The Kenyan coast flanked by endless deep blue seas has some of the world’s most outstanding big game fishing spots. The Kenyan coastline which runs 560 km from the countries East to South has over the years been proven as popular havens for tropical fishes like Sailfish, wahoo, marlin, Barracuda, tuna, dorado and many more. You are also likely to encounter dolphins during your off shore fishing escapade. In this guide we shall look at some of the top Big game fishing spots in Kenya.
Watamu coastline situated on the north of Mombasa is possibly the best big game fishing destination in Kenya. This is supported by the presence of creeks and bays that boast a biodiversity of reef and open sea fishes more than anywhere else in the Kenyan coast. The Watamu banks some of the best sport fishing areas are popular with giant black marlins some of them weighing to over 200 kg. Other popular fishes you are likely to come across in the watamu banks include sail fish and swordfish which are popular in night fishing. Watamu also boast great rips that are havens for black marlins and other big fish.
The boiling pots of watamu another popular spot in the island is, on the other hand, popular with anglers pursuing bait fish.
Kilifi is small Swahili fishing village situated 40 km from Watamu and 73 km from Mombasa. The village is popular spot for anglers for its highly rewarding channels and reefs. Much of the big game fishing in Kilifi is carried on the kilifi creek. The mouth of the creek forms one of the deepest harbors in the region making it one of the most favorable marine ecosystems where you can come across big game fish like black marlin and sail fish. Additionally, about 13 miles of the kilifi shores are some incredible rips that are havens for large schools of bill fish. Besides, Haggard and vipingo aqua mountains to the north and south are popular with anglers going for night fishing in prospects for the swordfish and broadbill.
Lamu archipelago is one of the oldest Swahili settlements in the north coast. The archipelago is popular deep sea fishing spot for both big game fishing and bill fishing. Kiunga near the mouth of river Tana has some of the most endowed but least explored fishing area along the Kenyan coastline. Lamu also falls in the convergence of the East Africa current and food rich somali currents. The rips here are thriving with large schools of bait fish. The northern banks situated just off the archipelago are on the other hand popular sites for blue and black marlin some weigh to over 1000 lbs.
Malindi is a Swahili settlement on the estuary of Sabaki river to the north of Watamu and south of Lamu. Malindi Marine park which is a continuous aqua ecosystem that extends to watamu marine park forms one of the richest marine biodiversity in Africa. Here deep sea fishing is superb with varieties of fishes like blue and black marlin, wahoo, swordfish, barracuda and sailfish. Closer to the shore are the Malindi banks which are popular havens for sailfish and marlins and then on the southern tip is the north banks which extend to Lamu. Importantly, Malindi has the biggest sail fish reserve in the entire Kenyan coastline and it is common coming across packs of these fascinating aqua creatures at the same time.
Mombasa is the right place to encounter inshore fish as they tend to follow the ships. The seas along this coastline are also endowed with packs of sailfish with large numbers found on the southern Diani waters. Black marlin may also be on Mombasa seas from time to time. The Mombasa channel falls within the migration route of these unique aquatic creatures and good timing could be very rewarding. Here the underwater structure is excellent and is a habitat for large number of open sea fish. Some of the common fish varieties you are likely in your Mombasa big game fishing excursion include Tuna, black marlin, sail fish , wahoo and barracuda.
Shimoni is on the southmost tip of the Kenyan coastline on the border with Tanzania coastline. The site is near the pemba channel which is a haven for marlins with varieties ranging from Black marlin, blue marlins, and stripped marlin. The stripped marlin and packs of sailfish are however the most common varieties here and it is possible to catch up to 5 of these two varieties in just one trip. Besides the billfish varieties the pemba channel which to a depth of 820 m boast a rich biodiversity with varieties like wahoo, kingfish, Dorado, giant trevally and sharks.
When to go for big game fishing along the Kenyan coast
Firstly the windy kusi and Kaskaz seasons between July and October and December and April form the optimal conditions for Big game fishing in the Kenyan coast. The relatively strong winds that blow to about 25 knots create underwater currents and waves which may push foods like algae making the smaller fish active. The movement of the smaller fish attracts the bigger predatory billfish. Additionally, the monsoon winds also affect the migration patterns of different fish varieties found in the Kenyan coast. The black marlin which are the most abundant billfish in the Kenyan coast are most commonly found in the Kenyan coast over Kusi wind season with the watamu boiling pot being their hotbed. However, this doesn’t mean you wont encounter some in other times in the year. The sailfish which are the most sought after varieties by anglers are, on the other hand, very abundant in the month of January with the Malindi and watamu seas having the most promising sites. January through to march marks the best season for encountering the blue and striped marlins in the pemba channel and the under water mountains off watamu coastline. Here most of the catches range 100 – 400 pounds the largest ever recorded being 1248 pound blue marlin caught in the watamu mountains in March 1995.