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.

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!

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