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.
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.
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.
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.