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Blue Marlin Big Game Fishing | Madeira


Tour code: MAD001  

Blue Marlin fishing in Madeira has for many years been the go-to place for many specimen hunters who dream of landing that Marlin of a lifetime, a ‘Grander’ a Blue Marlin the exceeds 1000lb. Madeira produces each year more fish approaching this size than many other countries around the world. Their amazing average size Blue Marlin is around 700lb, that is an amazing size average. Madeira enters the Blue Marlin World Cup each year and has taken the prestigious trophy on more than one occasion, it truly is the Marlin hunters paradise of the world.


The Island of Madeira is located in the Atlantic Ocean a mere 621 miles from Lisbon, this vibrant, sub-tropical Island is lapped by the warm waters of the gulf stream and benefits from comfortable warm summers and very mild winter temperatures making this an ideal all year round holiday retreat.

For the travelling sport fishermen, the conditions couldn’t get much better for the summer months between May and October brings with it an abundance of Atlantic Blue Marlin, with July and August being the peak times and then a good run in September of the bigger fish. In the winter months from February to late April when the waters are cooler you will see a good run of Giant Bluefin Tuna and Big Eye Tuna which regularly get caught. Average sized Giant Bluefin runs between 300 to 600lb and is generally caught further out than the Marlin.

Madeira has built its history in the Marlin world over a very short time but with huge success. The fishery was discovered back in the 1970s when supposedly Dr Antonio Ribeiro was the first person to catch a Blue Marlin of Madeira, this fish weighed 740lb. Apparently his two sons Roberto and Joe still religiously fish for Blue Marlin and carry on the legend of their father.


The main Blue Marlin season in Madeira runs from May to October and has a huge average catch of around 700lb which is music to a sport anglers dreams. Around one in ten Marlin exceed the magical 1000lb bracket and is what attracts so many Marlin hunters to Madeira each year.

This Island is made up of volcanic rock which rises from the sea bed given the fishing grounds that surround the island the perfect habitat to attract the Blue Marlin. Within 5 minutes of leaving the marina, you will be fishing as the depths straight from the island is deep meaning you do not waste any time during your day travelling to faraway fishing areas.

Once the boat leaves the marina a spread of artificial lures will be put out in a formation using the outriggers, normally there will be two outside rods and two centre rods along with some teasers. The rods included in your boat package are top of the range Shimano and Penn rods built specifically for Marlin fishing and come complete with big game multipliers loaded with mono. All lures are also included but if you have a favourite you would like to try then simply as the captain as he will be more than happy to help rig it up. Fishing is normally around 8hrs per day and picks up and drop off will be discussed when you arrive.

The Balancal Game boat is powered by twin-engine motors and is suitable for up to 8 people and has a flybridge with covered helm. An original Pompanette fighting chair all the way from Florida is positioned at the stern to take the heat from any Marlin fight you may get.


You will also find the best Mid-Atlantic big game fishing crew and equipment to be found anywhere in Madeira. For experienced anglers, or for those wishing for an introduction to big game fishing, under their careful instruction, you can learn to experience the thrill of the rod and reel while doing battle with your Blue Marlin. Our boat is fully equipped for all sport fishing requirements and ready for you to cruise the bountiful waters of Madeira.

If you have any questions on the Blue Marlin fishing holidays we offer then contact us in the office, our experienced team will be happy to help you with any queries you have. Additionally, you can request a free brochure.




Casa Velha do Palheiro

Casa Velha do Palheiro is set in the hills of the Palheiro Estate and is one of the best hotels on this stunning Island. Built-in the 18th century as a hunting lodge, now it is a 5-star country house ideally located for many visitors, where you have direct access to a world-famous golf course. The hotel grounds are stunning and have been landscaped to the highest standard and, once you have spent a break at this little piece of paradise, you will come back year after year.

The Hotel

The hotel is a member of the Relais & Châteaux establishment and comes with 33 rooms and 5 suites each room is very carefully decorated in its own unique style. Each guest room in the hotel conveys the history, beauty and elegance of the Palheiro Estate. The hotel has been in the family for over 200 years and you will get to embrace the family tradition. Each high-quality room combines classic, bespoke design and is appointed to the highest standards of comfort and luxury.

Each room is furnished with dark coloured hardwood furnishings and floral patterned drapes and quality fresh bed linen. Large mirrors and stunning framed prints of rare floral art completes the décor of each room. All the guestrooms at the Casa Velha do Palheiro have en-suite bathrooms are equipped with hairdryers and a tasteful heated towel rail. The rooms also benefit from a widescreen TV with 30 channels, central heating, air conditioning units, room safe, minibar and a direct dial telephone.

Food & Drink

The restaurant at the hotel benefits from stunning views of the landscaped gardens and manicured lawns to the rear of the property. The room is decorated in light shades of peach and has been designed to embody the comfort of country living. The elegant mahogany tables set on the stylish smooth wooden floors of the restaurant come complete with the very best polished silverware and each table is completed with a spray of fresh flowers which give colour and fragrance.

Breakfast is an impressive continental buffet-style arrangement with a huge array of freshly baked pastries, assorted jams and spreads, cold meats and fresh fruit and juices. On offer at breakfast is your more traditional full English breakfast and guests can even order from a unique menu of eggs cooked to order and served in varies ways including fried, poached and scrambled. We can not imagine a finer way to start your day

For your evening meal a choice of the finest gourmet cuisine is matched by an enviable selection of Portuguese and international wines.

On Location

At the hotel, there is a very tasteful and charming spa retreat with many different treatments on offer. From various massages to beauty treatments all have been carefully selected to treat your mind body and soul.

