Fishing in North Cyprus

This is a guest post from Joe Aslan. He is only 18 and had spent his life fishing in North Cyprus. The information that he shares is out of this world. We are very grateful to him.

He has the Cyprus record for the biggest Amberjack ever caught by a teenager. This boy is something else…

My name is Joe, that’s me in the picture above. I have been in North Cyprus since I was born, I have been fishing in North Cyprus ever since I can remember. I love fishing and I love anyone else that loves fishing. Spearfishing and any kind of rod fishing from shore or from a boat. The more you read the, the bigger the fish get. No secrets here, Read my page and I’ll tell you everything that you need to know.

First of all there are many ways to go fishing in North Cyprus. The one that needs no permission or licences is simple shore fishing. This is where I will start, but if you are interested in tuna fishing then please refer to this page.

From the shore with a rod and reel or a pole you can expect to catch….

  • Saddled Sea Bream
  • Grey Mullet
  • Spinefoot – Sokan “this will sting you”
  • Barracuda
  • Amberjack
  • Parrot Fish
  • White Bream
  • Leer Fish
  • Garfish “in winter”

The most basic and easiest way to catch fish is with a 4 or 5 meter pole and a small treble hook and some dough. Set the float about 6 feet away from the hook, stick the doe to the hook and cast out at any rocky headland. The ends of the bridges of the Lapta Costal Walkway are ideal and so are the headlands of Sardunya Bay.

You are likely to catch the sokan fish and possibly some smaller white bream. This is a sokan.

There are 2 kinds of sokan, marble sokan and black sokan. They are called rabbit fish in english. They both look very similar to each other although the black sokan is normally a more round shape and darker color. They will both sting the living daylights out of you, not at all deadly but it will definitely wake you up. After a few years it is possible to become mostly immune to the sting but the first time is definitely not fun.

Catch Saddled Sea Bream and Grey Mullet.

Catching saddled sea bream and grey mullet is not too hard, you will need a normal rod and reel with some thin 0.35mm fluorocarbon line and a 0.20mm leader. On the end of the line you will tie a concession of 10 hooks, all 5cm apart “you can buy ready made” then you wrap the hooks around a piece of bread and cast it out in the same places that you would if you wore trying to catch sokan, only cast out about 20 meters.

Eventually saddled sea bream and grey mullet will attempt to eat your bread and become tangled in the hooks. You can catch fish from a tiny size up to about 2kg using this method.

Amberjack and Leer fish.

These are all hunting fish and you will need a shore jig to catch them. You will want something that you would use in UK for pike fishing. You will need to go to the same places again as stated in the 2 methods above and try very fast spinning from the rocky headlands. Your ure needs to be heavy enough to cast a fair distance.

You will need to jig your spinner very fast and very erratically to catch anything, but from the shore using this method it is possible to catch amberjack and leer fish of any size.

Barracuda are a little harder to catch, if you go snorkelling you will likely see hundreds of them but catching them and seeing them are 2 very different things. The most effective way to catch barraacuda is at night with a full moon.

You will need a lure that is about 6 inches long with a treble hook front and back. Cast the lure out on a moon lit night at the the end of any headland. The Barracuda in North Cyprus is a Chevron Barracuda.

Spearfishing and Fishing From a Boat.

Both of these fishing methods require you to get permission and a licence. Spearfishing is virtually impossible for holiday makers as you need to obtain a licence that requires residency. Fishing from a boat can be done legally by taking one of the trips on this page.

Later on in the fishing season.

After the end of August you can start fishing for Longtom Garfish, they are called Zargana in Turkish. To catch Garfish you will need a 3 meter long pole. Attach a large treble hook on the end of a 3 meter line.

Then you will need a spinning rod with an egg popper connected to the end and a 1.2 Meter long leader of 0.40mm fluorocarbon. Also you will need some bread.

Wet the bread up in a bucket and break it into pieces. Stand on the headland anywhere “you may have to move around a bot to find the fish” Throw the bread into the sea and wait to see if any minnows come to feed on it.

If the minnows come to feed on the bread then you have to cast the short pole treble hook past the fish and try to fowl hook them by pulling the hook through the shoal.

Once you have hooked a minnow you bait the main rod with the bait fish and egg popper and cast out off of the headland as far as you can. Let the popper sit for a few seconds and jig it in slowly. For every 5 seconds that you jig it back in allow it to sit for 40 seconds.

Once a garfish takes the bait you must leave it to self hook, wait at least 10 to 15 seconds before you strike. Once the fish is hooked it is virtually impossible for it to fall off. You may be surprised how big some of the Garfish actually get.

Fishing on windy days.

If it is too windy for most types of fishing, you can setup a beach casting rod with a weight on the end and 2 hook tied onto leaders. One hook on a 30cm leader 50cm from the weight and the other hook 1 meter back from that on a 30cm leader.

Use some chicken breast as bait or better still some squid or prawns. You only need a 1cm x 1cm x 1cm cube of bait. Cast out into the areas on the sand next to the rocks. This is a good way to catch White Bream, Sharp Snout Sea Bream and also Parrot Fish.

