Ria de Aveiro smells like fish and calls upon the fishing skills.
The fishing and the Man have an antique history in this place. Before the 10th century, towns like Ovar, Estarreja, Aveiro or Mira faced the ocean directly. After that, six centuries of winds, sea currents and river sediments created a dune line that resulted in the Ria de Aveiro.
Ria de Aveiro is a unique place, because it offers the possibility of a variety of activities. The lagoon waters, with an average depth of one meter and a maximum of four to seven meters, are the habitat of different fish species that represent the livelihoods of many professional fishermen and are the delight of amateur fishermen. Among these species are the gilt-head bream, the flounder, the shad, the sole, the sea bass, the turbot, the catfish and the eel, being the eel one of the most required delicacies in the local restaurants. Also abundant are the cockles and the crabs, which are easy to catch in the low tide, and also numerous seaweed species. This abundance provides to many bird species, that live here or that look for Ria de Aveiro for nourishment, nesting and rest, with an appetizing menu.
There are privileged spots to troll on the banks of the estuary. The molhe de São Jacinto, for instance, is the one with easiest access and therefore it is also the busiest one. It is possible to capture big-size specimens, but to do so it is necessary to throw the bait at distances between 60 and 80 meters. In front of it is the molhe das Vacas, which is only accessible by boat and allows to fish in greater depth, because it is located close to a boat passageway. The so-called molhe dos Reformados is accessible preferably by boat, but because it's a more rocky and deeper area, it's recommended to increase the fishing line's size to around 40 meters.
The Triângulo, which is only accessible by boat, is, according to many, the most challenging fishing place. Because of its rocky sea bottoms and the existence of buried nets, that may hold the fishing lines, close to the river banks, it implies the use of more robust materials and a greater physical and mental resistance. It's the perfect place to fish in quality and not in quantity, since the specimens that are caught usually compensate the patience that was required.
After choosing the location, it's important to know the perfect timing for throwing the hook: due to the low and high tides currents, it is recommended to fish in the first two hours when the tide is rising or lowering.
Arm your fishing gear and get ready for the adventure! In case the fishing wasn't abundant, you can still find consolation on having spent some quiet hours in harmony and peacefulness with Nature.
For those who appreciate onboard fishing, Ria de Aveiro offers a wide range of suitable locations for the several methods of this fishing style. You can either contact one of the many touristic maritime operators that take you from the Ria to the Ocean and guide you through unforgettable fishing and enjoyment experiences, or you can also bring your own boat.
In case you have time, take the chance to visit the Museu Marítimo de Ílhavo and check the exhibition dedicated to Rias' agro-maritime chores, the Faina Maior and the codfish aquarium, among other attractions. Or go to the Jardim do Oudinot at the shopping port and get inside the memorial ship, an old bacalhoeiro (fishing boat for catching codfish), named ‘Santo André’.
The artisanal fishing with its typical bateiras (kind of small boats) making their crops essentially in the intermediary lagoon areas and close to the sandbanks, have a strong presence at Ria de Aveiro. These simple boats, dedicated to harvesting cockles and clams or capturing cuttlefish or flounder, bring permanent liveliness to the lagoon. Also little boats with compartments, that bring delicious basses, are used to fish in the coastal sea of Aveiro's region. Several lagoon ports are home to fishing communities, but the most important ones are located at Torreira and Costa Nova. In these little villages and in the regional cities exist traditional fish markets that are worth to be visited. All this activity revolves around Aveiro's lighthouse, an ex-libris of the region and of the people's connection to the Ria and to the Ocean.