Set within the magnificent Palheiro Estate and lying adjacent to the five-star Madeira Island Hotel Casa Velha do Palheiro – a Relais & Châteaux property – the 18-hole, par 72 championship golf course meanders through a pristine environment of maritime pine and botanical woodland embroidered with lush, sub-tropical vegetation.

At nearly 500 m (1640 ft) above sea level, the location is blessed with dramatic views of Madeira’s mountainous skyline and the vast Atlantic Ocean. Nestling below just 10 minutes away is Funchal, the island’s capital.


Board: Bed & breakfast
Rooms: Single and double rooms
Telephone: In room
Internet: Free WiFi
Laundry: Chargeable
Power: 230 volt
Air Conditioning: Throughout hotel
Meals: Restaurant
Alcohol: Chargeable
Cards Accepted: Credit & Debit card
Cash Accepted: Euros
Species Information
Blue Marlin
Season: May to September
Peak: June to July
Weight: 400lb to 1100lb
Average Weight: 550lb
White Marlin
Season: May to September
Peak: June to August
Weight: 40lb to 100lb
Average Weight: 55lb
Big Eye Tuna
Season: January to August
Peak: May to July
Weight: 30lb to 160lb
Average Weight: 75lb


The below itinerary is only a suggested one, as we have daily flights departing from the UK, therefore should you wish to extend your stay with either more fishing days or free days, the itinerary below can be tailored to suit.


Day 1:

Depart UK (alternative routes available)
Arrive Funchal.

On arrival a representative from the Palheiro Estate will be waiting for you in the arrivals hall, they will then escort you to Casa Velha do Palheiro where you will spend the next few days staying. Once you have checked in to the hotel and been shown to your room, the rest of the day is free for you to either relax or explore. There is a world-renowned golf course on site which guests of the hotel are allowed to use.

Overnight accommodation: Casa Velha do Palheiro (Twin room) B/B

Day 2: Fishing Day

After breakfast, you will be transferred down to Funchal Marina where your boat captain and crew will be waiting to take you for full days Big game fishing. You will have the sole use of the boat so however many people are in your party will be allowed on board. As this is mainly a Marlin fishing holiday, you will be taken out each day in search of the elusive and super hard fighting Blue Marlin. The crew will rig the rods up for you and position them on the outriggers in their favourite patterns. You are more than welcome to assist them with this if you feel confident enough.

Overnight accommodation: Casa Velha do Palheiro (Twin room) B/B

Day 3: Fishing Day

Fishing is conducted from our custom-built Sports boat that is rigged with top of the range fishing equipment. The captain and crew will work the lures to maximize the chances of raising a billfish or two, swapping the lures around during the day all dependant on light levels. The Captain and deckhand have been fishing these waters for many years and know everything there is to know about increasing your chances whilst out on the water. After a full day fishing, you will be transferred from the marina back to your accommodation.

Overnight accommodation: Casa Velha do Palheiro (Twin room) B/B

Day 4:

The hotel reception will contact you during the week to arrange a time to be taken back to the airport for your return flights. Please make sure that all hotel bills have been paid and you are at reception on the agreed time

Depart Funchal
Arrive UK


Remember that Sportquest Holidays' services are completely FREE! When you book a trip with Sportquest Holidays, you never pay more than when you book directly with the lodge and flights independently.

Start Date End Date Days Nights Fishing Angler Non-Angler Availability Notes
01/05/2022 31/05/2022 4 3 2 £1,608 On Request Sold Out N/A
01/06/2022 30/06/2022 4 3 2 £1,790 On Request Enquire Now N/A
01/07/2022 31/07/2022 4 3 2 £1,790 On Request Enquire Now N/A
01/08/2022 31/08/2022 4 3 2 £1,790 On Request Sold Out N/A
01/09/2022 30/09/2022 4 3 2 £1,790 On Request Enquire Now N/A
01/05/2023 31/05/2023 4 3 2 £1,835 On Request Enquire Now N/A
01/06/2023 30/06/2023 4 3 2 £1,835 On Request Enquire Now N/A

Price Notes

Prices are based on two adults sharing transfers, fishing and accommodation (unless otherwise stated) and are correct at the time of going to press. Subject to time of year or date and currency fluctuations, these prices may fluctuate slightly due to flight price increases or fuel surcharge.

Holidays or flights booked with Sportquest Holidays Limited are protected by the Civil Aviation Authority by our ATOL bond (Number 6371). ATOL protects you from losing your money or being stranded abroad. It does this by carrying out financial checks on the firms it licenses and requiring a guarantee, called a bond.

What's Included

  • All international flights
  • All transfers to and from Casa Velha do Palheiro and Funchal airport
  • All accommodation as per itinerary
  • All transfers to and from Marina and Casa Velha do Palheiro
  • State of the art big game fishing boat
  • Professional deckhand
  • 2 days fishing
  • Bait and tackle
  • Lunch and soft drinks whilst fishing

What's Excluded

  • Personal holiday insurance
  • Personal items
  • All meals
  • Local tips


  • Additional days fishing

  • Hotel Upgrades

Price Supplements

  • If your group size is smaller or larger than the standard please contact a member of the Sportquest Holidays team who will then give you an up to date price

Price Match Promise

We are so confident that our packaged prices are the best available and offer great value for money.

If, however, you find an identical holiday available with any other fully bonded Tour Operator at a lower price, we will match that price.

Financial Security

Holidays or flights booked with Sportquest Holidays Limited are protected by the Civil Aviation Authority by our ATOL bond (Number 6371). ATOL protects you from losing your money or being stranded abroad. It does this by carrying out financial checks on the firms it licenses and requiring a guarantee, called a bond.

