Find out all you need to know about Adriatic Sea fishing in Croatia.
The beautiful Croatian coastline with more than a thousand islands is one of the top tourist destinations in the Mediterranean. Its bright blue waters are a jewel that attracts lots of visitors, but they’re not the only ones swimming here. The Adriatic Sea is full of various fish species inviting brave anglers to accept the challenge and try catching their trophy-sized fish.
Most popular fish species in the Adriatic Sea
Over 400 species of fish can be found in the Adriatic sea of the Croatian coastline. Here are the most popular.
The Atlantic Bluefin Tuna is the most sought-after fish in the Adriatic sea and for many good reasons. These monster predators are big, tough, and delicious on the plate. They are elite predators who can grow to more than 2,5 meters in length and weigh over 200 kilograms. The largest specimen ever caught in Croatian waters weighed 340 kilograms and was more than 3 meters long.
Although they already arrive at these waters in spring, you’ll have the best chance to catch the biggest ones in September in October. When one of these bites, be ready to battle it out for multiple hours, exchanging the rod between the fishermen onboard until you emerge victorious over the mighty Tuna.
Mahi Mahi (Dolphinfish)
Much less known than the Tuna but equally as enticing is the Mahi Mahi fish. It’s a fish usually found in warmer tropical waters but has recently been more prevalent north because of global warming. Its body is very colorful, with blue or red dots on a light green body. It also sports a long dorsal fin and a big bony head.
It is a bit smaller here in the Adriatic Sea than in warmer waters, but Mahi Mahi still grows up to 1.5 meters in length and 40 kg in weight. They are predators who feed on smaller fish in the upper layers of the sea. As they migrate closer to the shore, September and November are the best time for catching them.
This cunning fish is a strong predator and an excellent swimmer, making everyone that caught it very proud. This and its delicious white meat makes it one of the most desired fish in the Adriatic.
It grows up to 1 meter in length and 16 of weight and has a long and flattened body on both sides. It got its name from its strong teeth and jaws, which it uses to attack smaller fish, squid and molluscs. The high season of fishing for it is in August and September.
This predator is a less widespread but even more fierce predator than the tuna. It is best known for its upper-jaw extension in the shape of a sword, for which it got the name. It can grow up to 4,5 metres in length and weigh over 600 kilograms. Its excellent sight and fast, agile body make the swordfish a tough challenge worthy of any fisher.
They live in the greater depths of the open sea and travel in small groups that target smaller fish. The high season for swordfish angling is in the last months of the year, from October to December. As their excellent eyesight allows them to hunt in the dark, the best time for catching them is on a moonlit night at the open sea.
Where to go Sea Fishing in Croatia
An experienced fisher has a lot of knowledge that he shares quite openly. But what you will notice is that he rarely mentions specific locations. Only a few chosen can know the secret of where the fish treasuries are.
Still, some areas stand out from the rest. One of them is the archipelago of Cres and Lošinj in the Northern Adriatic. These islands in the Kvarner region are rich in vegetation, and their waters are rich in fish. The same can be said for the waters around the island of Žirje in Dalmatia. The waters around the largest island in the Šibenik archipelago with 29 coves are an excellent place for Adriatic sea fishing.
If you also want to enjoy the scenery while you are waiting for that tuna to bite, you can find some magnificent spots just outside protected areas. One of them is located at the lush island of Mljet, where the pristine nature attracts the likes of the common dentex, white grouper, forkbeard and the red scorpionfish. For a similar experience, check out the archipelago of the Kornati, which is a paradise for any fisher. But don’t forget, fishing inside the national park areas is strictly forbidden.
When to go fishing in the Adriatic?
In general, summer is the high season for Adriatic Sea fishing in Croatia. Most people want to take advantage of the warm weather and combine the fishing pleasures with a vacation on the beach. The months of June, July and August are perfect for that. Just book the accommodation as early as possible, since they quickly become unavailable in this crowded time.
That being said, many anglers’ favourite month is September. There are fewer crowds, while the temperatures are still high. These months after the high season are also the best time to go offshore fishing for Bluefin Tuna, Mahi Mahi and Swordfish.
Are there any rules?
Everyone over the age of 14 needs a permit for fishing in Croatia. They can be easily obtained at any tourist agency with your personal ID or a passport, but the costs vary on the type of your license. You can either buy a recreational license or a sports license, but you must be a member of the Croatian Sport Sea Fishin Association or a similar foreign organization.
There is a special license for catching tuna and swordfish, but you must release the tuna before pulling it on board. There are only 12 captains in Croatia that have the license to catch it and bring it to shore. If you want a chance at that, check out our tuna fishing trips.