Kenya 09/10

On April 30th, 2012, posted in: Kenya by Comments Off on Kenya 09/10

Kenya 2009\10 season.



Once again we have come to the end of another season. Life here at kingfisher is quite different to what it was a few months ago. Early mornings and hectic days have been replaced by lie in’s and a much more sedate pace of life.  Three of the five boats are out of the water at the fisheries having their annual manicure and pedicure and most of the crew are on their well deserved annual leave.  The weather is doing just as it should do in the “off season”, we have had eleven inches of rain since the beginning of April which is just what the doctor ordered after months of drought.  The outside temperature is dropping daily and before too long we will be needing jerseys and sweat shirts in the evenings which is not the Malindi most of you know.


I suppose the big development of the “off season” will be the purchase of new engines for Neptune.  We hope to have them here by the beginning of August and hopefully they will enhance her performance.


As we have slowed down we have had time to ponder over the season gone by, and what a season it has been! At the start of the season in July we all thought that we would be in for a tough season fish wise due to the amazing one we had in 2008\9. Unsurpassed sailfish figures and incredible marlin action in the latter part of the year made us all think that we would never see a season like it again. Neptune caught an amazing 750 sailfish in 2008\9 with an average of 4.6 per day. It was common for boats to come back with double figures throughout the season. The marlin season was the best ever with January-March producing unheard of figures.


How could it ever get any better we asked ourselves? Well how wrong we were!


Although our boats fished a few days in the off season months, of May and June with surprisingly good results the season kicked off properly in July. As is always the case, we never fish enough days in July\August. The fishing can be very exciting as the style of fishing is different to most other months. This is partly because it is very rough and the only semi secluded area is on the Watamu banks and secondly due to rough water and strong current the banks can be alive with bait fish. The preferred method of fishing is live baiting frigate mackerel and kawa-kawa and you just never know what predator will come along next. July last year lived up to all expectations and a number of black marlin were caught as well as giant trevally, wahoo, kingfish, tuna etc etc. Neptune fished 15 days in July last year and had 5 black marlin and 42 sailfish. Sailfish appeared in large numbers for this time of year and one day she had 9. Some of the marlin around were a decent size, Neptune had some good fish on and weighed one of 148 kgs which unfortunately came in dead.


After such good fishing on the banks in July we all thought August would also be good, which is so often the case but alas it wasn’t to be so as the Watamu banks died off somewhat. In fact most of our days were fished of Malindi where quite a few sailfish were showing. All five of our boats were ready and fishing in August which must be a first. Bernd and Marc Neufeldt came for ten days at the end of August to fish for shark. They had some hefty strikes but unfortunately none stuck.


September has always been a difficult month to fill and this one was no exception. Although we did very few days the fishing was good. Our boats fished off Malindi and there was a surprisingly high amount of black marlin about as well as sailfish. Angus’ son Arran caught his first black marlin just before going back to school, so he was one happy boy. We did a few excursions out to the north kenya banks looking for yellowfin and were very successful on all occasions. On the first trip Neptune with Peter Hoffman caught 28 yellowfin, the biggest weighing in at 37 kgs. It was not quite as good as we have seen it out there but not to far off. Fishing for those big yellowfin is very exciting and we hope that this year will be even better and we’ll have the clients to go out there with.


October is normally the start of the main sailfish season. At the beginning of the month anyone who didn’t know better would have thought they were being conned as the month started very slowly with very few fish showing. On the 10th Tina out on a short day found a lot of fish off Malindi. They were in by 2 pm with five sail and some small fish. The fishing turned on at the right time as we were busy for the rest of the month with some big groups. Although we didn’t see any huge numbers boats were coming back with 5 or so red flags on most days. The October festival was called the” Herbie Paul International Tournament” and was very generously sponsored by Mike Tracy. It was a great success and Neptune taking top honors made it even better for us.


November was a very busy month for us. It started very well with the holding of the 15th Driftwood Extravaganza.  Once again we had a big group from South Africa come and participate over the four days. Neptune went up to Kiwayu on their annual boys fishing trip but surprisingly the fishing wasn’t too good up there. Nevertheless, a lot of fun and games were had! The fishing got quite difficult towards the end of November, the sea was very calm and flat and although the fish were there in big numbers they were not playing game.


December was how we normally expect November to be so I suppose everything was a bit late this year. By mid December the sailfish fishing was really hot with boats catching up to ten fish a day. Off Malindi there were also quite a few black marlin swanning around. The sea was calm and the weather hot so anglers couldn’t really have asked for anymore. On the 17th Snark had two black marlin and a sailfish and Eclare one black and five sailfish. Around Christmas time, fishing went up another gear and boats were catching up to fifteen sailfish a day.  Neptune had a group out jigging and Angus did a few days on the NKB where they caught a lot of amberjack, grouper and snapper. Towards the end of the month the vast amounts of sailfish were being joined by striped marlin close in around the boiling pot, which is unheard of as usually stripeys are in the deep water on the rips.


