Marlin Expedition Cape Verde 2023 Preview

Take your angling skills to the advanced level with this blue marlin trip of a lifetime
A sport fishing team off the coast of Cape Verde, reeling in a large Atlantic Blue Marlin.
Blue marlin are the target species for the Marlin Expedition to Cape Verde. Hannes Ribbner

Marlin University is now Marlin Expeditions! We travel to the best big-game destinations on Earth, at peak times of the year, and teach the most cutting-edge techniques to catch billfish. Check out our 2024 expeditions.

The remote volcanic islands of Cape Verde—located off the northwestern coast of Africa—is a blue marlin fisherman’s dream, if you’re into landing some of the planet’s angriest fish, that is. It’s not for the faint of heart by any means, but Cape Verde does offer some of the most epic teaser bites you’ll ever witness.
Cape Verde is popular as a year-round blue marlin fishery but typically is ­considered in season from March through August, and possibly as late as October, depending on the year; the peak times are usually April through July. The structure to hold prey items is there, specifically on the Northwest Bank, where the seafloor rises from nearly 10,000 feet to a some 100-plus feet below the surface. The large females that often pass by these prolific islands are on their way to the breeding grounds not too far away, and Cape Verde serves up some good snacks to keep the girls well-nourished and moving.

With catch opportunities that can top up to 10 fish per day, you must first put on your big-boy pants and be willing to tackle the sometimes-nautical sea ­conditions. The middle of the Atlantic Ocean is no joke, but if your goal is to do battle with these hungry sea creatures, the chances of capitalizing on history is good, and the team at Marlin Expeditions has put together a trip that is sure to be like no other.
Perhaps you’ve caught a few billfish before, maybe even competed in some tournaments, or have attended a few Marlin Universities (now Marlin Expeditions) in the past. If so, this trip might be just the ticket you’re looking for. While Cape Verde is not exactly an ideal location for entry-level angling, it is an unbelievable location for a study in advanced angling and real-life fishing. In short, it’s ­perfect for the angler who is thirsty for a challenge.

The most productive marlin fishing here is by bait-and-switch. While pulling lures is also an acceptable tactic, the teaser fishing is ridiculous. Just ask the professional crewmen—or fish photographers—who line up for a chance to work on some of the best gameboats in sport fishing, with the captains who have more blue marlin talent in their pinky fingers than most will amass in a lifetime of sport fishing. If this type of experience is what you’re after, then you can’t miss this Marlin Expedition.

Read More: Check out other Marlin Expedition trips to destinations such as Guatemala, Panama, Costa Rica, Hawaii and more.

Slated for July 5-11, this seven-day adventure to Cape Verde on the northern island of São Vicente is limited to 16 anglers, and includes all charter fees and tips, accommodations at Oásis Atlântico Porto Grande, airport transfers, meals and beverages, a one-year subscription to Marlin, and a keepsake video of your trip. All you have to do is make sure your passport is up to date, grab some friends, sign up, and buy your airline ticket; Marlin Expeditions takes care of the rest.

So, if you’re ready for a trip you’ll likely never forget, and are excited to fish with some of the most passionate and saltiest blue marlin captains you’ve read about for years in the pages of Marlin, then buckle up for the best seven days of your life. These guys are standing by to put you on as many Cape Verde blues as they can, with pleasure. And you also might come face-to-face with a 1,000-pounder.

Meet the Captains

Capt. Zak Conde, Amelia, 44-foot Henriques

Pegged as possibly the best blue marlin fisherman in the world, Conde holds many world records, including the most blues caught in one season: 329 in 2012. Born in the Azores, Conde first started marlin fishing at the age of 19. He says that Cape Verde is one of the most consistent Atlantic blue marlin fisheries and is his ­favorite place to catch them.

Capt. Olaf Grimkowski, Andromeda, 46-foot Bertram

Perhaps one of the most competent marlin fishermen in the Atlantic, Grimkowski has landed several blue marlin over 1,000 pounds in his career and released too many to count. His background spans the usual big-­marlin hotspots, but one of his best Cape Verde memories includes the time he caught eight blues before 11 a.m. He’s been fishing in Cape Verde full time since 2004.

Capt. Marty Bates, Lá Onda Mila, 38-foot Henriques

One of the Atlantic’s top release captains, Bates is not only an accomplished captain, but he’s a fine wireman as well. His big-fish experience not only encompasses Cape Verde, but it also includes Hawaii, Australia, the Bahamas, North Carolina, Azores, Ghana, Ascension Island, the Canary Islands, Croatia, Costa Rica and Panama. If a marlin swims there, the chances are that Bates has fished it.

Capt. Luis Roque, Smoker, 37-foot Bertram

Born in Lisbon, Portugal, Roque studied arts and illustration in school, but he started fishing in Cape Verde in 2008 with captains such as Grimkowski, Bates, Les Gallagher, Ian Carter, and Louis Sougne. In 2015, he began a career with Atlantic Fishing Charter’s Matthias Henningsen, which included the marlin season in Ascension Island.

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