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Top Fishing Charters in Madeira

Fishing in Madeira

Madeira is hands down one of the best places in the world to go fishing. Located some 500 miles off the coast of Morocco, this Portuguese island features in bucket lists all over the internet, including Marlin Magazine’s rundown of the world’s best grander Marlin spots (where it gets a respectable bronze medal). Madeira fishing, quite simply, is epic.
 
What makes fishing in Madeira so great, you ask? For starters, the fish get really big. Blue Marlin aside, everything from Bigeye Tuna to Bluefish hit incredible sizes here. You don’t have to travel far to find them, either. Even on a half day trip, you have plenty of time to turn your arms to jelly. And if you’re just out for a fun day at sea and a few fish to show for it, you can catch a boatload of delicious table fare with the dramatic cliffs of Madeira as your backdrop. There’s something for everyone on “ the Pearl of the Atlantic'”.

Types of Fishing

 

Offshore

The big game fishing Madeira charter captains specialize in draws the sport’s biggest names from around the world. The seafloor drops almost vertically from beach to bedrock, so you can catch bluewater species just a couple of miles from land. And there are plenty to choose from. Blue and White Marlin, Bluefin, Albacore, and Bigeye Tuna, Longbill Spearfish, Mahi Mahi, and Wahoo all show up over the course of the year
 
May through October is the peak Billfish season. Show up in September, and you can catch the full range of big game species on offer here. But you can catch huge Wahoo even in the middle of winter and Albacore live here all year round. There’s never a bad time to fish offshore in Madeira.
 

Nearshore

There’s never a bad time to fish the reefs, either! Huge Snappers are reeled in every month of the year, and resident Amberjack hit incredible sizes on the island’s deep-water reefs. Grouper, are always around, too, although they’re not nearly as common as Snappers. If you want to add some extra fight to your day, monster Bluefish hunt around the island’s rocky nearshore waters.
 

From Shore

More interested in variety than size? Shore fishing in Madeira can be a great way to bag a variety of fish. You can hook Bluefish and Barracuda from shore in many spots, alongside weird and wonderful species like Ornate Wrasse and Canary Damselfish. If you’re fishing from the rocks on Madeira’s north shore, you should watch out for the high winds and swells that batter the island during much of the year.

Fishing Techniques

Madeira Marlin fishing focuses almost exclusively on trolling. Fast-trolling with lures is the most popular tactic here as it lets you cover more ground on the hunt for big fish. Most boats use heavy trolling rods and reels, hoping for the island’s next grander. You can sometimes find kites flying above bigger boats, especially when they’re targeting big Tunas.
 
Up for something with a bit more finesse? There are a few specialist charter companies which offer everything from saltwater fly fishing for White Marlin, Tuna, and Almaco Jacks to spinning and popping for monster Bluefish. You won’t find much finesse on bottom fishing trips, though. Not with the size that Amberjack and Snapper reach here!
 
If you’re fishing from shore, you can pick up great baits at the local fish market. If you prefer artificial baits, be careful–Pufferfish can and will take a chunk out of anything that comes their way, so leave your favorite soft plastics in the box.

Need to Know

 

Getting there

Most charters operate out of the region’s capital, Funchal, or the beach resort of Calheta, a 40-minute drive up the coast. Flights from London take around 4 hours and can cost as little as   €110 return, even in the middle of Marlin season. Flights from Lisbon take less than half that and cost about the same. You can get direct flights from cities all over Europe, but you’ll need to change in London if you’re flying from the US.
 

Budget

Madeira fishing prices vary greatly depending on the style of angling you’re after. A half day on the nearshore reefs will bag you a ton of tasty fish for around €350-400. Full day trips targeting Marlin, Tuna, and other deep sea species cost anywhere from €1000-1300. Boats vary from center console-style vessels to large sportfishers with outriggers, tuna tubes, fighting chairs–the works. If you’re looking to land a grander Marlin, it’s well worth the extra money to get a good boat.
 