The stripeys kept on increasing in numbers into January whilst the sailfish numbers didn’t let up either. Boats were raising packs of small stripeys and triple headers were not uncommon. Lindsay Casserley a regular angler from South Africa fished eight days with us and caught 5 striped marlin, 4 blue marlin, 1 black marlin and twenty seven sailfish. Harry and Herald Vanieperen broke the record for the most marlin caught in a day off Malindi\Watamu with seven striped marlin, while fishing on Tina. Not to be out done by the old lady of the sea, Snark  caught eight stripeys in a day with Peter Boke on the 24th. Grand slams were being caught left right and centre and Neptune had a super grand slam on the 30th fishing with Les Mcbride and Tony Voss. They caught 1 black, 1 blue, 2 striped marlin and a sailfish. In eight days fishing they had 20 marlin and 17 sailfish.

January 2010 can most definitely go down as the best marlin month ever. Our five boats caught 122 marlin and 225 sailfish between them.


February, historically our best marlin month had a lot to live up to after the previous month. Numbers wise, this was going to be nearly impossible but the fishing was still very good and some bigger fish were caught. We had a big Belgian group fishing at the beginning of the month that had some very good fishing with all anglers catching at least one billfish and most catching marlin. Egon Jenke caught a super grand slam on Eclare on the 8th and 9th and part of the slam was a 150 kg + blue marlin. On the 15th Eclare produced again, for Con Jooste who caught a grand slam on fly; a broadbill, striped marlin and sailfish.

Clive Watts tagged a lovely black marlin of 600 + lbs on the 25th. Late in the month the fishing suddenly went very quiet on the rips where the majority of the marlin are caught at this time of year. As is so often the case in our fishing community the skippers didn’t just sit back and wait for something to happen. A bit of exploring was done and a lot of fish were found another fifteen to twenty miles outside the rips which is about forty miles from Watamu. It seems the warm water line had pushed out and there were a lot of fish holding there. Neptune had 14 sailfish with John Cook on the 27th and 2 striped marlin and 4 sailfish on the 28th. All in all it was a very busy and good February for us. February is the month for repeat clients who have become more like friends after so many years and it was wonderful to see so many warm and friendly faces.



March is my favorite month of all. It is the month of big fish and can be very exciting. This march was even more exceptional than normal as the fishing continued right up to the end of the month. Usually the fishing will dwindle off in the middle of the month when the monsoon changes into the south again but this year it just kept on going and going. What was amazing this year was the amount of big blues about as well as blacks. Quite often blues have moved off by March but this year was not so. Mick Reid and a group of friends visited us once again, and what good fishing they had. On the 7th part of the group were on Eclare fishing out of Watamu. They hadn’t seen much by the afternoon and then on the way in their luck changed. They had three black marlin up together which is very unusual in itself, two came off and after a good hours fight they landed one which came in dead. It weighed in at 145 kgs. The other group on Neptune had 4 stripeys.

On the 9th Rick Lemonnier,Don Lafferty and Andy Demare started their annual five day trip. The plan was to fish up north to Lamu for five days but after not seeing a lot after the first day up there they fished back to Watamu and fished the rest of the days there. What a good decision it was, as they had some fantastic fishing. The 11th was one of the best days of the season for Neptune. They tagged a big striped marlin of 160 lbs early and then hooked into a nice blue which they successfully tagged and released, estimating it at 350 lbs. Not long after Don hooked a very reasonable black marlin. It gave them a hard time but eventually they got a tag into it and it swam off to fight another day. This fish was estimated at 450 lbs. They missed out on a sailfish for the super grand slam. What a day!

The very next day Andy tagged and released a blue which Angus estimated at 550 lbs+. They managed to get some good pictures of all these fish which can be seen on the website.

The Penn Challenge 2010 fished by anglers from Holland and Belgium was held on the 12th for 4 days. Ten boats took part and what incredible fishing they had. Snark on the third day of the tournament showed that speed isn’t everything.  Fishing with Jan Maas and Frans van Bachel   they opted to stay in close as Snark doesn’t have the speed to get out to the rips fast like the other boats. They came home with 2 black marlin and 16 sailfish tagged and released. This was enough for Jan and Frans to win the tournament. Tina tagged a nice black of 450 lbs + on the same day and most of the boats caught at least one marlin each. It really was phenomenal fishing.

Eclare caught the fish of the season for our boats on the 23rd March. Fishing with the Olivier party from Holland they landed a beautiful blue of 779lbs.Unfortunately they fought the fish for six hours and it came in dead. Neptune caught one the same day of 400 lbs and Snowgoose one of 250 lbs. Snowgoose lost a very big fish with Perez Vanneste the day before which totally spooled them on 80 lb line.  Alleycat tagged and released a blue a few days before of around 800 lbs as did Clueless so the big mamas were definitely about!


I have just scratched the surface in trying to describe this past season and could make a book if I were to mention all the good days and feats accomplished. Both Tarka and Neptune caught 100 plus marlin this season which is a first for the north coast. Let’s hope next season is as good! Bookings are looking good for next season already, so hopefully it will be a busy one.