The Canary Islands are becoming an increasingly popular holiday destination where fishing is also worthwhile. Especially since many Arabic countries are avoided by tourists, the Canary Islands enjoy great popularity as part of the EU country Spain. I was with my fishing colleague Basti for a week on the Canary Islands and actually only on permanent fishing and would like to summarize here everything worth knowing and important about fishing on the islands.
Fishing licence in the Canary Islands
A fishing licence (licencia para pescar) is also required in the Canary Islands, which, in contrast to the mainland, can only be bought locally in Spain. If you go on charter boats, you don’t need a license, because the guides automatically have one for you.
It is also important to have your passport with you, as it is the only one with the number the Spanish officials need to issue the fishing license.
Unfortunately the opening hours of the offices are not very long. On Lanzarote you only get your license from 8 to 12 o’clock. In between you have to go to the bank to pay for the card.
The fishing license for the Canary Islands is valid for all island groups and costs only about 15 € for three years.
The most important fishing regulations in the Canary Islands
- The fish are of a gentle size
- Two rods with two bites each
- Live bait fish is completely forbidden
- Feeding is forbidden (this probably means chumming from the boat, but who knows)
- And something else that really hurts: in harbours and that means also the outside area, fishing is forbidden. In reality, however, fishing from the outside is tolerated as long as you don’t throw at messengers.
Safety when fishing in the Canary Islands – especially rock fishing
I’m not interested in the poisonous and dangerous fish I listed below, but in something much more dangerous: waves. Every year, anglers die in the Canary Islands when they are washed into the sea by waves or slip and fall on rocks. It all depends on where you fish and how dangerous it is. Clearly, beaches and harbor moles are not and even in summer and autumn, when most holidaymakers come, the sea is often relatively calm. The sides of the Canary Islands, which lie on the open sea and are not “protected” by other islands, are the most dangerous. Because here, waves and currents come towards the islands unchecked. Not without reason, for example, the west side of Lanzarote is closed for swimming (and I think also for surfers), because there are unbelievably strong and unpredictable currents here, which also let a world championship swimmer drift out to the open sea without a chance and waves, which today can be 1m high and completely harmless and tomorrow then 5-6m high and make fishing spots, which were safe today, not only unfishable but also life-threatening.
The waves can be very treacherous and every 10-20 minutes suddenly a couple of big breakers come in, which make a previously safe place completely unsafe. Also consider that the tidal range can also block your way home.
My tips for safe fishing
- Don’t go fishing alone in remote places
- Get information about the swell and wind speed and the tide
- Look at the waves long before you declare a spot “safe”
- If in doubt, stand a little higher
- Watch the waves carefully while fishing and NEVER let them out of your sight
- If you get caught by a wave, don’t run, but stop
- If a big wave comes, you can still run
- One rock can still be completely slippery at one point and a few centimetres further it is suddenly more slippery than ice
Successful fishing techniques in the Canary Islands – This is how it goes
The best fishing time
Without question, as everywhere else on the sea, the early morning hours until about 10:00 and also the evening hours around sunset are the most promising. But there are also many species that you catch, especially at night, such as rays, conger eels, moray eels and sharks. At night often huge shoals of small fish migrate from the open sea towards the shore – a set table for the predators.
Groundfishing in the Canary Islands
With simple basic tackle you can catch many bottom-dwellers, such as bream, snapper and gilthead. At night you can also go for conger, moray eels and rays, provided you have proper tackle. Leader lines
have to be chosen accordingly strong (1 mm and thicker). Also from the rocks a lot of fish bite. Top baits are squid pieces which are not easily taken off your hook by small fish or anchovy pieces. Shrimp are some of the best bait for smaller fish, but they also like to be eaten off the hook. You can get the bait in larger supermarkets at the fresh food counter or in the frozen food department at ridiculous prices compared to us. The kilo of anchovies did not cost me 70 cents.