Tour Notes


A machine-readable passport with at least 6 months before expiry. No visa for UK citizens required.

Medical Requirements

No vaccinations currently required

Please Note

All details of visa and medical requirements are correct at time of press however please check these requirements for changes.

Departure tax

There is no departure tax from Madeira

Flight Route & Flight Time

UK – Funchal (approx 4 hrs)

Baggage Allowance

Your actual allowance is based on both which airline you are flying with and also what class of seat you are travelling in. Normally in the economy it is 1 checked bag, Premium Economy / Business 2 checked bags, First 3 checked bags. In addition to your checked bags, you are also allowed 1 cabin bag and either 1-laptop bag or ladies handbag. The actual size and weight limit for bags are dependent on the airline. We, therefore, recommend that once your flights are booked you check on the airline’s website for the up to date allowances.

If your itinerary includes private light aircraft or helicopter flights we will advise you on your baggage and weight allowance.

Transfer Time

Funchal airport – Casa Velha do Palheiro (approx 20 mins)

Questions & Answers

Where is the destination?

The Island of Madeira is located in the Atlantic Ocean a mere 621 miles from Lisbon, this vibrant, sub-tropical Island is lapped by the warm waters of the gulf stream and benefits from comfortable warm summers and very mild winter temperatures making this an ideal all year round holiday retreat.

Where will I fish?

You will be fishing in the waters surrounding Madeira, these turbulent Atlantic waters are the perfect place to find monster Marlin and with the steep drop-offs directly in front of the Island, no time is wasted getting tot he fishing grounds.

How long does it take to reach the fishing grounds?

The fishing starts as close as 2 miles out so there is no time wasted motoring out to the grounds. The deep drop off where the Billfish cruise is only short steam from the harbour if there are known shoals of Tuna that are feeding then somedays you may be travelling up to an hour to reach them.

What fish will I catch?

This holiday is predominantly a Blue Marlin fishing holiday where you will be trolling for some of the monster Blue Marlin that inhabit these waters, the chance of a grander (1000lb+) fish is very high here. Along with all of the above, if you decide to fish the many reefs you will also catch many different types of snappers plus the very hard fighting Amber Jacks which grow to a very good size. At certain times of year Tuna and Wahoo can also be caught here.

How many fish will I catch?

This all depends on the chosen species you wish to target, the weather and the time of year. When chasing big Blue Marlin it may be days before a Marlin is hooked but when this happens it should be classed as an anglers life long dream. These fish are very big and chasing big fish does not come easy, but they are out there and the only way to catch one is to put the time in.

How will I fish?

On your offshore fishing days, the boats will head off to the steep drop-offs where the predator’s patrol. You will be mainly trolling artificial lures and teasers, then once you have a Billfish in the spread the deckhand will pull the lure in so you can cast a bait to the Billfish. Seeing a Billfish strike at close quarters is an unreal experience.


Do the guides speak English?

All the captains and deckhands speak very good English.

Who is best suited to this destination?

This destination is perfect for those who wish to try and achieve that ultimate Marlin, the Grander. You certainly do not need to be an expert big game angler as the deckhands will take great care of you. The fishing in Madeira is best suited to people who have managed to catch smaller Marlin from other parts of the world and are looking for that shot of a real one.

What skill level is required?

This destination suits anglers of all abilities from first time big game anglers to the most experienced.

How physically demanding is this trip?

If you choose to troll then it’s not that physical because when you hook a fish you can sit in the fighting chair and let the boat do the work or you can stand toe to toe with the fish and battle it out. Fights can last anything from 30 minutes to over 3 hours so being generally fit can help with fatigue.

When is the best time to go?

The season is from the end of April to November with June and July the best two months as this is when the big Marlin run. Whenever you decide to travel then we highly recommend looking at a moon phase calendar. We would recommend the time leading up to a ‘new moon’ as the predators will feed more during the day than the night.

How do I get there?

We normally fly people direct from the UK. You will be met by our representative who will transfer you the short journey to your hotel.

What is the accommodation like?

The Casa Velha del Palheiro is a beautiful hotel located in the foothills of Funchal. The hotel has been lovingly restored from an 18th-century hunting lodge and is now fully integrated into the 120 hectares Palheiro Nature Estate with its own par 72 championship golf course, a fully-serviced spa with indoor and outdoor pools, and over 20 kilometres of nature trails, birdwatching, restaurants, bars and even a tea house.

What is the food like?

The food at Casa Velha del Palheiro is very good, fresh and produced from local products. If there is something you fancy that isn’t on the menu then simply ask as the chefs and staff will try their hardest to make it happen.


Does the hotel provide fishing tackle?

The tackle that is provided when out on the boats is of a very good standard.

Is internet and phone signal available?

Phone signal is available and the Wifi at the resort is free.

Are there other activities available?

Yes, they can organise a day golfing on the onsite range, there are a spa treatment area, gym and several tennis courts. There is also a swimming pool.

How much does it cost?

We offer the complete package including all flights and transfers. To view, all prices and availability click the “Dates & Prices” tab above.

Alternatively, if you wish to arrange all your own travel arrangements we can book just the lodge and fishing for you.



Caught 2 Marlin on the first day and the first fish was estimated at 500kg and the second fish was 300kg

Reply from Sportquest Holidays

Hi John

Thank you for the great feedback.

Those are some truly giant Marlin and some great catches.

