September usually heralds improvement from the rough, windy weather that typifies August and that seems the case now with sunny days, less wind and very little rain in the past week. But one result is often a reduction in billfish activity, however the few boats that are going out are still reporting sail and marlin around the Watamu Banks area
Unreel, with skipper Rob Hellier, well known also in motor rally circles, took Roy Bealey from the African Billfish Foundation out and though they missed their first marlin at 8am, they soon hooked into another which turned out to be a striped marlin, the first of the season caught in this area. The fish was duly tagged and released, after Roy had taken a genetic sample for the DNA database, and he then jumped into the water for an amazing underwater photo of the fish! One hopes on such an occasion that a shark had not followed the hooked fish to the boat! Later they went on to find good action with yellowfin tuna and some big wahoo.
The Foundation supplies traditional tags to skippers and anglers, and more recently satellite tags, which after being carefully implanted in released fish, track it’s movements for six months before popping out up to the surface and sending all the data to a satellite, to aid research.
White Mischief went out to see what they might find in the Rips, and had a busy day with medium sized yellowfin from 6-10kgs and a couple of dorado – 190 kgs of fish making a satisfying catch. It will be interesting to see if big yellowfin arrive in the Rips later this year, so plenty of smaller ones now is a good omen! Later this week, Unreel tagged a black marlin, while Alleycat released a sail.
From Malindi, Sooleyman ran out to the North Kenya Banks, but found little going on there – a few small tuna although they did miss a marlin strike – this is the usual area for the big tuna in October so it is still early days. But a single trip is not a reliable indicator, and there has been no news from other boats in the area. The south coast is also quiet with no trips reported, reflecting the lack of sport minded tourists, and with the school holiday season almost over it may remain quiet for a while.