browser icon
You are using an insecure version of your web browser. Please update your browser!
Using an outdated browser makes your computer unsafe. For a safer, faster, more enjoyable user experience, please update your browser today or try a newer browser.

Fishing for big red snappers in blue Madeira waters

Posted by on May 26, 2019

There was a big reason why I went scuba diving the day prior and well as why I went fishing in both the Czech Republic and England before coming here. First, I did an underwater recon mission to see how the bottom was like as well as see what kind of fish were hanging out underwater and observe how they act. I did the same thing back in Azores when I scuba dived the morning and went fishing in the afternoon. The reasoning behind the fishing in the Czech Republic and in England was that I needed the fishing practice in case I hooked onto a massive big fish in the Atlantic Oceans waters around Madeira.

morning early rise fishing boat cruise

Gotta get up nice and early for this fishing trip because the bite was the best in the morning since the winds weren’t going to allow the usual spots to be fished.

And this time around unlike on the other Portuguese islands of Azores where it was just rock fishing, I had plans to go deep sea fishing where there can be some very massive fish prowling in these waters looking for bait fish and will often strike at baits and hooks due to their aggressive behavior. This meant that I would be spending an entire day fishing so it would just be one day committed to scuba diving and the next day committed to fishing. No combo days like in the Azores as it looked like I’ll need every minute out there on the Atlantic Ocean, especially in the morning when the bite was going to be the best. This wasn’t going to be like the fishing waters of La Paz, Mexico, where I knew that there were lots of willing to bite fish out there, not to mention the best fishing in the world. No, this was going to be different and difficult. It was going to be a challenge so better get my skills up-and-ready-to-go.

horizon of the sun fishing ocean

The sun makes its peek above the ocean horizon while I fish.

And it was challenge because it’s been awhile fighting bruising saltwater fish! In the first 30 seconds of my first cast into the water, bang! I had my first fish on! A red snapper with mean-looking front buck teeth. It took me about a minute to reel up from 130 meters (about 425 feet) of water but you have to keep the tension on at all times because otherwise, the fish can somehow spit that hook and bait out. And my first fish – a 10+ kg (22+ pounds) red snapper aka a Pargo.

quick strike no blanks no skunks

Within seconds of hitting the bottom, it was FISH ON!

first fish of the day madeira portugal

Landed my first fish in Madeira! Pargo aka red snapper. They look a little different compared to the ones in Mexico where they get a little bit more yellowish/red.

red snapper pargo fish portuguese fishing fish peces

My deckhand pulling out the first fish of the day! A fairly large sized Pargo aka Red Snapper.

And these Pargo kept coming and coming. My guide and the deckhand said that if the bite is on then they have to keep fishing fast because there are days where they go without any red snapper bits. Maybe one or two or three there. That’s it. This day was all about red snappers… and a few Mackerel that I managed to hook up as well.

watching the rod for a fish

You can see my rod bending. Unlike in fly fishing where I can feel the fish strike, the hooked bait and sinker are so deep down that you have to go by looking at the tip of the rod. A few times I could feel the strike.

reeling in bent rod ocean salt water fish

And now I see it – the tip slightly bends and bang bang! The fish is hooked so start reeling!

The thing about these fish is that they just tear up the live squid like nothing. I also used a live mackerel but absolutely nothing. It’s almost like a few seconds after putting the baited hook just above the bottom where I immediately get strikes!

muscling the fish hard to fight salt water fighters

Even the small Pargo can make a good run and bend that rod pretty good. Luckily, on a heavy rod and line, the Pargo won’t win.

prize fight landing fish catching for eating

There’s Andre, the deckhand, holding up the prize.

I was supposed to do a full day but the guide said that due to bad weather, we can only go to one spot where the fishing is only good during sunrise and sunset. Noon/afternoon fishing just plain sucks. But I had a blast fishing with these guys for those Red Snappers for the few good hours of fishing that I got in!

hook on pargo

These Pargo absolutely love live squid. Mackerel is okay but man, that live squid can make these Pargo really bite them hard and hook on. Amberjack do the same thing but sadly, no jacks for me on this day.

snapper 10 kg + 22 pounds

I think this was my best biggest fish of the day! Over 10 kg (22.2 pounds) for this lump of fish flesh.

Gotta love these waters in Madeira!


Follow me on Instagram: