The Billfish Report is counting down its Top 10 Billfisheries of the Year with our #9 Billfishery Kenya. Criteria for our Top 10 include fish numbers, variety of billfish species, reports, average size of fish, length of season and number of boats fishing. While reports were down in 2020 as many fisheries had limited days fishing or in some cases an entire season cancelled, we still had over 4,000 Reports. We want to acknowledge and congratulate those who were able to fish in 2020 as there was still some amazing fishing to be had.
Kenya – While it may seem odd to some to name an entire country as our #9 Billfishery for 2020, we are really talking about a small section of coast between Watamu and Malindi. It may also seem odd to be naming this area as a top destination with the current travel restrictions, but make no mistake about it, this fishery was as strong as ever in the early months of 2020 and we imagine would be doing those same things in 2021 with a more normal charter schedule. You will have to go back to 2010 for the last time this fishery managed to get into our Top 10. This has nothing to do with lack of good fishing, quite the contrary. The fishing here is some of the most unique in the world with the great variety of Billfish that feed in these waters…and a Swordfish on Fly…on my.
This is one of the smaller fleets we cover, with less than ten (10) boats reporting, with the bulk of the reports coming off five (5) boats. Even with that, they were in a virtual tie for 5th most reports sent to us in 2020. It was not the number of reports that set Kenya apart from prior years, but the size of the fish. There were far more fish pushing close to the 500 lbs. mark, with seven (7) fish reported to us over 500 lbs. That may not hit our radar in prior years, but for 2020 that put them in 6th in the World. The largest of that bunch was an 800 lbs. Blue Marlin on Elusive. Albatross lead all boats with three (3) Blue Marlin over 500 lbs.
While Kenya may not fit the true definition of a numbers fishery, it is not uncommon at all to catch 5+ Billfish in a Day. Capt. Pete Darnborough on Alleycat had an impressive day going 5-5 on Blue Marlin and 2-2 on Sailfish. Sirai Sea found a great Sailfish bite, releasing thirty (30) Sailfish over 3-Days. The numbers that many are hunting for here though, are the number of species caught in a day. We had eleven (11) Grand Slams reported to us, from which two (2) were Super Grand Slams on Blue Marlin (Blue Marlin, Black Marlin, Striped Marlin, Sailfish) and Neptune (Blue Marlin, Striped Marlin, Sailfish, Swordfish). Neptune also recorded Back to Back Grand Slams. All of these Slams made them 2nd in the World for Grand Slams in 2020.
As evidenced by the Grand Slams this is as diverse of a fishery as there is with Blue Marlin, Striped Marlin, Black Marlin, Sailfish, Swordfish and Spearfish all caught in these waters. While this is a year round fishery, they do have a high season that generally lasts four (4) months.
Congratulations to Kenya, our #9 Billfishery for 2020.