Tight lines



Everything went smoothly, the flight, transfers, hotel and the fishing was 1st class. I think Sportquest have got it spot on and I can not fault them

Reply from Sportquest Holidays

Hello Gavin, thanks for taking the time to send us your feedback. The skipper we use in Madeira is one of the best and will always try his hardest to catch your target fish. So glad you want to go back and will try and catch up with you as soon as possible

All the best



Dear Sportquest


I know that marlin are far from easy to catch and those above 600lb, even more difficult!

On my two previous trips to Madeira I have dropped two whites and a blue before we had truely become acquainted. However, that all changed this year.

I arrived to find that my first day had been cancelled due to bad sea conditions and my second day was cut short due to an unseasonal storm coming in from the west.

The crew, Salamao and David, apologised profusely and offered to do extra hours and give another day to cover lost time. I can't praise these guys highly enough. They provided great effort and knowledge and looked after myself, as the angler, and my partner, as a passenger, fantastically well.

On the alternative day (to cover the cancellation) I hit two marlin, one of 750lb that shed the hook about 10m from the boat, and a real monster that was estimated at 900lb+ and fought for over 90 minutes, of which 30 minutes+ was at the back of the boat. There was some great greyhounding and a lot of water was displaced.

We had the leader three times but David was totally unable to bring the fish's head up. She just went side to side at the back of the boat. On one occassion almost pulling David through the game door. Unfortunatley all the side to side movement eventually wore through the hook link but we did see a truely huge tail and a pectoral fin longer than my arm!

On my second day of fishing I hooked and successfully released a 650lb fish. We released her very quickly as she was showning real signs of exhaustion and stress but she swam away strongly. Shortly after the release we had another take, this time from a fish of around 700lb, which ran long and hard before going straight down in 1000m+ of water. To avoid killing the fish the captain (Salamao) back down on her and I fought it slowly to bring her up a metre at a time. Unfortunately, she shed the hook before anybody touched the leader but at least she swam away strongly.

On my third day I had yet another fish (800lb) which fought well for about 45 minutes but really came into it own when David grabbed the leader. She really danced at the back of the boat and provided great photo opportunities!

This was a really great trip and the results were way past what I could have hoped for. Five marlin over 600lb hooked in three days is good by any standards. In addition, we had factored in enough time to enjoy the rest of the island, which is really beautiful, and managed to find a beer festival in Funchal (only the second one to be held on Madeira), which to any beer-loving fisherman was a truly awesome find after they've lost a day and a half fishing time.

Thanks to all the Sportquest Team, the hotel staff (very good hotel and food!) and of course the boat crew. They were truly great!

Chris Jones

Reply from Sportquest Holidays

Hi Chris

Thank you for the amazing feedback.

It sounds like you had an excellent holiday and all those hook ups from big marlin!! Wow, that is phenomenal fishing.

Hopefully we will get to chat soon.

Tight Lines



Excellent - Only comment hotel long way out of town - 30 Euro return - no bar near by!!

We managed to get a double hook up of 2 x 650lb Blue Marlin...... How lucky we landed. The deck hands and skipper worked so hard and is very rare to land two at the same time. Massive thanks Sportquest and boat team for making our dreams come true

Reply from Sportquest Holidays

WOW....... a huge congratulations to both of you and a massive well done to the crew as I know how hard this can be when to huge Marlin are on the rods wanting to go different directions. That must of been some sight and I do believe you guys have become famous on youtube.... Thanks for your feedback

Tight lines



We had an absolute amazing time. We were not fortunate to hook onto a Marlin over the course of our three days fishing but that's why it's called fishing and not catching. Our guide Salamao Lopes on board the Balancal was an absolute gentleman from start to finish. You are dealing with a really good person and fisherman here so I'd advise to keep working with him into the future.

Waiting time in London Gatwick to Funchal & Dublin was longer than I would have hoped for. I was on one of the last flights out of gatwick and ended up being in the airport for around 8 hours. Not ideal after a lovely relaxing holiday.
My brothers flight from Lisbon to Toronto was missed due to a delay in Funchal and was not possible once he landed in Lisbon so that was unfortunate too but what can ya do.

Overall, we were very happy and I'll be in touch again in two years time to book another trip of a lifetime. Thanks for all your help.


Reply from Sportquest Holidays

Hi Patrick,

Thank you so much for taking the time to fill out your feedback form and it was good to talk with the other day. Such a shame about your Marlin, next time.

I will pass on your lovely comments about the skipper I am sure they will be pleased to read it.

All the best and catch up with you guys soon.



We had a good holiday again in Madeira although the flight back home took 32 hours due to strong winds and the plane that should have picked us up could not land. In all fairness to Jet 2 they did find us a bed for the night and provide vouchers at the airport where some had to spend the night at the airport.

The fishing was generally poor for the whole fleet, there were 2 guys on the boat for three days before me and they did not see a fish. On my second day another boat had a 700lb blue which was the first since the 18th July for the whole fleet. On my last day the crew told me they were out for 4 hours the following day and they landed a 700lb Blue. thats fishing looking at their web site looks like the Marlin have been very thin over the end of July.

Reply from Sportquest Holidays

Hi Steve, such a shame about the huge delays but Jet2 sound like they helped you out.

Its funny you say that about the fishing, I was under the impression that the Marlin fishing was redhot and was the best they had been having for years! But like you say thats fishing and I know how much you love Madeira. Maybe next year!

Tight lines



Best moments - hooking a 900 lb Marlin!!!!

Filmed and has appeared on your website & on youtube with 2000plus hits!

Hotel Palheiro wonderful 5* hotel with 5* cuisine + service also offering golf on its own course as well as horse riding and free transport to & from Funchal from its 1500 feet above sea level.

Reply from Sportquest Holidays

Hello Peter, I am so pleased that you managed such a dream catch. That really is a fish of a lifetime and something that a lot of people can only dream of.

