2009 Billfisheries of the Year – #2…Cape Verde Islands

The Billfish Report is counting down the top billfisheries of 2009 – and coming in at #2 is the Cape Verde Islands.

A blue marlin in Cape Verde. Picture courtesy Ingrid Vincent.

The Cape Verde Islands – located in the East Atlantic off the coast of Africa, at about the same latitude as Senegal – are well known for their blue marlin.  A year-round fishery (they caught a 300-pounder last week, and just missed a 600), the best marlin fishing in Cape Verde is from April through July.

If you’re looking for Atlantic blue marlin, there’s likely no finer fishery, year-in and year-out, than Cape Verde.  But in 2009 the billfishery was almost finding marlin with ease, and these marlin weren’t the 150-pound variety: Cape Verde sees some big fish, and this year it regularly saw multiple-fish days, with size up to 1,000 pounds.

Here are some highlights from the extraordinary 2009 season:

–          Boats witnessed a consistent bite throughout the season.  For example, the Beast’n released 141 blues on the season, the Amelia, 131.  To average catching almost two blue marlin a day, over an entire season, is almost unheard of anywhere else.

Not a small fish! Blue being released. Photo courtesy Zak Conde.

–          It was not unusual for boats to see double-digit bites on blues – in a single day.  Two big runs, one in early May and another in early June, had boats raising 15-20 blues a DAY…and catching as many as 10.

Small marlin jumping in Cape Verde. Photo courtesy Zak Conde.

–          Size held up well, with multiple blues going over the 500 mark, especially in April, when they averaged 500.  Thereafter the blues still averaged 250-300 pounds.  Highlight was a 1,012 blue marlin on September 1 as well as a world-record 175-pound blue…on 6-pound test!

So Cape Verde is the Billfish Report’s #2 Billfishery of the Year, with a phenomenal 2009.  Stay tuned for our #1 Billfishery of the Year, coming up later this week!

About John

John Harmeling is the co-founder of billfishreport.com and granderwatch.com. Having traveled to and fished the major billfisheries across the globe, he counts Kona and Cairns as his favorites, and the black marlin to be the ocean's supreme pelagic specimen. He believes the very best and most enjoyable place to find tuna is in a marlin's stomach.

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