Now we get into fishing that you need a licence for or a tour guide.

Tuna Fishing in North Cyprus

If you have your own boat or you are going on a tuna fishing trip then here are the top 2 things that you need to know.

Firstly you are only going to catch tuna from approximately the end of May to August.

The tuna fish start off coming around the headland of Karpaz in early May. You will see people catching tuna at this time on Facebook. They are all catching in magosa and Karpaz.

The tuna will come past Kyrenia in late May early June and be from 4 to 10 miles off shore.

To catch the tuna you need to be out 4 miles on your boat just as the sun breaks the horizon. You will need a set of lures coordinated from left to right set at different distances and depths.

The distance and depth is only to stop the tangle between rods. You will not hit tuna very often but when you do you will hit a shoal, more rods equals more fish.

A Good Tuna Trolling Rig

Tuna will see the leader. Test different lures, from squid lures to bright orange florescent spade head lures. Never test different lines. The leader should be 0.40mm fluorocarbon and nothing else will work.

Tie the leader 7 meters back from the main line and only use a swivel on the head of the lure.

It may take a few attempts to catch a tuna but the day that you do you will catch more than one. If you catch one then the season has officially started. Every day after that you will catch at least one.

The second thing to know about Tuna fishing in North Cyprrus is “The Second Wind”.

At the end of June tuna will stop striking. They go past the korucam burunu headland and tour the med.

For some reason they will then 2 or 3 weeks later return. This time they will be out about 20 to 25 miles.

Now you need to be either very brave or very stupid. Catching tuna on the second wind a lot harder and a lot more dangerous than the start of the season.

After Tuna the Bonito Fish Starts

You will really need your own boat for this but at the end of August a local fish called Palamut will come into season.

Catching Palamut

You will need a string of feathers tied 40cm apart. Much like a Mackrell rig.

Troll at about 4mph and about 1km from shore. If you start Trolling just as the sun comes up and go home by 9am you will catch what your going to catch that day.

It is possible to catch Palamut in the evening using the same method.

Palamut is a sunrise sunset surface feeder. During the day they go down to about 70 meters.

Catching Palamut at 70 Meters

You can also catch palamut during the day by using a slow jig lure. Find approximately 70 meters of water on your fish finder and use the slow jigging technique with a small electric blue lure.

The palamut fish will follow the lure from 70m almost to the surface, jig the lure all the way back to the boat and then repeat.

Big Amberjack, Grouper and Snapper

There are some monsters in the sea in north cyprus, they are hard to catch. To get into the really good fish you will need a boat that can get you out 1 mile and a fish finder.

The fish finder is not really for finding the fish in this case, only for finding the depth and the rocks.

You need to go out about 1 mile and then start driving at about 2 or 3 miles per hour. Keep watching the fish finder at between 50 and 100m depth and look for where the rocks start.

Once you have found a large rocky area you will need to do either Vertical Jigging or Slow Jigging.

I prefer Vertical Jigging so that is all I will go into here for the moment. Maybe I’ll update the page later with slow jigging techniques.

This is a Vertical Jigging Lure

Take note that the hook is on the top and not the bottom. This make seem wrong but trust me it’s how it works. A preditor fish will go for the head first.

Connect your jigging lure with 0.40 fluorocarbon leader of about 7 meters with no swivel. Drop the lure over the rocky areas starting at minimum 50 meters depth.

When the lure hits the bottom you should lift the rod quickly and make a full revolution of the reel as you drop the head of the rod. Then lift again, this motion is very hard on your arms but the faster you do it the better.

Jig the lure up about 20 cycles from the bottom and then drop the jig to the floor again.

Before you attempt this method just knkw that it works. It’s very easy to give up.

Using this method I have caught Albacore tuna at 70 meters, grouper from 25m to 120m, silver snapper from 50m and amberjack from most depths.

If you get into a fish on the first or second action from the sea bed, this will be either a white or dusky grouper. You will need to swing on that rod like an animal because if you give a grouper more than half a chance that close to the rocks it will dissappear off under one and you will most likely lose your gear and the will to live.

Killer Squid Technique

This is “or was” pretty much a secret method of catching squid from a boat at nothing in North Cyprus. The first thing that you will need is a lure that resembles the ones in the picture below. Please note that a normal squid lure does not have a Trolling spade on the front. These ones do.

You will need to troll these lures at any distance from the boat at all. Just set them so that they don’t get tangled together.

The trick is to only go on a moon lit night and only troll at 1.8 miles per hour. You will literally fill the boat with squid and also occasionally a big Barracuda will come and demolish your tackle.

The clutch on the reel needs to be set very lightly indeed to reduce the risk of ripping the squid off. Also when you get the squid near the boat be careful because it will give you a blue ink surprise.

Trolling for squid only works in the winter months. From September or October onwards.

