Madeira fishing guide
Here you will find tips, the best fishing spots and top fish in Madeira. If you are looking for a fishing charter or skipper to go fishing, please visit our list of fishing charters in Madeira or search a fishing trip using the box below:
Madeira is a Portuguese island that is located in the north Atlantic Ocean. This island is Europe’s one of the most attractive destinations to which tourists flock to all through the year. This second richest region of Portugal is known for its wines, landscapes, flowers and embroidery artisans. Funchal is the lovely capital city of Madeira that is replete with shops, restaurants and many such interesting sights.
For sure, fishing is one of the most alluring activities that you can indulge in when in Madeira, but that is not all that you can do in Madeira. You can roam around in the Botanical Gardens, immerse yourself in a refreshing game of golf in the spectacular golf courses and even go hiking in the most stunning hiking trails.
As for fishing, this island is surrounded by the Atlantic ocean that is home to a very large variety of fish species. The migratory routes of many of the most sought after game fish coincides with the geographical location of Madeira and hence makes this Portuguese island one of the best spots for big game fishing. Marlin, Tuna, Swordfish, Wahoo, Spearfish are some of the few species that are found in bountiful in the Madeiran waters.
Madeira has been identified to have a Mediterranean climate with difference in the amount of sun exposure and humidity between the two regions facing north and south respectively. The summer months of June to September is the best time to visit this island with regards to the weather as the days remain warm and sunny. October to November is considered autumn with warm days and chances of rain and storms once in a while. Winter in Madeira has rarely recorded temperatures below 10 degree Celsius and often enjoy a warm weather throughout the day.
However, the mountainous terrain of Madeira results in quite different weather conditions all across the island.
Fishing in Madeira:
Fishing in the calm waters of Madeira can be the best experience for any sport fishermen for many reasons. The awesome weather of Madeira, the vast variety of fish species that roam these Atlantic waters and the fishing season that spans over most of the year all together contribute to Madeira being one of the best fishing spots in the world. Another interesting fact about Madeira is that since this island is part of a huge oceanic mountain the waters reach a substantial depth immediately after the harbour and hence you will not have to wander off far into the ocean to spot your target game fish.
Some of the most sought after fish from the Madeiran waters are the great Blue Marlin, Bluefin tuna, White Marlin, Yellowfin tuna, Swordfish, Big eye tuna, Dorado, Wahoo, Barracuda, Grouper and Bonito. According to the Captain of the Razzin Hell boat the best time to fish in Madeira is through the months of April to December. He also informed us that the boats are taken as far as 1 to 5 km away from the shore, it usually takes anywhere between 10 to 20 minutes to reach these fishing spots.
Credits to Captain Charlie of the Razzin Hell boat to have helped us with all the information on fishing in Madeira. Captain Charlie has over 15 years of experience in Madeiran fishing, to check his profile click here.
To book a fishing trip in Madeira in the Razzin Hell boat click here.
Top 10 fish
The largest of all the Marlins, the Blue Marlin is the greatest attraction of the Madeiran fishing. These water monsters are known for their strength and speed. The huge size and the might with which these fish fight have made them top the list of game fish all around the world.
The Atlantic Blue Marlin that is found in these waters have an average weight of 300 kg and anglers from all around the world are attracted to Madeira to reel in one of these magnificent creatures. Landing a Marlin can be an experience of a lifetime as the time since one of these beauties hook till the time you land them on your boat will involve backbreaking fight and grueling hours.
Fishing Season of Blue Marlin in Madeira:
The Blue Marlin is found in the Atlantic waters around the island of Madeira during the months of May to October with a peak season extending from month of June to that of July.
Blue Marlins are spotted in the southern coast of Madeira more often than the other regions. Most fish are found well within a 2 mile radius from the shores.
How to fish for Blue Marlin in Madeira:
Lure fishing is the best and the most practised method of landing a Blue Marlin in Madeira.
