More black marlin are being caught than stripies at the moment, and while on one day good catches are recorded all round the next day just a few sailfish are found. The wind blows very strongly at midday, and when it has been blowing at night as well it makes for very rough conditions far out in the Rips, where there is still a slight northerly current. Closer in the current is running south, but live baiting around the Mountains/Canyon area is consistently producing strikes from black marlin.
Hemingways have organised a ‘Billfish University’ competition in which seven teams of anglers from South Africa are fishing five boats daily for the week. The emphasis is more than just catching billfish, as the anglers are encouraged to learn all the tricks of the trade while fishing with top skippers who are keen to impart their skills. The first day on Monday was a good one, with Simba tagging a big black marlin estimated at 250 kgs, White Bear released a 140 kg black and both Black Widow and Ol Jogi tagged six sail each.
The next day was quieter, with the boats finding only six sail between them all, but Wednesday proved active again, with Black Widow tagging a black about 200 kgs and White Bear succeeded in recording a grand slam with a black and a striped marlin and a sailfish and B’s Nest had another black – with another three days to run, there should be some interesting fishing and a new crop of ‘graduate’ anglers!
While some of the Malindi boats are now based at Watamu others continue to fish the sailfish grounds in the Mambrui/She Shale area, with Snark having a good day there with six sailfish. Many regular anglers choose to fish for sail with the traditional methods, fish belly strips fronted by small lures and varying ‘drop-backs’ of the baits after a strike, whereas in the Rips the sail tend to come up more to a pattern of marlin lures. Snowgoose has had some good days at Watamu, with Wilfried van Laarhoven and Ronald Roy fishing, After a blank couple of days in the Casino tournament their luck changed, and they had a double header strike of black marlin coming onto the live baits near the Mountains, and succeeded in hooking both and playing them to release at the boat – a rare feat with these fish. Some days after the same team hooked another black on 15kg line which died during the fight, but was eventually brought to the boat after the rod broke – weighing 119 kgs, this is a good catch on light line.
Frans Neuwirth has been a long time regular angler at Malindi, and with his friends had a good day on Neptune when they tagged a stripey and a sailfish, and added three giant trevally for variety. Private boats have done well too, with Blue Eyes tagging a black and two sail one day, and Sand Dollar having two stripies one day and black three days later followed by a striped marlin on Wednesday, and Whitecap also had a black marlin.
We are coming to the main tournament season now, and Mnarani Fishing Club kick off with the Delamere Trophy this weekend on 29th/30th January at Kilifi. The Malindi International Billfish follows in three weeks time, 19th&20th February, with the Kilifi Classic, the Watamu Festival and the Hemingways ‘Friends of Kenya’ following. The marlin fishing is usually best in February and early March, so get those rods and reels serviced and try your luck!