Fishing in the Canary Islands

Fishing in the Canary Islands: What to Expect

Dave Gregory on behalf of Blue Bay Resorts has kindly sent me some details about fishing in the Canary Islands, a popular winter sun destination. I’ve no first hand experience of fishing there myself but I’m sure plenty will fancy trying it when they’re there.

The Canary Islands are located just off the western edge of mainland Africa in the Atlantic Ocean and they offer anglers some excellent opportunities to land big fish ranging from sharks and marlin down to small bream. The coral reefs surrounding the islands are also full of marine life and many boat operators will run trips for anglers on their holidays to the Canary Islands. The islands’ location in the Atlantic also means it’s possible to see whales, endangered sea turtles and dolphins on their annual migrations. If you’re planning a fishing trip to the Canary Islands, here’s what you can expect.

Deep Sea Fishing

If you want to land the really big fish then you’ll need to head further out to sea. There are many boat owners who run trips and if you don’t have your own equipment it can often be hired. The best places to find these trips are in the major towns and harbours such as Las Palmas in Gran Canaria, Puerto Del Rosario in Fuerteventura or Santa Cruz in Tenerife.

The town of Puerto Rico in Gran Canaria has over 50 deep sea fishing world records and is a bit of a mecca for anglers in the area. The White Strike and El Dorado boats in particular provide multilingual crew, food and drink throughout the day and top quality equipment and therefore come highly recommended for anglers of all abilities. Costs are in the region of 40 to 60 EUR per person depending on the season.


With the expanse of the Atlantic Ocean so close, a vast range of marine life is within reach. For the experienced angler, barracuda, marlin and several species of shark should be top of the list. The most common are the tope, smoothhound, dogfish and angel sharks but the larger varieties such as the mako, the blue and the hammerhead are common enough to be caught regularly, especially the latter.

The list of potential catches is incredibly long but tuna, wahoo, dorado and rays are commonly landed. The overwhelming majority of the boat operators operate a tag and release policy, especially on the larger game fish so you won’t be catching you own meal.

Reef Fishing

The coral reefs surrounding the Canary Islands are diverse and full of marine life and are a joy to fish. Most of the deep sea tour operators will also offer trips over the reefs and provide specialised equipment. Your approach to reef fishing will vary depending on what you are trying to catch. For instance, fishing for amberjacks requires metal jigs which are lowered to the sea floor and retrieved at high speed. Although effective, this method of fishing is physically demanding.

More traditional fishing methods (with 30lb+ tackle) are suitable for most of the fish species you’ll find on the reefs such as red snapper, moray eels and grouper. It’s not unheard of either to land octopus and squid. The best bait to use is mackerel, sardine and occasionally prawns. Depending on your boat operator and what you’ve caught, you may be able to keep some of the fish. Red snapper and grouper in particular are really tasty fish.

Shore Fishing

Fishing from the shore is without doubt the easiest and the cheapest way to do some angling. You can buy equipment relatively cheaply and just head out to the dockside or the beach and start casting. If you’re a complete amateur then this is probably the best way to get a taste of fishing in the Canary Islands. To increase the chances of a catch, avoid fishing from crowded beaches.

In terms of equipment, you don’t need anything too expensive and should aim to spend between 30 and 60EUR on a rod and reel. The people in the shop will be able to recommend which line you use as they will be experienced with the fish and the conditions in the area. If this is not possible however, a 15lb line should work just fine. The length of the rod will vary but between 9ft and 12ft is a good starting place. From the shore it is unlikely you will catch anything big but mackerel, mullet and bream are commonplace around the islands. Freshly caught mackerel are also fantastic when they’ve been grilled.

 pier fishing

You’re not allowed to fish in any harbours or marinas in the Canary Islands but it is ok to fish from a pier or jetty out to sea. If you’re going fishing on your own then you’ll need a permit which can be obtained from the local council for each island. Your hotel operator will be able to point you in the right direction. Boat operators will have permits that cover their customers so you don’t need to worry about this.

11 thoughts on “Fishing in the Canary Islands

  1. Going to peurto santiago in august and would love to do some fishing but as a bit of a novice I don’t know where to start I will be shore fishing from beach and rocks can any one advise on rods reals methods and baits do I need lures or spinners floats or bottom fishing and what baits are best also where to buy my gear from I’m going to live there and would love to spend my days walking and fishing so any advice would be very much appreciated thank you so much from Alan

  2. We went beach fishing for sharks and rays in caleta de fuste, high tide was at midnight so that’s when we went, it was nice and well lit due to flood lights behind the beach. After a couple of hours catching moray eels and sea bass we finally hooked into a ray, it took of like a rocket and did not give up easily. when we finally got the Common ray out of the water we estimated it to be about 40lb (great catch). We had only just put the ray back and re-cast our rods when the reel began to scream again, this was definitely something much bigger, we played the fish for only about 15 seconds and it straightened the hook. A great nights fishing and a must try.

  3. We fished on the white strike out of Puerto Rico. First of all, this is not deep sea fishing as advertised. It is bottom fishing just offshore. After an hour and only one “skate” from 9 fishermen it was decided to stay in that spot for the next FOUR hours. Not good strategy. Lots of grumbling once we were ashore, don’t think any of us will be back !

  4. Recently, we went shoreline angling for sharks and beams in caleta de fuste, high tide was at midnight so that is the point at which we went, it was decent and sufficiently bright because of surge lights behind the shoreline.

  5. I have been a fishing guide in Ireland for 17 years and spent many of holiday in caleta de fuste Fuerteventura now living here and guiding here I have caught a good few fish including 9.4kg blue fish a good few monkfish and Sierra which belongs to the tuna family and lots more, lost 2 huge rays could not stop them, its only a matter of time, I have done over 20 articles 6 TV programs and have written 2 books to date, anyone that needs guiding give me a call 0034′ 666957218

    • Hi Kevin remember reading an article when you started shore guiding and a bait business in Ireland,looking at these posts as going to gran canaria and want to do a bit of shore fishing,good luck with your latest venture .

  6. I would like to take my husband freakin fishing for the first time. We will be on a cruise that docks for a long day in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria on t(e 13/4/2019. However all the fishing trips I see are from t(e south or on t(e other side of the island. I see in your write up you mention fishing trips from Las Palmas. Could you please recommend one, I would be so grateful.

    • Hi Karen, afraid I can’t help you this time other than to suggest you contact the company. They might be able to help, or the tourist office. I’ve tried using local guides when on a cruise ship myself. Never easy with the arrival and departure times, plus getting through security when embarking priority is given to those on the ships own tours. Ive stsrted taking a 6 piece travel rod and doing a bit of fishing from the shore. Good luck and do please let me know how you get on. It might help others.

    • Hi there my name is Alex i am currently working in las palmas & have already bought fishing rods!!! How ,what & where is the quickest way to get a fishing license ????

  7. I have fished from piers and beaches in gran canaria for 20 years, never been asked for a licence… hope i dont get asked this year now, …only caught tidlers on little hooks and telescopic rods on bread, although cut up fish stays on longer. oh once caught a squid, best fight i ever had, seemed to hang onto every rock it passed. Just a bit of fun to pass some time.

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