The Islas Canarias, as they are called in Spanish, have long gained their reputation as a fantastic holiday destination. These seven Spanish islands off the coast of Morocco offer mild temperatures and subtropical beaches all year round. It’s no wonder they’re popular with visitors from all over the world. But it’s not only sun-seeking guests who spend their time on the beach that come to visit. The great possibilities for a Canary Islands fishing trip also draw in anglers from across the globe.
With 58 fishing ports scattered across the different islands, you can safely assume that fishing is a big part of the local culture. The archipelago was formed by volcanic activity, so the seafloor drops fast once you leave the shore. This means you can reach your fishing spots in no time and make the most of your time on the boat.
But fishing here isn’t all about the ocean. If you’re looking for a bit of a change, there are freshwater lakes as well. That way, you can get your fish on from dry land as well. If you’re planning a vacation to fish in the Canary Islands, you’ll find all the important information below. Read on…
What fish can you catch in the Canary Islands?
Let’s start off with the most important thing first: the fish! With several hundred different species, there’s no shortage of potential catches. While the Canary Islands are well known for their big game species, there are plenty of other fish that are worth your while. If you’re not in for the workout that is reeling in a Marlin, you can find many other fish to catch. Here are some of our favorites.
We had to mention Tuna first because catching them is a large part of the local culture. You can find several different species of Tuna across the different islands. These range from the famous Bluefin and Yellowfin Tuna to Bigeye, Albacore, and Skipjack. An impressive average of 8,000 tons of Tuna are caught every year using one-by-one fishing gear.
If you ever dreamed of reeling in your own big Tuna, you could not be in better hands than those of the local fishermen here. Make sure you bring your A-game though, since these fish can get large. A Bluefin here can reach up to 880 pounds. The current IGFA world record was caught on Gran Canaria and weighed in at a whopping 897 pounds!
Generally, fishing for Tuna is good all year round. The season for Bluefin Tuna starts in February around Gran Canaria and a little later in March on La Gomera. As the water warms up, Albacore Tuna arrive in March and stick around until November. Bigeye and Yellowfin Tuna can both be found all year, but are best between March and April.
We mentioned before that the Canary Islands are known for their big game. And while Tunas play their own part in that reputation, White and Blue Marlin are the two big stars here. Nothing quite beats the sight of a Marlin at the end of your line. Their acrobatics will leave you breathless as you try to reel them in.
And reeling them in is no small feat. The Canary Islands are currently home to an astonishing number of four IGFA world-record catches of Blue Marlin. The biggest of them weighs an impressive 802 pounds! So get ready for a workout if you’re looking to hook your own trophy catch.
The season varies between the islands, but both White and Blue Marlin are generally biting all throughout the year. On La Gomera and Gran Canaria, the best time to cast your line for Marlin is when the water is warm between May and September. On Lanzarote, peak season is between September and November.
Another fan favorite that calls these waters home is the Amberjack. This species is usually found close to reefs and in the Canary Islands is fished at a depth of between 230 to 520 foot. You won’t need to go very far offshore to find them. This fish is known for being stubborn when on the hook and is sure to give you an interesting fight.
As with the previously mentioned Marlin and Tuna, the preferred method of catching an Amberjack is by trolling along the surface of the water. But since this fish lives close to reefs and other underwater structures, you can also often catch it while searching along the bottom of the sea for Snappers.
Amberjacks are permanent residents and can be found around the islands all year. However, the bite is generally best in the colder months. In Lanzarote for example, the high season is between November to January and in Gran Canaria from September to January.
Also known as Dolphinfish, this species is as delicious as it is beautiful. Prized by anglers all around the globe, Mahi Mahi impress you with their fight, as they leap from the water to try and escape your hook. And in the Canary Islands, Mahi Mahi can even be caught from the shore! So no need to charter a boat if you want to see these beauties up close.
As we mentioned, Mahi Mahi also make for a delicious dinner after an exciting day on the sea. So after having them take your breath away during the fight, you get to regain your strength with a great meal.
Mahi Mahi inhabit the waters around the islands all year round and can be caught with plenty of success. However, if you want to experience the high season, visit between June and August, when the action is at its peak.
As one of the most popular representatives of the Seabream family, we couldn’t ignore this one. Dentex, named after their characteristic teeth, are a popular catch, especially along the shores. You can troll for them in inshore waters from a boat, but they are also a fairly common catch when spin casting from the shore.
While large specimens can reach a length of around 3 feet, the average catch is more likely to be 1 foot long. This makes Dentex a great fish to go for if you are just looking for a relaxed day by the water, or if you are planning to take your kids along for the trip. And at the end of the day your catch will make a delicious meal too!
