology of the emersed land rising out of the ocean. Volcanoes have created deep shore cliffs and very deep drop offs right up to the shore, up to 2000 meters.

The limestone environment, apart from creating breathtaking beaches and coves, gives great conditions for many species that love to live in sandy seabeds with lots of seaweed.

Shore Fishing

Shore fishing in Sicily, thanks to the ability to access unique hotspots and the very wide range of possible prey, is something to consider when planning a trip. Barracuda, Bluefish, Sea Bass, Amberjack, and Blue Runner are present all year round. Winter is perfect for False Albacore, Atlantic Bonito, and other kind of pelagics. In some specific spots, Dentex, big Groupers and even Bluefin Tuna are possible off the rocks.

Shore fishing is a great option when inclement sea conditions do not allow for fishing from the boat, avoiding the loss of fishing days.

Boat Fishing

From a boat, there are so many species that you can expect year-round here. Though for some species, some seasons are obviously better than others.

Bluefin tuna, for example, is a must here. As mentioned before, the Tonnaras were located on the “way of Bluefin tuna”. Coming from the Atlantic ocean, they pass around the perimeter of Sicily twice for their reproduction process. We also have some “resident schools" of Bluefin that bite almost all year.

Bluefin Tuna in Sicily are caught with each of the following techniques: drifting, live bait trolling, popping, and trolling.

Swordfish are another highlight of fishing in Sicily. This is due to Sicily's bathymetric lines, and the reproduction area for swordfish located directly in the Mediterranean channel. The stretch of Messina is another historically well-known piece of sea with the famous “spadara” or “felucca” fishing boats, symbols of an important swordfish fishery. Night fishing and day fishing is possible here, depending on the seasons.

Fishing Techniques

  • Live bait trolling is typical fishing method in the Mediterranean Sea and Sicily in particular. The great Amberjack, Common Dentex, Pink Dentex, Dusky Grouper, and Red Porgy are just some of the predators that cannot resist a juicy squid, correctly trolled.
  • Jigging is another good opportunity for Mediterranean predators in the right season.
  • Deep bottom fishing is very much appreciated by lovers of fresh fish, as all the preys living in the mysterious depth of the Mediterranean, have extremely tasty meats.
  • Offshore surface trolling is practiced to look for the “Mediterranean Marlin” (Mediterranean spearfish), Albacore Tuna, Bluefin Tuna, Dorado, Swordfish, and False Albacore.
  • Last but not least and as explained earlier, shore fishing represents a great opportunity in Sicily.

Cephalopods

  • Giant Squid fishing (Todarodes sagittatus) can be practiced both at night and by day with great results in Sicily. It can result in unexpected strong battles with giants, and their meat is very good too.
  • Calamari fishing, or squid fishing, often practiced to catch the best live baits, consists of an entertaining technique in itself.
  • Barehanded Octopus fishing is our speciality. It is a great opportunity to watch this really spectacular animal fighting to defend its life and its burrow. It takes place in crystal clear waters, using simple snorkeling equipment.

Seasons

In terms of seasons, Sicily offers very good opportunities all year. Though it can be good to know that the Summer months give high catch rates for Bluefin Tuna (May, June, July, August), and jigging gives great results in Winter.

Plan Your Trip

If you're looking for a great fishing trip while being surrounded by history, great food traditions, lots of sights, volcanoes, beautiful beaches, and nature, then there are many solutions in Sicily. If you're looking for remote places with no facilities, that is possible too. Several underwater offshore banks give the opportunity for a fishing cruise with wild fishing.

You can contact and book a trip with Andrea Giardina directly through Sicily Fishing - Captain Andrea on Fisher Guiding.