The mighty Swordfish gets its name from the long sword like upper jaw. These fast swimming predatory fish are well known in the sport fishing realm for their underwater speeds, powerful leaps and the great fight that put up when hooked. These fish are pure muscles and can exhaust any angler in a matter of minutes of being hooked. Swordfish can grow to lengths of 4.5 m and can weigh up to 650 kg.
These fish are usually found in depths ranging from 200 to 600 m in waters with temperatures varying from 18 to 22 degree Celsius. A very interesting fact about the Swordfish is that its body is capable of heating the brain and allows these fish to plummet to depths of 650 m where the water temperatures are close to freezing point.
Fishing season of Swordfish in Madeira:
In Madeira, Swordfish appear during the months of March through September.
How to catch a Swordfish in Madeira:
Drifting is a very effective method to fish for Swordfish. During the daytime when the Swordfish prefers to stay in deep waters deep-drop fishing will be more successful. Mackerels, bonitos, squids and mullets are the common baits used to lure a Swordfish. Artificial squid like baits can also be used in swordfishing.
The White Marlin is yet another contender for the top positions of the world’s most wanted game fish. These beautiful creatures that belong to the Marlin family remain true to their family characteristics of being a hard battler. In addition to this, these Marlins are also popular for engaging in tail-walking and leaping out of the water when hooked. These acrobatic traits of the White Marlin makes it difficult to land and thus makes it one of the favourite among sport fishermen.
The average weight of a White Marlin can reach up to 30 kg.
Fishing season of White Marlin in Madeira:
The best time to fish for a White Marlin in Madeira is between the months of April to September.
How to fish for White Marlin in Madeira:
Trolling with whole and strip baits is one of the most common techniques used to catch a White Marlin. Live baits like mullets, mackerels, anchovies, squids and other small fish have also proved successful.
The next fish on the list is the big brother of the tuna family, the Bluefin Tuna. These fish have been build in a torpedo shape to help them move with great speed in the water. Once hooked with a Bluefin Tuna, the experience will be exciting and it will involve a great deal of effort as well. Once hooked, the Bluefin has a tendency to make death plummets into the deep sea. The Bluefin are rightly known as the raging bulls of the oceans for their exceptional power and huge sizes.
The Bluefin Tuna can easily gain weights of over 600 kg, average Bluefins have been recorded to be weights ranging from 100 to 500 kg.
Fishing season of Bluefin in Madeira:
The season of the Bluefin Tuna begins in October and end in November in Madeira.
How to fish for Bluefin in Madeira:
Trolling and drift fishing are the two methods that are used to reel in a Bluefin Tuna.Trolling with live and dead baits and even with artificial lures are found to be successful in landing the Bluefin from Madeira.
The Bigeye Tuna is another member of the Tuna family that is characterised by large head and big eyes that gave it its name. Larger than the Yellowfin Tuna but smaller than the Bluefin Tuna, these big boys of the sea are very combative when it comes to landing them. The Bigeye Tuna can swim fast owing to their streamlined body and are very strong. Like the Bluefin, these fish also make the angler work hard till the last to land of these astonishing fish on his boat.
Bigeye Tuna is said to grow to up to 2.5 m in length and can weigh to a maximum of 210 kg as per the records so far. Reeling in such a monster fish can be both exhilarating and satisfying.
Fishing Season of Big eye tuna in Madeira:
Bigeye Tuna start to reach the waters of the Atlantic ocean surrounding Madeira in January and can be spotted here till late September. The best season among these months to exclusively target the Bigeye would be during the summer months spanning from March to June.
How to fish for Big eye tuna:
Like all other Tunas, the best method to hook up a Bigeye Tuna is by trolling with live, dead or artificial lures. Squid, mullet and other small fish are the best used as live baits.
The most colourful and the most popular after the Bluefin is the Yellowfin Tuna. There will hardly be a sportfishing angler who will not have the Yellowfin on his target list of fish. These beautiful fish are known for their raging power and stamina. The just won’t quit and will fight till you pull them on to the boat. If hooked with a Yellowfin you can be sure to end up with aching muscles and an experience of a lifetime.
