1. "My husband and I booked 2 full days of fishing with Captain Jose Furtado of the vessel "Alabote". During the preceding months, Jose kept in contact with us and kept us informed of the fishing season. We visited the marina a few days before our charter and witnessed a 270lbs. Big Eye Tuna caught by a Dutch Family. During our charter we caught Dorado, (which we brought to the local restaurant "100 Espinhas", and had it prepared deliciously by Chef Joao Rieff. The water was pristine and spotted dolphins could be seen frolicking along the boat both days. The second day, we caught a 250lbs. Blue Marlin, which was my husband's dream. Jose's son, Miguel and his crew of Luis and Emmanuel worked to the bone to make sure we caught the prize. They were truly polite gentlemen. Both days were ate a hot lunch of 'carne asada' and stewed octopus the second day. Fruit, snacks. and drinks were available as well. This crew worked tirelessly to make sure the targeted fish were caught. We would love to fish with them again and highly recommend this charter!"

  2. My friend and I had been talking about taking a trip to specifically target bigeye tuna. I had remembered that bigeyes were caught incidentally while marlin fishing in the Azores and Madeira, so I did a little research. It turns out that bigeye are the most commonly caught tuna in the Azores. They do get yellowfin from time to time over the summer (usually 200-300lb fish), albacore, and occasionally see giant bluefin but the bigeye are the day to day tuna. I found a boat called Alabote (www.sportfishingazores.com) that ran charters out of Ponta Delgada, on the island of Sao Miguel. After speaking to captain Jose, we booked 2 and half days fishing from May 17-19. May and June are the peak months for bigeye; however, last year the fish showed up in late April and stuck around for the rest of the year! Day 1: After our 4.5 hour flight from Boston (the only city on the east coast offering direct flights), we arrived in Ponta Delgada around mid morning. The crew consisted of my Dad, my friend Andy, and our friend Eric. We quickly dropped our stuff off at the hotel and walked across the street to the marina. Since our flight was delayed, we got out around 12pm. We fished hard all day, but unfortunately the bite was in the morning. Captain Jose and the crew worked hard and kept us out for 8 hours, but the fish wouldn't come up. Day 2: We got a morning start on day 2 (left dock at 8am). The wind was blowing hard out of the north, so we fished about around 1-3 miles offshore of the island in the lee. There is a bank about 30 miles offshore where large fish (averaging 200lbs) had been holding, but it was too rough to make it out. Trolling off the island: After a few hours of trolling, the rods started going off and we had a triple header of bigeyes. Everything went right and we ended up 3/3. The captain turned the boat towards shore so we could eat lunch in calmer water closer to the island, and one of the flatlines gets slammed and the 80W is screaming. Eric grabs the rod and settles in for the fight. This is clearly a bigger fish, and after a tough fight Captain Jose's son Miguel sinks a gaff in a 240lb class fish. After cleaning up and taking some pictures, we eat lunch and resume trolling. I was looking back on the spread and watched a jet head get slammed in a spray of whitewater. I grabbed the rod, and the 80W was dreaming yet again, indicating a larger fish. After another tough fight, the fish came to the boat dead. Miguel and Carlos sunk the gaffs and pulled another 240lb class fish onboard. The fish had swallowed the jet and gotten hooked in the gills. We fished a little longer, and called it a day. 5/5 on day 2. The wind was howling again on day 3, so we stuck close to the island again. We were hooked up fairly quickly, and my Dad released a beautiful 150lb bigeye. We had one other strike, and the hook pulled. It was a fantastic trip. Captain Jose, and mates Miguel and Carlos were fantastic. They worked hard every minute of the trip, from fishing to preparing excellent food every day. I have fished around the world, and without a doubt the Alabote with Captain Jose and crew was one of the best operations I have ever fished with. The boat is also a great fishing boat, with dry decks and a wide beam (custom built by Jose himself). Captain Jose even packaged fish for us to take back home. We have already booked for next year. The Azores are a truly magical place to visit. The people were all nice and friendly, the scenery was great, and the food and lodging were inexpensive. And the fish are big. They frequently catch bigeyes over 300lbs. And thats not even mentioning the fantastic blue marlin fishing over the summer months."

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