The hotel we use is very good and we only ever get excellent reviews and thank you for taking the time tom fill out your feedback form.

It was great to talk to you when you got back and hopefully you would like to return back to Madeira another time

Kind regards



Another relaxing stay at cash Velhia.

The food and service were excellent as usual

The fishing was a little too relaxing but I did hook a marlin late of the first day which was estimated around 800LB shame it came off as I did not get the chance to admire it up close.

I am sure we will return next year but this time for longer.

Reply from Sportquest Holidays


It was great catching up with you and shame that the fish shed the hook, after wanting one for so long. It will come next time as this time you came so close.

Also glad your partner also enjoyed the trip as madeira is a great destination for everyone.

If you wish to return just opt in and see me in the office at anytime.

Thank you for your continued custom.

Regards Peter


Another excellent stay in Funchal, Madeira at Casa Velha do Palheiro Estate's Quinta or Manor House Hotel. 5 Stars does not do its justice. It is beautiful and it's gardens exquisite. Food at hotel excellent, staff very friendly and go out of their way to assist you. Third visit now, and they remember us each time.

Reply from Sportquest Holidays

Hi Kathleen, what a great review and thank you so much for taking the time to send it to us. We believe these feedback forms are are huge help to assist people in making decisions on their holiday plans.

All the best



A real nice trip

Reply from Sportquest Holidays


Thank you for taking the time to complete the feedback scores as it is very much appreciated.

I look forward in assisting you both again for your next fishing adventure, plus seeing a copy of all your pictures.


Hotel was better than expected although a brochure/leaflet about it before travel would be excellent.

Food + drinks good + despite being 5 star was good value.

Voucher for meal a little confusing as I thought the evening meal when fishing was included, so was the voucher extra or that meal?

Easy Jet flights cramped as seats have no leg room.

Travel wallet gift nice but not needed - a fishing T-shirt would have been better.

Reply from Sportquest Holidays


Thank you so much for the feedback and also your great comments. We do not have separate leaflets for the accommodation, however in future we could direct booked customers to the accommodations own website which has lots more details.

In relation to the meal voucher, sorry if that confused you both as the evening meal is just a complementary meal on the first nights fishing, so i will look at that and try to make this clearer to customers.

Yes Easyjet flights are cramped, we do have better airlines but it does increase the price considerably plus tend to be indirect flights via Portugal.

We are looking at expanding the free gifts as we have lots of customers who travel with us again and again so keep sending them the same free gift is pointless. So what this space.

I have sent you a private e-mail with a link so you can upload all the holiday pictures to us.

Again a huge thank you for your comments and custom which is very much appreciated, we can not do what we do with out customers.

Regards Peter


After the successful previous 2 years angling it was a bit of a disappointment that this year we did not see a single fish. This was just not the hotel boat the Balancal suffering, but the whole of the Funchal fleet. Even on the days not fished, no flags were seen on the boats to note any catches. So the highlight was Dolphin watching even with the crew trying their hardest to find a fish.
The water clarity was excellent, however the feedback was the water temperature 21 - 22 degrees which is a couple of degrees below the optimum for Marlin, so if there were any fish around, they were deep and not inclined to feed.
That's fishing - no guarantee. But over the three trips, Marlin catch rate is still pretty good, so will be probably booking again next year.
Casa Velhado Palheiro was excellent again and we would go back even without the fishing.

Reply from Sportquest Holidays

Hi Stephen, thanks so much for taking the time and effort to fill out and send back your feed back form. Such a shame you didnt keep up your very lucky streak you have been having at Madeira. To have 9 Marlin to 900LB in only 3 visits is probably the best effort we have ever heard of. Hopefully it will get back to normal for you next year and you can add a couple more to your tally

All the best



Sadly on this occasion we failed to catch but then that's fishing. We did raise a couple of White Marlin on the second day but they dropped the lure without being hooked up. I believe other boats had a similar problem with no marlin being caught while we were there.

The captain and crew tried everything in their power to put us on fish but sadly there were very few about. This may have been due to the lower than usual surface temperature, the wind had been in the North for some considerable time and prevented fishing around the Desertas due to increasingly choppy seas . However, the water temperature was on the rise so anybody fishing on the Thursday and Friday may have stood a better chance.

The organisation of the trip from start to finish was first class so I'd like to thank everybody involved. The hotel and their staff were brilliant. Even with no fish the hotel was incredibly relaxing and quiet and the food was excellent. The staff were probably the most helpful of any that I have experienced, anywhere in the world, and nothing was too much trouble.

If I could make one observation, it would be that a lack of air con did make the room a little stuffy (although very comfortable) but as this is an early 1800s hunting lodge I suspect that there may be issues around installing an air con system.

All in all, and in spite of no fish, this was a very well organised trip, wonderful accommodation and an excellent venue. I will certainly be looking forward to returning.


Reply from Sportquest Holidays


It was nice to catch up with you on the telephone. Thank you again for taking the time to complete the feedback. Sorry to hear that the big Blue Marlin did not put in an appearance, also a shame that the White Marlin did not stick when they hit.

At l;east you did see a bit of action over the 2 days fishing. The odds were not good for as you said the weather had cooled down the surface water which was making all the fishing hard.

You know what this means? A return trip to level the scores...

Thank you for your custom it is always appreciated and we look forward in assisting you again soon.

Regards Peter


Had 2 days fishing on Balancal in Madeira. The weather was lovely and the seas calm. On day one we had a strike on the big lure on the starboard side and the marlin missed but came up again on the shotgun lure. Unfortunately we did not get a hookup but had still had a nice day.
On day two we had another strike from a good sized white marlin but again no hookup. So the fishing gods did not deliver this time but all in all we still had a good time. Saw lots of whales and dolphins.
The crew and equipment on the Balancal are first class and so is the hotel. Would definately go again.

