April is traditionally the last month of the fishing season at the Coast, and with several days of strong blows from the south-east the monsoon would seem to have finally changed. The beautiful long white beaches become littered with fresh seaweed, with it’s strong clean oceanic smell and it is cooler, but the sea is not yet rough and several boats continue to fish.
Dorado, locally called felusi, are normally the major species around at this time, but this year there do not seem to be so many – a pity as the are very good to eat and fun to catch, particularly as many young fishermen are active in the school holidays and dorado are very spectacular, jumping all over the ocean on light lines.
Snark was out on Wednesday from Malindi, and found a striped marlin halfway up the Banks, along with three kingfish and a dorado. A straggler perhaps as these marlin start their annual migration away from our areas at the first sign of the wind changing to the south. Where they go is not certain, but tagging has revealed one fish tagged here caught again miles out from Perth, Australia!
Ol Jogi from Hemingways at Watamu tagged a sailfish for Harry Mann, with three yellowfin tuna as well while White Bear had four wahoo, both just half day morning trips. Another sail was released on Albatross, so some of these fish still around, and they can increase towards May in the Watamu area, perhaps migrating south from the main sailfish areas. Peter and Paul Cooper on White Bear earlier in the week had a good day with a sail released, eight wahoo, two yellowfin and four dorado, while on a trip in the Sesse canoe Samvuke they had three wahoo and Blue Eyes also tagged a sailfish, so still quite a bit of good fishing for those down on their Easter holidays.
At Shimoni not many trips have been made recently, but Squack Evans out in Kamara II released a 70kg black marlin by 8am, but the water in the Pemba Channel is now dirty with a mass of seaweed around. This weed makes fishing difficult as it catches up on all the hooks, and the crew are kept busy constantly cleaning the lines, as fish are not fooled by bait or lures dragged along with a clump of seaweed!
There has been an interesting proposal to use the latest satellite tags here, which are placed in fish and stay attached for a fixed time, perhaps three to six months, after which they detach and send information up to a satellite about where the fish has moved, it’s depth in the ocean, water temperatures etc. Such information helps scientists determine lifetime migration patterns to help in conservation and controlling harvesting of the species. Much support is needed as the cost for a single such tag is about $5000, but this technology has been very beneficial used in America and Australia.
Game fishing is not only a sport, but a very big industry and in Kenya we are lucky to have some of the best sports angling in the world along our shores. With huge markets for anglers from Europe and South Africa, as well as local sportsmen, such information is invaluable to help develop and expand the industry.