Fishing is from the beginning of July through to sometime in May. The southeast wind (Kusi) blows from mid March to sometime in November and is cooler than the northeast (Kaskazi) which blows the rest of the time. The seas are warmer and calmer during the Kaskazi months.
Most fish are passing through and not resident in the area and although we have a rough idea of when/what fish will be around, they don’t read the record charts and pop up at times of the year that they should not be here and vice versa.
The main Billfish (Sailfish and Marlin) season runs from November to early April but Sailfish and Black Marlin often come inshore in numbers in August (and this month has been fantastic for Black Marlin these last few years).
Sailfish (known locally as ‘suli suli’) are by far the most numerous of the Billfish here. Finicky and sometimes skittish or playful, they can make a fool of the best of anglers at times, and are very dramatic when not over powered by excessively heavy tackle. Experienced anglers will know this spectacular acrobat is more fun on light tackle - ask for it! Pelagic, sails will jump and slither across the surface of the water in a never to be forgotten display. Relatively easy to bring in when hooked (that’s the tricky part) the Sailfish is a milestone in any anglers’ early fishing experience.
There is a run of Sail just outside Watamu around August, while the main season off Malindi, a few miles north of here, runs November to March. Our Sail fishing is as good as almost anywhere in the world; four to six to the boat quite normal, with our best at twenty-three, all released!
Then there is the Royal Family: the Marlin. There are three types here - Striped, Blue and Black.
Striped Marlin tend to run offshore in cleaner water and can travel in packs. Smaller and slimmer than the other two, this fish will still give a good account of itself.
A jumping Blue Marlin is the ultimate thrill as the power and fury of these fish under full throttle is simply awesome. Complete changes of direction by these fish will convince fishermen that there are two on at once and frantic re-routing of the boat is the order of the day as line is usually getting desperately low within seconds of the opening of hostilities.
A big Blue Marlin is a privilege to see and they are found usually in the deep water following the yellowfin or other tuna shoals. Some very big Blue Marlin can be expected mid February to mid March.
Black Marlin come closer to shore and are often encountered in very shallow water. The buffalo of the species, this guy is tough. If you haven’t done your homework he’ll find you out and be gone. Often fighting deep, using his pectoral fins to hold him down in the water they are worthy adversaries (especially little ones!). Medium size Blacks can be expected around August/September, but the main season is from December to mid/late March.
Broadbill Swordfish - This is an overnight specialty - you drift at night, with squid weighted to different depths, and light sticks on the leader and we have developed night trolling techniques which have become very productive. This is definitely the strongest fighter in the ocean - an experience not to be missed. So far mainly small, but several in a night not uncommon.
The practice of ‘Tag and Release’ of Billfish is wholeheartedly supported and certificates are awarded to anglers who have done so.
Sharks - there are three species of Caraharinus here - Hammerheads, Tigers and the high leaping Mako. These are often caught while fishing for tuna, they also take Marlin baits. We don't drift with chum or ‘rubby-dubby’ here - it doesn’t work due to the current.
Big Yellowfin tuna (up to 200 lbs) migrate past here between August and November (and sometimes come back again) and the ‘schoolie’ small Yellowfin are around virtually year round. Very strong fish and, with a big one being a good test of character, Yellowfin always give a powerful performance, invariably going deep.
Giant Trevally (locally known as Karambesi) of World record size are here but have yet to be boated under the very strict IFGA regulation. Usually caught on live bait using down riggers.
Wahoo are renowned for their searing first run (being one of the fastest fish in the sea) and when there are a lot of them around, chaos reigns as lines are cut all over the place by fish striking at terminal tackle moving through the water.
Kingfish will often chop up a bait or two just behind the hook before you get one but make up for it by being excellent table fare. Dorado (known here as Falusi) come streaking across to your lures, iridescent with all the colours of the rainbow as they take to the air when feeling the hook. Fabulous light tackle fish and great eating (but rich) when prepared on the day of catch.
Skipjack, Kawakawa and others of tuna descent swim in shoals surrounding and forcing small baitfish to the surface, making it boil and giving their position away.