Article by João Mota
Who would think that they can have a blast finding rainbows in local streams in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean 700km west from Morocco? Just crazy! Well, on Madeira Island we can!
My trout history began with fly fishing more than a decade ago. For a couple of years I even was a fly fishing guide. During the period, I had the good fortune to meet plenty of nice folks and to stay friends with a couple of them to this day! One of them, a German guy named Tom introduced me to the tenkara way! He was the kind of mate that without hesitation left two rods behind, a Tenkara USA Sato and a Greyson, saying, “João, I think you might like tenkara, enjoy!”
Those are probably the most used set ups that I have. Not only for the fun, but also for the ease that is tenkara fishing! (I might still use my self-wrapped Kabuto 8´3# fly rod from time to time, just to say hi to that marvelous white blank.)
During the late 1950’s the government thought that it was a good idea to have trout on the island for tourism purposes, and even made a different legislation from the Portuguese mainland. 70 years have passed, the idea remained only an idea yet the trout remain, with some occasional stocking and mostly wild fish. These trout inhabit (probably) all streams on Madeira Island due to the levada (man-made water channels that transport water from the north all over the island). Madeira has approximately 2000km of levadas.
And the best part? Well, I can say without hesitation that in more than 10 years of fishing I’ve only encountered one other guy fishing at the same time. What about that? Can you say the same?
Madeira Island has several mountain streams, some in the north and some in the south. Normally, it’s always fresher at the north. However, all are different. Some are buried deep in the laurel forest, with magical mists and old trees peeking through an all green blanket. Some streams are in deep valleys where the sun fights to appear, while others are in what almost resembles a moonscape with big bare boulders.
But they all have the same thing in common, the trout. Each one has trout, some filled with small 10cm trout, some with just a few bigger ones, however there are no 60cm trophies over here… well, you never know…
I think you’ll just have to come by and find out. Give a warn if you visit, I sure would love a partner for my lonely walks at the nearby stream.
João Mota is a Portuguese Navy guy, based in Madeira Island. He’s also an angler converted to the tenkara way a few years ago… Follow him on Instagram @k2yak
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