Fishing Species and Seasons
What makes fishing off the Kenyan coast so special is the variety of fish available. From game fish through to an incredible variety of billfish. Below you'll find more about what you can expect to find along our coastline.
Big Game Fishing
What makes fishing off the Kenyan coast so special for big game fishermen is the variety of billfish; including three types of Marlin, Black, Blue and Striped, Sailfish and Broadbill Swordfish. This makes Kenya the perfect spot and one of the few in the world where fisherman can try there hand at a 'Grand Slam' (3 different billfish species in a day), a 'Super Grand Slam' (4 different billfish species in a day), and a 'Fantasy Slam' (5 different billfish species in one trip), with several been achieved off the coast over the past few seasons.
Black Marlin, photo courtesy of Kingfisher
Daytime Broadbill, photo courtesy of Soolyman
Sailfish aboard Elusive
Two granders (Marlin over 1000lbs) have been caught off the Kenyan coast, with many other large fish lost during the fight. The first grander, a Blue Marlin of 1250lbs, was caught by Johannes Kramer aboard Neptune, skippered by Angus Paul (Kingfisher), on the 18th March 1995 in Malindi waters. A mould of the fish can be found on display in the Club.
On 21st March 2014, the second grander and the first anywhere in the world for that year, was caught by Roger Sutherland aboard Ol Jogi II, skippered by Stuart Simpson just off of Watamu. Hooking up the fish around 11am, Sutherland fought the fish for two and a half hours and she was finally weighed in at 1062lbs in Hemingways, Watamu.
The Kenyan coast offers a wide and diverse range of fishing from the common inshore game fish such as King Mackerel, Barracuda, Rainbow Runner, Bonito and several species of Trevally, to the offshore game fish such as Yellowfin Tuna, Amberjack, Wahoo and Dorado.
The Yellowfin Tuna are found further offshore with the best catches being made on the North Kenya Banks, with the peak season running from August to end of October, where good sizes of Tuna can be found, with it not being uncommon to catch fish up to 100kgs. Where as the topography of mountains and banks closer to shore bring game fish in numbers.
Kenya generally has all year round offshore fishing with a short off season in May/June. Our main billfish season runs from October to mid to late March, however Sailfish and Black Barlin often can be found closer to shore in July, August and September. If you are after Blue or Striped Marlin, it's better to fish between January and the middle of March; it is advised to book early for these months as some boats find themselves booked up a year in advance.
Below is a breakdown of the seasons and what species you'd be expected to catch at the time of year:
July, August and September one can expect a good mixed bag of Black Marlin, Sailfish, Wahoo, Kingfish, Giant Trevally and Yellowfin Tuna
October, November and December is mainly Sailfish season especially off Malindi together with pelagic fish
January, February, March and April are the main Marlin months with Black, Blue and Striped Marlin with the Sailfish still around too. It is also a good time of year for Broadbill Swordfish making these the perfect months for the 'Slams'. Day dropping for Broadbill Swordfish is possible with the seas being generally calmer at this time of year.
May and June, Kenya has the 'long rains' season, which is when most big fishing boats are out of the water undergoing maintenance. No boats head offshore, although some of the smaller dinghies offer creek fishing at this time of year.