There is always a lull in tourist activity after the busy August/September period and before the run up to the Christmas holidays, and this has been marked in the fishing business this year with few trips out in recent weeks. At present this is probably accentuated by inertia on the part of the fish themselves, as when catches are poor clients tend to hold off and wait for more activity.
Calm warm seas also contribute to fewer fish around, as fish often hold deep in hot weather and without the stronger afternoon winds to bring them up catches have been mainly limited to a few yellowfin, wahoo and dorado, with an occasional sailfish to spice things up.
Tega is back in action at Watamu now, and started on Monday with a sailfish on the banks and some small fish, and Alleycat found two sail the same day. Earlier, Tarka caught a small bullshark of 86kgs, and another day they had a good mixed bag with a yellowfin of 20.5kgs and a wahoo of 19kgs as well as a kingfish and a dorado, and Castle Lager also released a sailfish.
Hemingways boats have been busier these last few days, with White Bear having a non stop action day scoring 19 yellowfin and a wahoo this Wednesday, good to see bigger catches of yellowfin as both these fish and wahoo normally are plentiful in the October/November period, but less markedly so this season. A few days earlier the same boat had a good mixed bag with Gary Lemke on the rods, catching 7 yellowfin, 4 wahoo, a dorado and tagging a sailfish, while Simba had a couple of giant trevally, one big one estimated at 40kgs and released.
Billfish are reported from the Pemba Channel, where skipper Simon Hemphill went out on Broadbill, and after releasing a sailfish, hooked into what they identified once it had been played to the boat as a short billed spearfish, estimated at 25kgs – his first personal catch of this species, which is very rare here, although as skipper he has seen about eight caught over the years – his father Pat, with fifty years experience on the water had only seen two in all that time! White Otter tagged a striped marlin a few days before, so the billfish season looking to be starting down south.
During the Malindi Festival, with sailfishing slow, the crew on White Mischief decided to try for a broadbill swordfish caught during the daylight hours by the deep drifting method. Such a catch has not been made in a tournament here yet, and tho’ they were unlucky in their quest they did hook two interesting species hitherto unknown in our waters, a sickle pomfret and a black snoek! One wonders what other monsters might be lurking there, 500 meters down in the murky depths!
No fresh news from Malindi this week, but earlier Neptune had taken out Dave Lewis and Terry Smith, well known British fishing scribes, who were particularly interesting in deep jigging and surface popping techniques, both increasingly popular with experienced overseas anglers. Both were very impressed with their bag of giant trevally, six other trevally species, groupers and snappers as well as wahoo, kingfish and dorado. We hope their photos and articles will entice many other anglers to Kenya’ shores!