My sincere apologies for not publishing the report last week but just never appeared to have enough time. There were plenty of marlin and sailfish in the Pemba Channel during the week with some big marlin seen. Early in the week the weather was a bit unsettled, ultra calm and the fishing was hard work. But towards the end of the week our boats had some great fishing with plenty of billfishing action throughout the day.
Friday 17th February - White Otter was the only boat out today and although they did have 3 marlin strikes they were not able to catch any returning with empty outriggers.
Saturday 18th February - Broadbill was out with Michael and Mrs Mayer-Rieckh from Austria. I did not have a charter so decided to take out Bryan (aged 16)Â & Martin (aged 14) Matiba with their dad and my long-time friend Raymond since it was the boys’ half-term. Unfortunately we were not able to get them in to any billfish although we did have our chances from both marlin and sails. However, we were treated to a wonderful spectacle of a nice blue marlin that Broadbill had hooked up with. They tagged it after only about 40 min on 50 estimated at around 320-lb, Michael’s first ever marlin. What a way to start! White Otter also got a striped marlin and a sailfish and they also lost a marlin when the line bust.
Sunday 19th February – It was very calm today with only a light easterly breeze. Kamara II was out on just a 6-hr trip with Mr Qureshi and his 2 young sons from Mombasa. With the two children on board I decided to stay close in to see if we could find some action. Unfortunately we didn’t see much at all as most of the action has been some way off-shore. White Otter saw two big marlin today, the first a 300+ blue marlin that they had on for a while before it came unhooked and the other they saw free jumping then found tailing on the surface. Unfortunately that one refused to take anything but shortly afterwards they had a double strike from striped marlin but failed to hold on to either. They ended up with 1 sailfish only.
Monday 20th February – only Broadbill was out with Marika Gattiker and Tiziano Panzeri from Switzerland. They tagged 4 sailfish, saw quite a few more and a couple of marlin.
Tuesday 21st February – beautiful conditions today with only a moderate sea with a light ENE, lovely blue water and prominent rips. In the morning especially there were sailfish jumping everywhere and coming up in packs. Marika and Tiziano fishing on Kamara II had a great day with a lovely striped marlin estimated at 170-lb caught by Marika and 6 sailfish. That was the only marlin that we saw but it was perfect because it followed all lit up for ages with the sun high in the sky really getting the adrenaline flowing. We lost 4 other sailfish that we had on and missed at least 15 others, although almost impossible to count when you are getting hit by packs. Broadbill fished by Peter Kern of Betty’s Camp together with Hugo and Verena Buff from Switzerland also had a good day with a nice 150-lb striped marlin and 4 sails. This was actually Verena’s first fish ever so a great effort. White Otter was fishing with Jean-Pierre Ziegler from Switzerland who was staying at Funzi Keys Resort and targeting billfish on fly. They actually raised about 6 marlin and plenty of sail but none of these would take the fly.
Wednesday 22nd February – The conditions were yet again pretty nice with the wind a bit more northerly than yesterday but as normal it was calm early and choppy by afternoon. Not so many sail seen jumping today but still quite a few around. Marika and Tiziano on Kamara II finished up with 4 sailfish but we had a striped marlin on for a while before it came off and had another take a lure but fail to hookup. Hugo Buff on Broadbill caught a striped marlin the same size as wife’s one yesterday so no arguments there! White Otter was again fishing with Jean-Pierre with fly tackle and raised a black marlin in the afternoon right in to the transom but it refused to take the fly.
Thursday 23rd February - Another nice day at the office with a bit more wind today but from the right direction. It was also a bit overcast in the morning but cleared by midday. Marika and Tiziano fishing today with Pat on Broadbill had a great day with 3 striped marlin and 1 sailfish. They missed another marlin and about 5 other sails. Peter, Hugo and Verena were today fishing with me on Kamara II with Verena catching her second marlin. It was not quite as big as her first but she was able to do it totally unassisted and handled it very well indeed. We had 2 other strikes from marlin, tagged a couple of sail, lost one and missed about 15. White Otter back to conventional fishing caught 1 sailfish.
One has to bear in mind when reading statistics from other locations how many boats are fishing that given area. The Pemba Channel is a huge area, the same distance across at its narrowest point as the English Channel and there are only three sportfishing boats fishing regularly. The fishing in Shimoni has been pretty awesome this season and the Pemba Channel is back to producing great marlin fishing.