As with all the previously mentioned fish, Dentex can be found in the waters of the Canary Islands all year round. Your chances of catching one are slightly better around March and April, as well as September and October.
And Many More…
But the Canary Islands fishing opportunities don’t stop here. While the popular big game species might be the most impressive catches in regards to their size and strength, there are many more fish around that are worth a closer look. From Triggerfish, Mackerel, and Moray, to Barracuda and Wahoo, you’re sure to find a fish that suits your dreams.
Types of Fishing in the Canary Islands
So how do you catch all those fish we just mentioned? There are several different types of fishing you can try on the Canary Islands. Here are the most popular ones:
Throwing a line from the shore is probably the most relaxing way to spend your fishing vacation in the Canary Islands. You’ll find a great variety of fish along the coast, ranging from different Seabreams, Filefish, Rockfish, and Mackerel to even Mahi Mahi. Many of these potential catches also make for an excellent dinner afterward as well.
Shore fishing is generally allowed in Spain, however, there are a few things to note. The most important thing is that you will need to buy a fishing license. Being caught fishing without the necessary paperwork usually results in a hefty fine and your fish being seized. More information on how to get your hands on a license can be found below in the “Rules and Regulations” chapter. Also, keep in mind that there might be areas, such as harbors or tourist beaches, where fishing is not allowed.
With big game fishing being all the rage on the Canary Islands, freshwater fishing is often overlooked. But if you want to take a break from the sea and enjoy some of the islands’ beautiful views, there is hardly anything better. Grab your fishing gear and head inland on Gran Canaria, La Gomera, or Tenerife. You will find plenty of Carp and Black Bass in the lakes there.
Keep in mind that there are both privately owned as well as public lakes, so make sure you’re planning to fish the right waters when you head out. Same as with shore fishing, you will need a fishing license to fish in the inland lakes and rivers.
With fishing being as popular as it is in the Canary Islands, almost every major harbor has at least a few charter fishing boats ready to take you out on a fishing trip. These adventures range from just a few hours to test the waters, up to several days of fishing for truly passionate anglers. Where you go fishing, what you can catch, and how long the trip will be, can usually be customized to your needs, as long as the weather and seasonality allow.
The captains and fishing guides are usually native to the area and know the waters like the back of their hands. On top of that, booking a charter includes your fishing license, so there’s no need to deal with Spanish bureaucracy. That way you don’t need to worry about paperwork and can get on with enjoying the fishing right away.
Where can you go fishing in the Canary Islands?
Since there is water all around, the short answer to this is: Pretty much anywhere you want to. There are a few spots though that are known for good fishing. We’ve collected a few of them here for you to try:
- San Sebastián, La Gomera: While you can go fishing for Blue Marlin on all of the islands, La Gomera is definitely one of the most popular islands for Marlin fishing. You have a good chance of catching a Blue Marlin here from May until September. Additionally, you have a good chance of reeling in Yellowfin and Big Eye Tuna too.
- Embalse de Chira, Gran Canaria: This reservoir lake is located behind the dam of the same name, Presa de Chira. It’s well known for its thriving Carp population. Catches range in size from 10 pounds to an impressive 50 pounds. The Carp are accompanied by Bass and several other fish to complete your Canary Islands fishing adventure.
- Puerto del Carmen, Lanzarote: The island of Lanzarote has seen some great Tuna seasons in the last few years. You can hop on a charter in Puerto del Carmen, or in the neighboring town of Puerto Calero. There you can experience the thrill of reeling in one of these big pelagic predators on the north side of the island.
- Corralejo, Fuerteventura: As the “all-rounder” of our selection, Corralejo has a bit of everything. You can go offshore to battle a Marlin, spend a relaxing day bottom fishing with your family, or throw a line from the shore. And if you’re done with fishing for the day, there are other activities to try. Snorkeling, surfing, and paddleboarding are available, among many others.
Rules and Regulations
Fishing in the Canary Islands always requires you to have a fishing license. There are different licenses available, depending on where and how you’re fishing. Information on recreational sea fishing can be found on the website of the Spanish Ministry for Agriculture, Fishing, and Food.
To apply for a license you’ll need to stop by the local authorities with a photo ID and pay a fee. Teenagers can also apply but will need parental authorization. Fishing licenses are usually valid for 3 years, so the effort will be worth the while.
Canary Islands Fishing – An Angler’s Dream
With subtropical temperatures, beautiful beaches, and amazing fishing opportunities no matter when you decide to come for a visit, the Canary Islands are a wonderful place for a fishing vacation. From relaxed angling to high adrenaline battles at sea, there is a fishing adventure for everyone. And the European charm and long fishing tradition make it even better.
Have you been fishing in the Canary Islands? How was it? Tell us about your trip in the comments, or ask any questions you may have. We’d love to hear from you.