The strong winds have eased a lot in recent days, but the fishing continues slow, with billfish hard to catch – while the skippers mostly think there are plenty of fish around the Rips, they are not coming up, and when they do appear behind the lures they are reluctant feeders and difficult to hook.
The 46th Delamere Fishing Competition was held by Mnarani Fishing Club at Kilifi last weekend with eleven boats competing and Jasiri, fished by Peter Brainch, Colin Church and Robin Byers, was the outright winner with a striped marlin, caught by Peter, two sail by Robin and a couple of dorado. With 1000 points for a marlin tagged, and 200 for a sail, it is not surprising that the three leading boats were those that caught marlin, and second was the team on Alleycat, Peter Hoffman with skipper Peter and son Sean Darnborough. Peter Hoffman is one of our best known anglers visiting regularly for many years, and always lucky, proved again by his catching a black marlin, a sailfish and a couple of small fish to put them ahead of the Novita team, where Philip Waterer tagged a striped marlin, his first after many years of trying!
All the other boats bar one caught at least one sailfish, Rene Faber on Delta tagging three sail which gave them fourth place and Rene the prize for the most billfish caught, and Unreel came in fifth with Gordon Elder (one) and Rob Hellier (two) also totalling three sail, but a nice yellowfin of 10.3 kgs by Gina Faber gave the former boat the edge. Also with three sail was the team on Cold Shoulder, Benjie Bowles, Jonny Havelock and Stuart Allison each tagging one sail for sixth place.
Sashimi won the top small boat place, with Minerva second, and with three marlin and sixteen sail in total the results, although well down on last years record of 32 marlin, compare very favourably with earlier competitions – eight years ago only two boats had a marlin each, but no sailfish at all were caught!.All the prize winners appreciated the lovely engraved crystal glassware kindly presented by Deborah Colvile, and this is always a much enjoyed competition.
At Shimoni the fishing has improved, with Sea Adventures’ two boats catching 25 marlin and 31 sail in January, and skipper Simon Hemphill reports of Brett Ager from Zimbabwe on Kamara II tagging a huge striped marlin, his first, which the very experienced crew estimated at 105 kgs, the biggest they had ever seen. Earlier the same boat had a grand slam with a blue and a striped marlin and a sail, while before that White Otter also had a similar grand slam but with two sail.
Further north fishing mainly in the Rips, boats have to work hard for the few daily marlin and sail. A week ago Alleycat had a great day with three black marlin, but these fish now seem to have moved away from the Banks/Mountains area. Kipapa found two striped marlin on Monday as did Unreel, but otherwise recently the ration seems to be one marlin with onl three or four boats out of perhaps fifteen flying these marlin flags, and th e rest of the fleet having to be content with a sail or two, or disappointed with no billfish!
When the fish is really slow on the surface, many boats try fishing deeper – this can be by jigging or fishing small dead baits deep for grouper, amberjack or giant trevally. In 200 metres of water this can be hard work, keeping anglers busy and too exhausted to complain about the quiet surface action!