Fishing hit the jackpot at the annual Casino Malindi Billfish Open Challenge when fifteen boats scored a total of 26 marlin and 65 sailfish, and in a thrilling finish, only one point separated the two top teams.
Overall winner was the team on Unreel, with skipper Rob Hellier, his wife Sandra and Vic Hawla tagging four marlin and five sail, both Sandra and Vic catching their first marlin ever. They had a brilliant first day, with two black and one striped marlin and two sailfish for a grand slam, and added a striped marlin and three sail on the second day, giving them 36007 points.
Tarka fished by Callum Looman and Phil Rivett, had two stripeys and two sail the first day and two stripies and three sail the second, to come in just one point behind the winners. Callum took the Top Angler prize and Sandra was Top Lady.
Third place went to the team on Ol Jogi, skippered by Stuart Simpson with Alister and Royjan Taylor, while Alleycat , with three marlin and four sail was fourth and Snark fifth. Prizes were awarded at an excellent dinner at the La Grigia restaurant for a most successful tournament.
This tournament came at the right time as the fishing has been really good over the last week with catches varying from grand slams to ten sailfish – the sailfish are all over the place and it seems just a matter of luck if one raises sail or marlin. Neptune, with Richard and Nick Steadman from Australia fishing, tagged a blue marlin estimated at 100kgs and five sail one day, then followed this next day with a grand slam, both a black and a striped marlin and four sail for a good story to tell back home. Tina, with a party from Austria aboard, also had a grand slam, with a black and two striped marlin and three sailfish, while the same day Snowgoose with two Danish anglers on the rods also had a grand slam – their black marlin died on the bottom and had to be slowly planed up to weigh in at 206kgs – all these catches on Friday 13th, so much for superstition !
Hemingways boat Seastorm recorded a grand slam for anglers Ben Hattingh and Jacques du Preez, with a blue marlin estimated at 200kgs, a stripey and two sail, while the same boat found a stripey and three sail the previous day, a good run for skipper Steve Webb. White Bear with ten and Black Widow with nine sailfish ran red flags all down the outrigger, while earlier the latter boat with skipper Adam Ogden tagged two black marlin and eight sail for anglers Terry and George Creasy. Kipapa, up from Mtwapa, started well with two black marlin and a sail, while Seahorse from Malindi, but which is based at Watamu at this time of year, has also had good days with striped marlin and a couple of six sailfish days, so really a plethora of billfish!