Two keenly fought and much anticipated ﬁshing competitions will take place over the ﬁrst weekend of March: Watamu Sea Fishing Club Festival and the Marlin Championship. Both will take place from Watamu and both are two-day events. Anglers can enter either event, or both. And the WSFC Festival is also an Oﬀshore World Championship qualifying event.
Drawing anglers from up and down Kenya's coast and beyong, these events are highlights of the angling year.
The rules are strict and abide by the International Game Fish Association rules. These rules cover all aspects of the competitions, including the certiﬁcation of weighing scales and the release recommendations, and oﬀer a number of conservation guidelines.
Last year, as anglers made their way to Watamu in the days before the big weekend, little did they think that the glorious weather Kenya had been treated to for months would break. But the storm clouds were gathering. On the night before the festival, winds whipped the shores and the heavens opened. Storms raged throughout the night.
When morning dawned, torrential rain, rough seas and ﬁerce winds completely changed the face of the competitions. For many of the small boats, the conditions were impossible and they were forced to ﬁsh close to the shore, substantially reducing their chances of catching a winning ﬁsh.
The Watamu Sea Fishing Club Festival is a two-day billﬁsh tournament and each boat's result is the combined points achieved on both days. There are points for types of ﬁsh caught, points for each kg of ﬁsh caught, and points for tagged and released ﬁsh.
In 2018, the festival attracted 25 boats, with 80 angles in their teams. The winning team on Clueless qualiﬁed for the IGFA Oﬀshore World Championships 2019. Sand Dollar took second place, while Whatever it Takes took third. The Ladies prize went to Selina on Instedda, the Junior prize went to Luuz (8) also on Instedda, and the Small Boat prize went to Danny and Alex Haller on No Way. The Overall Boat prize went to Elusive, and Callum Scott won the Overall Angler prize. The Spirit of the Series prize was taken by Danny Haller.
In the Marlin Championship, the winning ﬁsh is the heaviest blue or black Marlin of 400lb or more. Last year, the competition was a tough ﬁght, with all competing boats battling the stormy conditions. But at the end of the weekend, no ﬁsh qualiﬁed. This leaves the prize open for anglers this year who are determined to make their names and seize that tantalising prize.