Reply from Sportquest Holidays

Hi John, Was great to chat to you again. Shame those fish did not get hold of the hook, but as you said thats Marlin fishing for you.

Look forward in dealing with you all again soon

Regards Peter


Casa Velha do Palherio offers a fantastic stay with excellent service from friendly staff. The location is within the Palherio Estate next to the golf course and gardens which offers a very peaceful and tranquil setting. The hotel has a good first rate restaurant offering a set or A la Carte menu. This is our second year and our intent is to book again for 2016 and would highly recommend a stay.

The hotel boat the Balancal offers fishing straight out from the harbour so no long distance travelling to the fishing grounds is required, so an early morning start is not required. The boat offers a good stable platform with excellent gear which is a bit over the top for the smaller species but the boat does carry some lighter gear which is used when the smaller species are about. This year we had slightly different weather with some cloud and haze and a wind from the South East which restricted the fishing to the South West end of the Island and it was clear on arrival that fish had been thin on the ground for some time. as well as some small Dorado over the three days fishing we had two hits. The first on the first day resulting in a 70lb White giving a spectacular air borne display even on the heavy gear. The second hit was on the third day as we had a fishless second day. A 1 hour 45 minute fight from the second hit saw a massive Blue at the boat and the weight was called at 900lb. A fish of a life time.

Booking for next year - six days over two years and seven Whites and two Blues.

Reply from Sportquest Holidays

Hey Stephen congratulations on the Blue Marlin, you have now had two great trips there and its no surprise that you are all ready making plans to return.

So glad that both you and your wife love the place, Madeira is a great island so much to see and do plus the people are very welcoming (Can not do enough for you)

As pr the chat on the phone when you have some dates lets get both Madeira and Cost Rica all confirmed up.

Tight lines Peter


Dear Peter,

Apologies for the delay in my reply to your feedback request - Currently I am away on business in the middle east.

I would like to say firstly that the holiday was really well organised, the hotel was simply faultless and provided an excellent standard of dining with a relaxed atmosphere - Perfect.

The fishing guide Claudio was superb and he tried relentlessly to get us amongst the fish on the first day's fishing, unfortunately we didn't catch but sighted Marlin approaching the lures. Sadly the fish appeared to be spooked, possibly by unusual vibration on the boat - But that's fishing, and the lack of takes may have been for any number of reasons.

Sadly on the second day the craft broke down in harbour, this appeared to be a relatively simple fault (starter motor solenoid), which the Captain was aware of from a previous starting failure? Thankfully, Claudio saved the day and managed to call in a favour from a friend (who gave up a family day out) and got Steven and I out fishing on another vessel for most of the day. Again a sterling effort from Claudio who has both of our sincerest thanks.

All in all a nice trip, however with holiday time being extremely precious, I would question the reliability of the boat and the contingency planning for the fishing package.. without Claudio's efforts we would have lost 50% of our fishing time, which ultimately was the main aim of the trip.

Kind regards,

Matt Baugh

Reply from Sportquest Holidays


Thanks for the feedback, shame the marlin only followed the lures and did not bite but on some days this is just the case and why its called fishing.

I was informed about the boat breakdown, unfortunately it turned out to be quite a big job and the boat was out of action for a few weeks. However like the case with you we did manage to secure a replacement boat. However i understand exactly the point you are making that if the boat breaks down on the actual day you are fishing there is always the chance we can not find a temporary replacement boat in time for your fishing day.

With out the additional expense of having a stand by boat at all times waiting in the dock we all have this issue.

When you get back to the UK after working away give us a call and we can then also look at what you guys fancy doing next time.


The hotel was lovely in every way.

The staff and food were great and the weather was just perfect. Although the hotel is a 15 minute trip from downtown Funchal, the hotel has it's own courtesy bus which makes life easy.

Although we are seasoned travellers we can't think that we have had better service from hotel staff anywhere.

The fishing was good with my friend Colin catching an 80lb white marlin and I caught a 300lb blue marlin.

All in all a fantastic trip.

Reply from Sportquest Holidays


Thank you for your feedback and great scores on all the services, It is so nice to hear two customers having a great holiday and a real testament that you do not think you have ever had better service anywhere else.

Also thank you for the pictures as its always nice to see customers catches.

Look forward in assisting you both again soon to some amazing adventures.

Kind Regards Peter


We had the most amazing week and came home thinking we had been a way for much longer. The accommodation, food, was to a very high standard and service was excellent.

The arrangements such as transfers were all as planned

The setting with the adjacent golf course and gardens was prefect for a stroll and although not that far from Funchal seamed a world a away from the hustle of the city.

Overall our expectations were superseded.

The only downside was Manchester airport and the endless waiting in queues.

7 marlin in 3 days 6 white to 60lbs 1 blue 250lbs great fishing loved the boat with a great crew.

Reply from Sportquest Holidays


What can we say but wow 7 marlin in three days what a great result, I look forward to the pictures.

So happy you all enjoyed the holiday and it was exactly if not even better than we said it would be.

It was a pleasure dealing with you and we look forward in managing your next adventure

Kind Regards Peter

Tony / Alison

Meals were fantastic as was the service the best we have ever

Location peaceful and gardens immaculate lovely golf course.

Four days fishing resulted in three small dorado one tuna two white marlin ..with one complete blank day

We saw Dolphins common and spotted - whales - minke fin and sperm most days.

