A guide to fishing in Madagascar

Constance Tsarabanjina, Madagascar
Reading Time: 4 minutes

The remote ocean to the northwest of Madagascar with its combinations of reefs, banks and drop-offs is a haven for large numbers of pelagic and reef fish.

Whether you dream of saltwater fly fishing for a Marlin, trolling for Dogtooth Tuna or trying your hand at the traditional Malagasy net casting, the waters of Madagascar are an angler’s paradise.

To make the most of your fishing holidays in Madagascar, we specifically prepared this guide. It will help you organise your next fishing trips in one of the best fishing spots in the Indian Ocean.

When is the best time to go fishing in Madagascar?

In general, fishing in Madagascar is good almost all year round, with the exception of February and March. The period from April to July is the peak season, when many more Sailfish and Marlin pass through the waters.

Fishing in Madagascar

Fishing in Madagascar

It’s also important to consider that Madagascar has a tropical climate, with two main seasons: the rainy season from November to April, and the dry season from May to October.

The best time for fishing depends on the type of fish you are targeting. Generally speaking, the dry season is more favorable for offshore fishing, while the rainy season is better for inshore fishing.

Some of the fish species that are available year-round are giant trevally, grouper, jobfish, dogtooth tuna, and sailfish

Big game fishing in Madagascar

Big game fishing in Madagascar is an exciting and challenging activity that attracts many anglers from around the world.

What makes it a premier destination for big game fishing is its unique combination of diverse marine life, geographical advantages, and year-round fishing opportunities.

Its location in the Indian Ocean, especially near the Mozambique Channel, provides an ideal habitat for a variety of large game fish such as marlin, tuna, and sailfish. The island’s relatively untouched and pristine fishing locations offer both a sustainable and authentic fishing experience.

Additionally, the scenic beauty and rich biodiversity of the region, coupled with its vibrant local culture and hospitality, enhance the overall appeal of Madagascar as a top choice for anglers seeking adventure and a diverse range of fishing experiences.

Variety of fish in big game fishing

Pit your wits against the giant game fish in the clear, calm waters of Madagascar that are known for their rich and diverse marine life.  While fishinf there, you could find yourself pulling any of the big prize fish – giant trevally, dogtooth tuna, marlin, sailfish, yellowfin tuna, dorado, wahoo – from the waves.

Big game fishing techniques

There are various fishing techniques that you can use to target big game fish in Madagascar, depending on your preference and skill level. Some of the most common ones are trolling, jigging, popping, bottom fishing, and fly fishing.

Each technique has its own advantages and disadvantages, as they require different types of equipment and bait. You can also choose between fishing from a boat or from the shore, depending on the location and accessibility of the fishing spot.

If you’re particularly interested in this activity, you should read more about big game fishing in Madagascar.

Fly fishing in Madagascar

Catch of the day

Catch of the day

Fly fishing in Madagascar is a possible and rewarding activity for adventurous anglers who want to explore the rich and diverse marine life of the island. Madagascar offers a variety of fishing spots, from pristine flats and reefs to deep drop-offs and banks, where you can target different species of fish on the fly.

Fly fishing is possible from a boat, with some operators specialising in fishing trips to catch billfish such as marlin and sailfish on fly or alternatively from standing on a reef. Reef fish include GTs, snappers and grouper.

Traditional Malagasy net casting

Traditional Malagasy net casting is a fishing technique native to Madagascar, reflecting the island’s rich cultural heritage and connection with the sea. This method involves the use of a circular, weighted net, which is skillfully thrown by the fisherman over a body of water. The net, when thrown, expands and covers a significant area in the water, capturing fish as it sinks.

Net design

The nets used in traditional Malagasy net casting are often handmade, tailored to the specific needs of the fishermen. They are designed to be easily thrown over a wide area and are weighted around the edges to ensure they sink quickly and efficiently trap fish.

Skill and Technique

Casting the net requires skill and practice. Fishermen must know how to throw the net so that it spreads out evenly over the water. The technique involves a specific way of folding and holding the net, as well as a unique body motion to get the necessary spread and distance.

Sustainability and Cultural Significance

This method of fishing is typically sustainable, as it allows for selective fishing and does not generally harm the aquatic environment. It’s deeply intertwined with the traditional way of life in Madagascar’s coastal communities and is often passed down through generations.

Community and Social Aspect of net casting in Madagascar

Net casting in Madagascar isn’t just a fishing technique; it’s a communal activity that plays a significant role in social and cultural gatherings. It often involves group efforts and is accompanied by traditional songs and stories, strengthening community bonds.

Where to practise traditional Malagasy net casting?

On the private island of our 5-star resort Constance Tsarabanjina in the northwest of Madagascar you can try your hand at traditional net casting from a pirogue (a wooden fishing boat). Fish the way the locals here have for hundreds of years and then bring your catch back to shore and the chefs at Tsarabanjina will prepare and cook it for you.

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