The good fishing in the Pemba Channel continued in to this week with one angler catching a grand slam on his own and some big black marlin appearing near to shore. There have been some good size blue marlin hit as well and there are still plenty of sails.
The weather has been a bit changeable with overcast conditions in the morning and clearer skies in the afternoons. The seas were mostly fairly calm throughout the week but some rough weather in the past couple of days. However, the seas today were fantastic and if they stay like this we could have a ball. It is very sad that charters are becoming very thin on the ground when the fishing is so hot.
Thursday 2nd February - only Broadbill and Kamara II out, today being Franz Neuwirth’s last day out on Broadbill. Local residents Colin Church and Peter Brainch who used to fish with us regularly when we still owned Pemba Channel Fishing Club were joined by Mickey Baxendale on Kamara II. We tagged 3 sailfish, did raise a stripey amongst a pack of sail but all the fish appeared to be a bit hesitant about taking today. On the way home we had 2 nice black marlin up one after the other that each just billed a lure down then disappeared without following again. The first one was around 250 but the second one was a bigger fish more like 400-lb. Franz Neuwirth caught a nice black marlin estimated at 160-lb on a 30-lb line right at the end of the day to go with the 2 sails they had caught earlier.
Friday 3rd February – Pat was not out today so it was just Kamara II with Colin, Peter and Mickey with White Otter also out. We had a fantastic day, especially Colin who ended up with a grand slam. We started off with a sailfish for each of them before Peter hooked in to a striped marlin. It was jumping nicely, appeared to be on solid but then just fell off. Colin then caught a 200-lb black marlin on 50-lb line and then soon after added another sail. The sails were often in packs but since they would insist on taking the marlin lures it is often hard to hook them. Colin then tagged a striped marlin to complete his slam, a great achievement for any angler. But, we were not finished and finally managed to get Mickey in to a stripey, which we tagged, his first ever marlin. Final score was 1 black, 2 stripes & 4 sails plus 2 dorado including one of 15kg, not a half bad day me thinks. White Otter had a nice black on briefly that came off, had a strike from a stripey but ended up with nothing.
Saturday 4th February – Only Kamara II fished by Ken Dodgson and John Levick and White Otter were out today. Cheza, a boat that is usually based out of the lovely Manda Bay Resort arrived down to fish these waters for a few days. There were not as many fish around today as yesterday but John did catch a striped marlin. Cheza caught 2 striped marlin and a sailfish but White Otter again failed to score.
Sunday 5th February - Only Broadbill and Kamara II out with Ken & John out on Kamara II again. Broadbill was fished by Robin Holland-Smith together with Ian Thorpe and son James from the UK. Ian and Robin both fished with us regularly up until about 11 years ago. They started off with 2 sails and did not see a marlin. Kamara II hooked up with a decent size blue marlin around 300 on a 50-lb line that did some great jumping. It had finished all its jumping and we were settling down to the fight with Ken on the rod when it just came unstuck. A bit later in the morning it was John’s turn to hook in to one about the same size but sadly with the same result. Most frustrating! After that John caught a nice stripey on a 30-lb line and Ken a sailfish.
Monday 6th February - every morning at the moment seems to have a heavy cloud cover, which then clears during the day but today there was even drizzle out at sea. There was only one marlin seen, which was a small black marlin hit by Cheza that never hooked up. Today was also Ken & John’s last day on Kamara II and we were hoping to finish with a flurry. Unfortunately no marlin but we did see a few sail and caught 2. Broadbill fished by Ian, James and Robin also caught 2 sail and Cheza trumped with 3 sails.
Tuesday 7th February - today was my day ashore so the crew cleaned the boat and we re-loaded three of our 50-lb outfits that were getting a bit short of line. Ian, James & Robin were out with Pat on Broadbill and Ian tagged a very big striped marlin estimated at 170-lb on 30-lb line and Robin a sail. James had an even bigger stripey than his dad’sÂ on that was being very acrobatic only to finally succeed in throwing the hook near the boat. Cheza tagged 2 sail and White Otter 1 plus they also lost a stripey. Although the morning was quite calm the afternoon was fairly rough with a strong ENE wind.
Wednesday 8th February - The forecast for today was for very rough conditions so both Kamara II and White Otter motored up the coast towards Msambweni so as to get upwind. This makes it much more comfortable especially in the afternoon when the wind is at its strongest and you can fish down hill. This morning was very overcast with heavy cloud but there appeared to be a lot of bird activity all along the drop off although it was not clear what they were after. We saw a few sail there and White Otter tagged one off Funzi. We then saw a black marlin tailing off Msambweni on the drop off that jumped clear of the water right next to the boat but would not come in to the spread.
The sun gradually broke through late morning and the afternoon was glorious with a beautiful “marlin sea”, rough but not as bad as had been forecast, plenty ofÂ flying fish and gorgeous blue water. Kamara II fished by Ian and James Thorpe and Robin Holland-Smith started finding the fish around the same time as the sun came out. We saw a huge pack of sail finning that were not interested and a couple of stripies finning. One clobbered the centre rigger but failed to hook up and then shortly afterwards another one came in fast, grabbed a small bait on a 30 and took off. James was in to that one, which gave him a good workout, his first marlin. Father Ian caught a very nice one shortly after that we estimated at 160-lb. We then had a huge pack of sail in to the spread together with 2 marlin one of which took a 30 and became tangled in the teazer and popped off. Most of the rest did not take and those that did failed to hook up. Ian then tagged another striped marlin on the way home to give us 3 marlin in total for the day. Any day that you catch a marlin is a good day and 3 is a very good day.
White Otter stayed out until 5.30pm and ended up with 4 sailfish and I don’t think that they raised any marlin today.
Availability - normally by this stage in February there is hardly a day free but this year is quite different with rather too much free space in the booking sheet. With such great fishing if you have time it would be worth your while giving us a call.
Security - there have been no incidents at all and the country is as it has always been. We are aware of some bad publicity overseas but the reality is that Kenya is largely very safe and Shimoni is great! I have no worries about travelling around my country and never feel threatened. The Kenyan people are very friendly and welcoming to visitors.