Rules & Regulations

Anglers planning on fishing from shore will need to buy a Sport Fishing License (Licença de Pesca Desportiva) before they can even think about making a cast. Get these by contacting the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. By all accounts, this can be a bit of a nightmare as a foreigner. The good news is that you don’t need a license to fish aboard Madeira fishing charters, as you will be covered by the boat’s operating license.
 
Madeira is the ultimate island escape. Stunning scenery and great weather meet deep waters and some of the world’s best sportfishing. This is a popular vacation spot for people in Europe, even without the angling. Throw in the chance of a grander Marlin or a record Amberjack, and you wonder why you’d go anywhere else!
Madeira
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Madeira Fishing Seasons

Wahoo season ends as the year starts, so head out and bag these bluewater bullets before they move one. Otherwise, there are a ton of different bottom fish to go after.

It’s Carnival in Madeira! This week-long festival brings a storm of color and music to the streets of Funchal. There’s plenty of fun on the water, too, with Snappers, Amberjack, and so much more.

Bigeye Tuna explode onto the scene in March, kicking off an 8-month season of huge, tasty fish. There are plenty of monsters on the reefs, too, with Grouper, Snapper, Amberjack, and more.

The first few Marlin start to show up in April. Head out in search of these monsters, and you could also run into Bigeye and Albacore Tuna. As always, the reefs are full of tasty fish!

Blue and White Marlin arrive in huge numbers around Madeira in May, joined by the often-overlooked Longbill Spearfish. If you’re after a Billfish Grand Slam, this is a good time to try.

Madeira celebrates these incredible waters with the month-long Atlantic Festival. Enjoy everything from roots and arts events to pyromusical shows. Don’t let it distract you from the ocean itself, though!

All over the world, pro sportfishing teams head offshore to take part in the Blue Marlin World Cup. Madeira has won this event more than once in the past. Are you feeling lucky?

August is the hottest month of the year in Madeira, so expect the beaches to be busy. There’s plenty of space out at sea, though, if you don’t mind fighting Marlin for it! 

Every big game species is biting hard in September. Blue and White Marlin, Bigeye, Albacore, and Bluefin Tuna, Longbill Spearfish, Wahoo, Mahi Mahi–they’re all here and they’re all going crazy!

October is your last chance to catch Marlin in Madeira, and the Bigeye Tuna are about to move on, too. Don’t miss your chance–get out there and battle some sea monsters!

The Billfish may have moved on, but Wahoo, Albacore, and Bluefin Tuna are still around in force. The reefs never go quiet here, either. Just take your pick and enjoy. 

Christmas in Funchal is a wonderland of colorfully-lit streets and seasonal joy. Hit the reefs to catch some delicious bottom fish and bring home a real Christmas feast!

Madeira Fishing Calendar

What People Are Saying About Madeira

"7 days on Gavito "

fished with Gavito - Sportfishing on July 4, 2018

Don’t expect to catch a monster easily

"Afternoon and evening trip with Ricardo and Sergio"

John Purkis fished with Madeira Sight Casting on June 27, 2018

Not to worry, the people from Madeira are so helpful. Just take sun cream and a coat as it can get cold at night.

"Three day trip with Captain Graham "

fished with Gavito - Big Game Fishing on June 25, 2018

To trust Gavito's crew and you are in for a great experience. Do take lots of sunblock and maybe a book to read whilst resting a bit in the cabin during the intense midday sunny periods. Stay close to the fishing chair so you will be prepared when you get a bite. Train your hand for some tough reeling in when the fish is on the hook!!

"Full day trolling on Gavito"

fished with Gavito - Big Game Fishing on June 13, 2018

Book with Captain Graham on Gavito.! Pick your target species and go for it.! You never know what will happen.!

Top Targeted Species in Madeira

Wahoo

Dolphin (Mahi Mahi)

Marlin (Blue)

Marlin (White)

Top Madeira Destinations