Madeira Marlin

Another winter has now gone by and all of us are looking forward to another game fishing season.

This year the first schools of bigeye tuna showed up in the middle of March. Commercial boats were scoring some good catches and a couple of fish caught on rod and reel were of very good size. This promising start was sadly curtailed by some stormy Atlantic weather which brought on torrential rain and unfishable seas for most of the first three weeks of April, but conditions settled down toward the end of last week and are now looking very fishable.

Balancal has been in the boatyard for the last few weeks undergoing her annual maintenance programme, including the installation of a brand new Furuno chart plotter and fishfinder. She will shortly be back in the water fully ready for this season’s campaign.

In May the island grounds see a gradual transformation as the ocean warms. The end of the spring tuna season normally sees fewer but bigger fish. When the tuna schools are out of range, white marlin and spearfish are often around to take up the slack. The next month or so can often see reasonable numbers of both these species.

The month of May normally also sees the first of Madeira’s legendary blue marlin start to appear on the grounds. By the end of the month we will be directing most of our effort at these most spectacular of all billfish.

Reef and bottom fishing is traditionally carried out in winter but the giant stingrays, groupers, jacks (including some large amberjacks) and the highly coveted pargo or red snapper are year-round residents. Although our main focus during the gamefish season is billfish and tuna, we have had an increasing number of enquiries for deep jigging charters and welcome anglers interested in working the deeper ledges and reefs. The Balancal is currently not equipped with specialist rods and reels for deep jigging, but we have found in the past that many jigging enthusiasts prefer to fish their own personalized tackle. Captain Anibal’s years of experience and the Balancal‘s newly updated electronics package enable us to be as successful putting our anglers on the most productive pieces of bottom structure as in the hunt for giant blue marlin.