If you want to have fish for the pan, take at least 1″ hook or bigger. If you want to catch whatever is there, use thick 6 or 8 hooks. Of course for very small fish you can go even smaller but you are at the sea, the fish are greedy and every 20 cm fish will eat a 0/4″ hook without problems. Lead is usually needed at least 30-50g in quieter places and for the surf and current 180g+. Tiroler Hölzl and Stabbleie are top, because they do not get stuck under rocks so easily.
Pose fishing in the Canary Islands
Often it is a good idea to fish in rocky places with the pose over the bottom, because otherwise there is a risk of getting stuck. Nevertheless, the bottom dwellers often bite here. A simple pose mounting works wonderfully and you never know what is hanging on the hook. Pieces of bread or dough are the best bait for the very shy mullets. Otherwise the lures are the same as for bottom fishing, and the same applies to hook size.
Spinning in the Canary Islands
Like everywhere else, the big predators don’t just jump into your bucket on the beautiful archipelago. You can catch several strong sea predators here, but it’s best to get up early and be in the right places at sunrise, where you should fish in water depths of at least 10-15 m rather 20-30 m. Of course you can also catch some predators in shallower places, but that is a matter of luck.
It’s best to take plugs or speedjigs with you. 40-50 gram jigs are completely sufficient from the shore. If you need higher weights, you can be sure that you will not be fishing at that time. Also plugs can weigh a bit more to cast against the wind. Sinking models of 10cm and ~30-40g weight are best.
On lure colours the usual blue and/or silver tones are best alternatively shock colours and unnatural lures are good despite the often clear water. Especially at sunrise and sunset
Rubber lures can also work especially the Savage Gear real eel (sand eel) in lemon back colour is an ingenious lure that catches its fish.
Rockfishing on the Canary Islands
Clearly the rocks are promising fishing spots, where the rocks are steep on the shore, they also go down steeply in the sea and deep fishing spots are close. All the fishing techniques mentioned above work here. A lead of 200g or more can be advisable, depending on the swell. Otherwise your lead will be washed around by the waves until it sits “safely” under a rock. If you want to fish from rocks and cliffs, you should keep an eye on the dangers and be careful accordingly. Especially the sides of the islands, which are not protected from the waves by other islands, are extremely windy and also capricious see above “Safety when fishing in the Canary Islands”.
Fishing equipment for the Canary Islands
For spin fishing
Basically you are well advised to use rods with a casting weight of around 20-80 g. On the 4000`er-5000`er reel then comes a 20 lb line (~0.23 braided line). As leader 1-1,5 m 0,50`er Fluorocarbon or FC coated material is announced, not necessarily because of the carrying capacity but much more because of the many rocks and especially the teeth of the robbers. If you like it for sure, you can go even higher or use a very short steel leader of 10 cm. Blue fish have such sharp teeth that pike cannot keep up with them.
If you just want to cast such small jigs and plugs during the day, you can of course take a lighter rod, but don’t get your hopes up for big fish.
For bottom fishing
If you’re not going on holiday with your whole tackle, you can use your spinning rod here. Specialists go out at night with heavy surf rods and multi-reels with whole sardines as bait for rays, conger and sharks. But if you just go in the evening, you can fish more easily. But you are never safe from big fish.
For float fishing
Here you can of course fish more easily again a rod with a casting weight of up to 30 g is sufficient. But of course you can also use your spinning rod for allround fishing.
Boat charter on the Canary Islands
Fishing boats can be chartered in many harbours and cost between 70 and 100 € for half-day trips with trolling and bottom fishing. Night fishing is especially recommended for big fish hunters, because with reasonable guides a good fish is guaranteed. This often costs a little more, but is at least worth an experience.
For experienced boat anglers who don’t necessarily want to troll for bonitos or fish for sharks and rays at night I wouldn’t recommend these tours.
Species of fish in the Canary Islands
Unfortunately I cannot list all the species of fish that are found in the Canary Islands from Lanzarote to La Gomera and I don’t know all of them. This is why I limit myself here to frequent and worthwhile species.