All in all it is an excellent trip but the fish are hard to come by as Peter had informed us..but it's the chance of a big blue ...a fish of a lifetime....that is the luck of the draw and that's why it's fishing not catching.

Costa Rica spoiled us In comparison with the amount of fish.

Reply from Sportquest Holidays

Tony / Alison

Thank you for taking the time to complete your returning feedback form. Glad you enjoyed the holiday and the resort it is a wonderful place.

As I did suggest Madeira is a big fish destination, however you guys done very well for its not uncommon to have 4 days fishing with out a single bite. Having said that as you quite correctly stated you go to Madeira for the chance of a fish of a lifetime a huge huge Blue Marlin. This is what keeps bringing customer back again year after year. I have had them in Madeira to just over 800lb and boy that is one experience you never forget.

Looking forward in fishing with you both in January :)

Tight Lines Peter


I went on the 4 day fishing trip to Maderia. Managed to catch my first white Marlin and dorado which was great. Boat was well equipped and comfortable, crew knowledgeable and helpful. Hotel was a bit more up-market than I was expecting and the grounds and setting were beautiful and tranquil. I did not realise how good the hotel golf course was; spectacular views and well maintained. Wish I had arranged to stay an extra day for a round of golf! I hope to go again someday and hopefully catch something a little larger.

Reply from Sportquest Holidays

Hi Robert,

Thank you very much for your feedback form and it was great to have a quick chat today. It was such a shame you didn't manage to get a picture of your White Marlin but at least you got it to the boat.

The hotel is as you said, very good and is set amongst some fantastic gardens. Sorry we did not mention about the Golf maybe next time

Hope you like the look of the hosted Mexico trip next year and i will try my hardest to get you your Sailfish

Look forward to speaking to you again

All the best



Madeira is a short flight and the accommodation and Island were excellent; very friendly staff and people.

Although I have fished for tuna and kingfish in NZ and also in Australia, this was my first experience of "big game" fishing using 130lb class tackle. I found this very unusual: rather like holding a broom handle instead of a rod.

Constant trolling of lures can be boring. I was surprised that other methods (eg live baiting) were not an option.

Unfortunately for the days I was there the fishing was very slow but all hell broke loose at 4pm on the second (and my last) day when a massive fish (the guide estimated that it was 800lb+) took one of the surface lures. Alas the fish wasn't landed as it slipped the hook after about 10 mins fight.

The guide was excellent and very informative. He was far more upset than I was at losing the fish!

I think I will return to the hotel for a further attempt at catching a marlin.

Reply from Sportquest Holidays

Mr Ball

Thank you for taking the time to complete your feedback form. I am glad you liked the island and resort as you are correct everyone is very friendly. Shame about the fish on the last day as it only takes one fish to make that trip of a lifetime. With only two days fishing it is always hit or miss if you catch, but when you do they are always huge fish as this is what Madeira is famous for.

The tackle on our boats is 130lb test as you do really need these size rods and reels when Marlin fishing. The Marlin in Madeira will range from 600lb to over a 1000lb and they take some beating.

Thanks for the list of other trips you would like to do and I will talk to you about them on the phone.

Thanks for choosing Sportquest Holidays and we look forward in helping you with all your future holidays.

Kind Regards Peter


People need to be made aware that they may not catch anything in Madeira as we didnt. We saved very hard for this trip and was highly disappointed with the fishing. After 3 days of floating around on the sea not catching or seeing anything we were very ready to come home

The hotel was more of a couples hotel which if your team had asked then we as a group of four guys would of opted for something different.

I think you should check with your future customers a bit more in detail their actual requirements of the holiday they are booking

Sorry if this sounds like a moan but i have just returned to work and thought i would air my grievances

Look forward to your reply

Reply from Sportquest Holidays

Hi Nigel i am so sorry your holiday didnt live up to your expectations. Madeira is a hard destination for any angler. We always try to let customers know how hard it is and never hide this fact.

Madeira is having a good year in general and lots of people have caught so it was very unfortunate that you and your group didnt.

As for the Hotel, i have looked your booking up and noticed that Paul in the Office did actually send you a link to the Hotel so you could view it and didnt hear anything back so took that as you were happy with it.

Madeira is a very pretty island and is aimed mainly at couples they want to try and stay away from lots of bars and nightclubs, that we can not control. We have three different hotels to stay in now and hopefully if you choose to go back then you may find something a little more suitable next time

Hope this has helped with your comments




Well what can i say but a huge thank you for organising our 40th wedding anniversary. The flowers in the Hotel room were a real touch. Gary managed his Marlin i think he said it was around 600lb's which he has assured me is a big one

The hotel staff were very warming and made us feel special. The Island itself is stunning a little steep in places but very picturesque many great restaurants

Our warmest gratitude to all that was involved

Mr and Mrs Taylor

Reply from Sportquest Holidays

Sounds like you both had a fab time and we are so pleased Gary managed his Marlin

You have to thank Mel in the office for the flowers i shall pass on your thanks

Look forward to helping you again




We thought we would leave our feedback for future anglers. This really isn't the place to visit if you want lots of fish. We had 3 days fishing and saw one bill fish but that soon disappeared. The hotel was ok but there were better accommodation on the Island

I can see the potential in the place and have seen other reports on how good the fishing can be. Perhaps also look at offering other accommodation

I hope this helps other travellers to the Island

Reply from Sportquest Holidays

Hi Gerald, it was a real shame that you didnt catch, Madeira can be like that as we always warn people that it is a big fish destination and if you have never been Big Game fishing before then it probably isn't for you.

