That’s right! The Madeira session marked the first Marlin University in history where the anglers didn’t miss a fish! Unfortunately, they also didn’t get a shot at one. In four days of fishing on our two boats, Margarita and Katherine B, I saw three flying fish. To say it was slow would be a monumental understatement. But here’s the kicker – we had a truly great trip. Seven of the eight students were returning clients – all tremendous folks who really love to have a good time – and the island of Madeira did the rest. Most all of the returning students brought their wives along, and all the ladies had a fabulous time touring while the boys fished.
It was easy fishing as well, with great food every day, deep-purple water and a light breeze that kept you comfortable throughout the day. The sun doesn’t come up until 7:30 a.m., so we didn’t start fishing until 10. Fishing starts as soon as you clear the breakwater, and we never saw anything more than a two-foot chop. Lines came out at 4:30 or 5 p.m., and it took us about 10 minutes to get back to the dock.
We pulled four big lures from tag lines on 130-pound tackle and unlimited rods – big-fish hunting at its finest. If a grander had decided to show itself, we would not have been outgunned.
Like most big-fish hunts, our trip was not successful as far as the fishing went; however, I think we all came away mesmerized by Madeira’s majestic beauty and its warm and friendly people.
I can’t tell you how many times I caught myself whispering out loud, “This place is so beautiful,” as we trolled in the lee of a 2,500-foot cliff.
And the cab drivers drive like the proverbial bats out of hell – which I really enjoy! They all have Mercedes Benz taxis, and they like to keep the pedal on the floor.
And if you like to look at old cars, Madeira is the place for you! Everywhere you look you see some slick European-styled Triumph, Jaguar or some such antique muscle car parked in the street. I could just imagine letting one of those babies rip through Madeira’s curving mountain roads.
While I don’t think that I’ll ever stage a Marlin University here again – we just can’t get the bites we need – I’d love to come back and fish with Capt. Peter Bristow and Capt. Januario Santos in this lovely setting. This is truly one place where catching the big one is just the gravy…