How to catch 10kg amberjack in North Cyprus

Huge amberjack tour the shallower reefs in search of food. During palamut season you will have perfect fresh bait and you will already be in the sea at the prefect time.

Catching palamut is very easy as I have explained above. A big amberjack is going to love a well presented palamut.

Once you have finished trolling fir palamut at about 9am you can now start using them as bait for some huge amberjack.

You can not use a rod and reel for this because the setup is too heave. You will need..

  1. 100m 1mm line
  2. A hand Reel
  3. 10 x 100 gram spiral weights
  4. 2 large single hooks

You need to connect 2 large single hooks to the end of your line about 20cm apart and then set the palamut on the hooks. 1 through the roof of the mouth and one in the side sticking out.

Next you set a 100g weight 7 meters from the bait. Then 200g 2 meters from that. Then 300g 2 meters from that and finally 400g 2 meters away from the 300.

This is a heavy rig but it works. Now use your fish finder to find a reef that us only about 20 meters deep. Ideally the rest of the sea bed should be a lot deeper. You are looking for peaks in the reef here.

Drop your rig down to the reef and troll Al about 2 mph. Very slowly. Hold the line in your hand with gloves. You will feel the weights hit the floor.

As the weights hit the floor you must pull up quickly to prevent getting caught and speed the boat up a fraction.

Slow the boat down a fraction again and try to touch the weight on the floor and save it. This means that you are in the ideal position.

Keep touring spots that are at the right depth and keep that weight touching the floor occasionally.

You will catch amberjack from 5kg to 40kg using this method. It is hard work and takes a lot of coordination but the fish that you catch will make up for all of that.

Catching Huge Reef and Open Water Fish With a Can Full of Air.

After reading this far you will already know how to catch saddled sea bream close to the shore. You will need a boat for this next part.

Using this method you can catch huge fish from any kind of grouper at the right depth to amberjack and even 3 kinds off tuna. Albacore, Striped Tuna and Blue Fin.

The blue fin tuna will come close to the shore “within a few miles” to hunt a local fish called Izmarit. I don’t know what the fish is called in english.

There are many stories of fishermen casting out an izmarit fish on a heavy line while pulling in nets and catching Huge blue fin tuna.

I will not concentrate on a species of fish here, only the method. The species of fish that you catch is down to your own Goodluck.

Catching Bait

Use the details that I have explained earlier to catch the saddled sea bream fish. This is a bait fish that is available all year round and easy to catch when you know how.

Get a 25 litre container made from plastic and wash it so that an chemicals left in the container do not polute the sea.

Tie 25 meters of line to the handle of the container and connect the biggest hook that you can find.

Use the saddled sea bream fishing method explained previously and put the live saddled sea bream on the hook.

Find 30m of water in depth and throw the rig into the sea, it is best to find rocky drop offs and rocky areas although this will actually work anywhere.

Once you have dropped your rig into the sea, mark your GPS and go back to the shore for another fresh saddled sea bream.

Every time time you have a fresh bait fish you should swap it out for the old one. Catch bait fish is fun. Driving back to the float is fun and it’s also fun swapping out the bait fish.

None of this is as much fun as when you come back to change the bait fish and either the 25 litre float is tearing across the sea or bobbing under the water like a tank got hold of it.

You either will or you won’t

But if you do then some of you who did will thank me. Your more than welcome.

How To Catch Moray Eels and Rock Fish

This method will mainly catch the Moray Eel from the coastline, though it has been known for a Rock Fish or Scorpion Fish to bite. You will need…

  1. 1.0mm Line
  2. Metal Trace
  3. Size 4 or 5 Hook
  4. Chicken Breast or Squid “bait”

Set up your rig as a handline on a small reel, use the metal trace as a hook length because Moray Eels have some evil teeth and they will bite through most things including you so be careful if you catch one.

To find a good location in North Cyprus Ideally look for a man made jetty in the sea made from rocks. Man made structure has more small caves than the natural rock although this method will work anywhere that it is rocky.

Add your bait to your hook and lower the bait into any holes or crevices that you can find. The moray eel has a good sense of smell and if there is one near they will find you.

Spend about 5 minutes per drop, lower the bait into the holes slowly and feel when it stops, over time it will find more gaps in the rocks as the sea moves it around.

If you get a bite you will know about it pretty quickly, now you just have to do your best to play the fish out of the hole without getting snagged.

This method is high risk for getting snagged up so you should always have some spare equipment, the main thing that you will damage is the hook. Its a good idea to get a swivel clip system on the end of the wire trace so that you can change hooks out quickly. Moray eel do not care about the presentation of your rig.

Important Foot Note

This is a puffer fish, they are an invasive species. You are required to kill them if you catch them and they are deadly poisonous to eat. Also if you get your finger anywhere near its mouth it will remove it for you.

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Most Informative Article Ever

May 6, 2024

This is the most in depth information I have ever managed to find online about fishing in North Cyprus.

I moved to cyprus 2 years ago, I have spent a fortune on fishing equipment and petrol for the boat. I have had no success at all, and now I know why.

Thank you. 😊