We have looked in to alternative accommodation and have now found some great Hotels that offer better services, we have kept the hotel you stayed in as we have had some great reviews in the past and i suppose it is personal preferences

We love feedback like this as it is important for future clients that they understand what a place is really like and we have never hidden the fact they Madeira is an easy Big Game destination in fact it probably is one of the hardest but if you do catch one then it will be big

Thanks for your comments and i hope we have answered you




Hi, just thought we would let you know how our trip went. It didn't start off very well as easy jet lost our bags…….. Luckily they turned up at the hotel the following day. We had 3 days fishing and we didn't even see a fish but i guess that is fishing as we have all been fishing else where and know that sometimes things do not go to plan. The crew on the boat worked very hard for us but it just seemed like everything was against us.

The hotel was good and the food was spot on, a little quiet for us but i guess next time we will request somewhere a little busier

All in all once we got our luggage back it was a great holiday and thanks for putting it together at such short notice

Reply from Sportquest Holidays

Hi Paul, thats such a shame about the bag going missing but at least it turned up and didn't inconvenience you too much. As mentioned when we spoke that madeira is a little like that sometimes. Sometimes there are lots of Marlin around then all of a sudden there are none. The week before you, there were 6 caught up to 700lb's

The hotel is a little quiet but a lot of people like that so next time we will look at putting you up in town

Look forward to helping you next year




Perfect holiday, now we can both enjoy our holidays as it suited us both. PS I did manage to slip out a 650lb Blue Marlin that made it that extra little special.

Reply from Sportquest Holidays

We did hear you had a big Blue and a very good job in landing such a huge fish. Madeira is a great choice for those who just want a short break with a couple of days fishing

How did Tracey get on on the boat? i Remember you mentioning that she suffered a little sea sickness hope everything was ok

Cant wait to see the pictures




What a great top captain; the first day we hooked up with a 750lb Blue Marlin. Imagine our surprise when 3 hours later we had another one on which if landed was estimated around the magic 1000lb mark. A big thank you all for two fantastic days.

Reply from Sportquest Holidays

Brian, do not worry about the 1,000lb fish as the capture of the 750 was a perfect result. Just gives you an excuse to go back and chase the one that got away. Kind Regards Paul


So good we went back 6 weeks later and guess what? It was even better, now the proud member of the 1000lb Blue club, Pure magic.

Reply from Sportquest Holidays

Congratulations Charlie and welcome to the club. So happy for you, I told you that it could do it for you. Where are we going to send you after that? Regards Peter


What a great island - makes such a difference to find a place that has not been over commercialised.

Reply from Sportquest Holidays

Julie, you are correct one of the nice things about madeira is the control they have on the island to keep it low key. happy that the whole group enjoyed your stay. If there is anything else we can help you with in the future do not hesitate to contact us directly. Regards Mel


Reading the Sportquest brochure, the page that really jumped out and grabbed me was the Marlin fishing in Madeira. I had never caught a Marlin before, but just had to give it a go and booked a couple of days at the end of August. Booking was very easy, a phone call and cheque in the post and Sportquest then took care of everything. On arrival at Funchal, a driver was waiting to take me to the hotel. It was then a 5 minute walk to the harbour to meet the skipper and the 3 anglers who had just fished for 2 days. It was bad news - no sign of any Marlin. After a great start to the season, things had slowed down. As a lifelong big fish hunter I know that things can change from one day to the next and all you need is 1 take for the fish of a lifetime.

With very deep water close in, it was great to be fishing within minutes and not having to motor for hours. We trolled with 4 big lures and at about 3pm on the first day, a Marlin followed one but didn't take. On the second day there was another follow on one of the short range rods and this time the reel started screaming. I have never seen line disappear from a reel so fast. I picked up the rod and by the time I was in the chair and had hooked up the harness, I was down to the backing. After what seemed like hours of pumping, I saw the fish through my polaroids and it was soon brought to the side of the boat. The captain said it was around 500. After unhooking, tagging and photographing, I watched my first blue marlin swim away - the biggest fish I have ever caught. The catch and release flags were then hoisted as we carried on fishing but no more takes were forthcoming. On return to the harbour, no other boats were flying the flags but a fish was lost by one of the others.

The hotel was excellent and after a days fishing it was great to dive into the pool for a swim to cool off.

There is nothing like a big fish for putting you on a high and I can't wait to get back next year in search of a grander. Regards Nick

Reply from Sportquest Holidays

Now thats the way to catch your first Blue marlin Nick. Happy that you had a great time from start to finish and thank you for the detailed feedback. See you again next year. Regards Peter


The hotel was lovely; the staff could not have been more helpful, everything beautifully clean. Food was amazing and so much! Expect to put on weight.

Lots of lovely extras such as afternoon tea, roses on the pillow at night, the bar staff were great and drinks not too pricey, the cocktails very drinkable.

Cannot fault anything at all.

Will be back as soon as we can

Reply from Sportquest Holidays

Linda, so happy for you both, also to talk to you on the telephone, I bet your husband could not believe the size of that Marlin. I will be more than happy to help you with a return trip. Regards Mel


My 15 year old son managed to catch an 850lb marlin which took him over one and a half hours to land and then it was released in a healthy condition. Thank you from both of us for a great holiday.

Reply from Sportquest Holidays

James, that is what makes our job worthwhile when customer return giving us stories like that, 15 years old and your first Blue Marlin at 850lb dream stuff. See you both back soon Regards Peter


Perfect holiday from start to finish, thank you and if anyone has ever wanted to fish for big Marlin, try this out the team at Sportquest are spot on.

Reply from Sportquest Holidays

Thank you for your such kind comments, it was a pleasure in dealing with you also. We look forward in assisting with your next fishing adventures. Paul

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