Amberjack (Amberjack) One of the strongest sport fish, which can be caught from the shore here and there. Stronger fishing gear required. Amberjacks love speed jigs.
Bonito: The Atlantic Bontio occurs all year round and can also be caught from the shore in deeper places. The fish love extremely fast and jerky baits. You crank with maximum speed on your high speed reel? Don’t worry the Bonito is faster than your lure.
Bluefish: Not catchable in every month. Unfortunately the fish spawn off the coast of Morocco and then disappear off the Canary Islands. Poppers work particularly well on this species, which are sometimes left standing for a few seconds between the pops or are only slowly cranked. Otherwise Bluefish go also on fish pieces or whole bait fish.
Barracudas can be found and caught on the Canary Islands all year round. For saltwater conditions they love slowly guided plugs, which can be very garish in the morning and evening.
Lizardfish are very common and go for anything smaller than them. Culinary probably not so great and rather a case for catch and release. At first sight they are easy on the body shape with the. Petermännchen at first sight.
Goldmakrele or Mahi Mahi: At certain places on the Canary Islands also catchable from the shore.
White seabream (Saddle seabream) can be found almost everywhere and bite on all listed lures when fishing at the bottom and pose fishing. The fish taste exceptionally good.
Garfish can also be caught almost all year round, they have sharp teeth and will tear up your too thin leader. Two species of garfish can be found in the Canary Islands and according to some locals these fish do not taste very good here. Too bad I found Mediterranean garfish extremely tasty.
Mullet can be found almost everywhere and like everywhere else they are quite difficult to catch. Thin fluorocarbon leaders are almost obligatory. Best bait is pieces of bread or dough on a small hook.
Mermen are beautiful fish that bite on small lures on the bottom and pose fishing.
Mackerel are usually difficult to catch from the shore, but can get you on the hook. They are the main food of the big predators.
Red Snapper are great food fish and bite almost everywhere.
Scorpionfish like rocks and are territorial in their hiding place. These beautiful fish go for nature and artificial bait.
Big Game fish
Big Game fish are also present in the Canary Islands. From Marlin, various species of tuna to Wahoo and Giant Grouper, many big fish are represented, even if only seasonal.
The best times for fishing are June and October November. January and February are among the worst. However, depending on the annual temperatures, the times can also change.
Poisonous and dangerous fishes on the Canary Islands
As everywhere, there are also some fishes on the Canary Islands, which you should watch out for. One is never safe from surprises in the widths of the Atlantic.
Petermännchen: also the Petermännchen, which lives here with us, can be found on sandy ground in the Canary Islands. It has poison glands on its first dorsal fin and thorns on its gill caps. Together with the rays, it is one of the most dangerous fish in the Canary Islands. By the way the parsley is an excellent food fish
The scorpion fish is also at home here and should only be released from the hook with long pliers.
Puffer fish are known to cause severe poisoning when eaten the wrong way, which treacherously occurs days after eating. The Japanese pufferfish has also been found here in the Atlantic Ocean for a few years and can be caught quite often. Don’t worry about releasing the hook, except when consumed, the fish are completely harmless.
There are numerous rays from large to small. Very common here are stingrays, like butterfly rays and the extremely dangerous eagle ray. The fish usually bite at night in sandy places not even far from the shore. Whole fish pieces or fresh bonito is the lure of choice. The fish are also sometimes happy to 120 kg+ ! So under a proper multi reel with 200 lb line you don’t really need to try
Morays and Conger: Even if their bite is not necessarily poisonous, the bite power of these little creatures is enormous, so here is a warning. These fish usually bite like rays at night on all fishy baits in all rocky places.
Sharks there are also many different species that these fish have sharp teeth should be known to everyone.
You have been to the Canary Islands and have something interesting to write about? Or do you have further questions ? Just write me a comment, I am looking forward to it!