The Yellowfin can reach lengths of 2.5 m and can weigh over 450 kg. These pound for pound fish are even considered to be the strongest and fastest of all the tuna species.
Fishing Season of Yellowfin Tuna in Madeira:
Yellowfin season in Madeira starts in October and extends till December. This is the time to visit Madeira if you are planning to reel in a Yellowfin.
How to fish for Yellowfin tuna:
Trolling with live baits like squid, mullet and crustaceans or trolling with artificial lures are both effective in Yellowfin Tuna fishing.
A favourite worldwide, the Dorado also known as the Dolphinfish or the Mahi Mahi is a beautiful fish. With multiple hues on its body this fish makes for one of the most attractive fish. Not only by the looks, these Dorados are also well known for their tasty flesh. In addition to these traits, the Mahi Mahi are well known to exhibit aerial acrobatics when hooked. Not only do they leap multiple times from the water but also engage in tail-walking, all in an effort to unhook themselves.
The male Dolphin fish are larger than the females and they have a vertical forehead unlike the females who have rather rounded foreheads. These golden-yellow colored fish edged with blue fluctuate in their color when taken out of the water and eventually turn evenly yellow or silver grey.
These fish are fast swimmers and can reach speeds of 80 kph. The maximum recorded weight of a Dorado is close to 40 kg.
Fishing Season of Dorado in Madeira:
If targeting Dorados in Madeira the months that will turn fruitful are June to December. The largest Dorado fished out of the Madeiran waters has been recorded to weigh 25 kg.
How to catch a Dorado:
Trolling is the first choice when it comes to fishing for Dorados. Other successful methods in Dorado fishing are casting and live bait fishing. Artificial lures can also be used to attract the Mahi Mahi to your lure.
The Wahoo is a highly prized sport fish as these fish can grow to a good size and they are also known for their fighting ability and their speeds. If you look at the Wahoo you can see that their body has been designed for speed. Reaching speeds of 80 kph these fish justify the name of torpedos with wings given to them. Anglers who have fished one of these fast runners of the sea will be acquainted with the fast and long runs that the Wahoo makes once they feel the hook on their body.
When hooked, though not very often but the Wahoo is said to jump on strike and can shake their heads vigorously to unhook themselves.
Fishing Season of Wahoo in Madeira:
If you are looking for a Wahoo in the Madeiran waters then the best time to look for them is during the months of August to January.
How to catch a Wahoo:
Trolling with strip or whole baits and even using live baits have proved successful in terms of Wahoo fishing.
One of the most delicious of all the fish species the Grouper is also a great sport fish. Considered a classic bottom fish, most of the species of the Grouper can grow to big sizes and are fished for their flesh. These predatory fish do not chase and hunt their prey but prefer to ambush them from undercover. When fishing for Groupers one of the most important thing that should be kept in mind is that, once a Grouper is hooked you should start reeling immediately. Otherwise if the fish retreats and finds a hiding place under the reef it will be almost impossible to land it, as these fish can inflate their lungs and fix themselves to the small caves they have found shelter in.
Fishing Season of Grouper in Madeira:
Fishing for Groupers in Madeira starts with April and extends till September.
How to catch a Grouper:
Bottom fishing with live or dead baits is the most successful method to land a Grouper.
The Spearfish belongs to the billfish family and is seasonally spotted in the Madeiran waters. The Spearfish is very elusive and their narrow jaws and highly acrobatic leaps into the air can make them very difficult to hook. These qualities of the Spearfish have gained them one of the top positions in the sportfishing anglers targeted fish list. These fish are differentiated from the other billfish by their shorter bill.
The maximum recorded weight of a Spearfish is 52 kg and they do not normally outgrow 1.9 m in length.
Fishing season of Spearfish in Madeira:
The Spearfish begin to arrive in Madeira during the beginning of May and can be fished from these water until late June.
How to catch a Spearfish:
Light tackle is used to catch Spearfish as these have higher chances of hook ups and also allows the fish to exhibit their acrobatic fighting abilities to the fullest.
Fish and Fishing Seasons in Madeira