Fly Fishing in Watamu

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Fly Fishing in Watamu

Yesteryear. In February 2001 about half a dozen of us headed for Watamu in Kenya to fly-fish for sailfish. My good friend Piet Goosen, former discus champion from Potchefstroom led the team, which included a few yuppies from the JSE. It was a bit of a recce trip and Piet hoped to set up a a sail-fishing business for South Africans. Sadly it never materialised.

I took a 12 weight Thomas and Thomas fly rod with a Ross reel and we tied our own flies once we got to Watamu. After some light tackle fly-fishing in the estuary for king fish and snorkeling in the marine reserve (had to dispatch of my moustache that I had for 24 years) we headed to sea for sailfish. Piet went out with me and our guide was Nick Conway – great guy and he knew what he was doing.

It didn’t take long to tease up the first sailfish and it took my fly the moment it hit the water. I doubled up the line in my left hand and set the hook tugging my hand backwards – the rod is not firm enough to set a hook in the mouth of a sailfish – and it took off, leaping into the air and shaking like crazy trying to get the hook out of its mouth. I had the sailfish on for about 20 minutes and boom – it was gone. I retrieved the fly and the hook had a bit of sailfish skin on it!

Some 20 minutes later we teased up another sailfish and the hook set well. The fish stripped off line at a rapid rate and I was into the backing in no time. I pointed out a sailfish leaping into the air about 80 meters to the right of the boat and Nick told me that it was my fish!

I landed the fish within about 40 minutes – a beautiful 30 kg sailfish, got a photograph or two and then revived and released it. Then it was Piet’s turn and within half an hour he landed another sailfish which he revived and released. Great memories.