The Kenyan Coast is a well-known destination for deep sea game ﬁshing that challenges the most experienced anglers but can be a great experience to satisfy beginners who want a high-energy beach vacation on the Indian Ocean.
First, you need to book your trip by contacting one of the many local charter companies who offer deep sea ﬁshing, according to your holiday's destination. Deep sea ﬁshing tours are usually offered as a four, six- and eight-hours excursion. Most of the charters are already equipped with everything you need as an angler. This includes life jackets, rods, reels, bait, lures, ﬁshing licenses etc.
On the Kenyan Coast, the most common ﬁshing method is trolling, which consists of dragging the line on the surface of the ocean. This method of ﬁshing attracts all kinds of ﬁsh from King Fish, Dorado to Marlin Other methods include jigging, casting and live baiting. Depending on your previous experiences and preferences you could always ask the ﬁshing companies on what they can offer and what's best for the season to maximise your chance on hooking a ﬁsh.
Whether you are alone, with your family or group of friends? Everything is possible, ask the ﬁshing establishments for availability, conﬁrm the booking (they usually ask for at least a deposit) and they will organise the rest for you. Once you are happy with your choice, make sure you are awake bright and early on D day!!
D-day: Early morning for sure but the view of the sunrise on the ocean is stunning. Make sure you are well equipped to protect yourself from the sun. On a side note try not to be hung over and if you are sea sick, there are over the counter tablets that can help you out. The company usually provide soft drink on board. If you have planned for a full day trip (or if you are hungry after few hours), you should have arranged for a lunch box. Most of the companies can do it for you, they just need to know beforehand!
It is time to go on the boat, meet the crew and enjoy. Beginners are taught the fundamentals of ﬁshing in the Indian Ocean. The crew are setting up the boat, moving fast around you, going back and forth in the boat and coming back with colourful lures, rods, rigging bait and having a good chat on knowing their clients.
After a short time in shore, the captain is heading now to the “mlango”, the only place where the reef allows us to go offshore. (Not all areas of the coast have his) Going at a speed of 6 to 8 knots, you are now going out into the deep sea! Whilst you are not ﬁshing or waiting for a strike watch the water for migrating whale shark, humpback whale and schools of dolphins. The crew would point them out for you and also tell you about certain landmarks and ﬁshing spots along the way.
No matter when you visit, you always have a chance to catch dorado, kingﬁsh, barracuda. In February and March, black and blue marlins are caught in blue waters closer to seashore, and at the end of September and early October till December is when the sailﬁsh, known as “suli suli” by the locals, are most abundant. Hooking one of these ﬁsh is the most difﬁcult part of the experience, but once you do, the great sailﬁsh jumps into the air, giving you quite a show while you reel it to the boat. From December through March, the iconic marlins are in the area and a great trophy ﬁsh.
After some silence and sound of the boat sailing through the ocean. Pzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!!!!!, the sound of a strike the reel screams into action and the rod bends to a mysterious force pulling away the lure far away from the boat. Congratulations!! The ﬁsh is hooked. The crew jumps into action and takes control of the rod, they will ask you to sit on the ﬁghting chair, hold the rod and start reeling with up and down movements. Sitting in the ﬁghting chair is an exhilarating experience and may last for 10 minutes to hours of a ﬁght depending on the size and type of ﬁsh.
You must know the ﬁshing law regulations, what to catch and not to catch. Fishing for billﬁsh and shark on the Kenyan coast follows a tag and release program, and the Kenyan coast is the centrepiece of many conservation organizations, with the largest being Kenya Association of Sea Anglers, International Game Fish Association and African Billﬁsh Foundation.
After your hours out at sea, it's time to go back to the mainland. Hopefully, you are coming back with a boat full of ﬁsh, take pictures and put it in your records. if not, we are sure that you still enjoyed your trip, not without a small frustration feeling which will bring you back for more. Game ﬁshing does not guarantee a catch, the same way a Safari in the National parks does not guarantee a siting of Lions, Leopards etc. However, the experience is out of this world and what a way to be in touch with mother nature.