Pemba Channel Fishing Club – Shimoni, Kenya

A Sea Angler’s Paradise

Hemingway wannabes leave the inland wildlife to others and happily head for this coastal mecca, famous for exhilarating, record-breaking fishing safaris. This small, delightful, and exclusive club near the Tanzania border offers glorious days aboard five state-of-the-art boats in the fabled corridor that separates the southeastern Kenyan coastline and Pemba Island.

The channel is widely known as home to the biggest fish that Kenya – even the whole of Africa – has to offer. These are the waters said to have inspired Ernest Hemingway to write The Old Man and the Sea. In their translucent depths live marlin (three types), sailfish, swordfish, wahoo, and yellowfin tuna, not to mention the vicious mako shark and its cousin, the tiger shark. It is not unusual in the course of a thrilling and exhausting day to reel in a 100-pound tuna or 300-pound marlin; the club has set national records for each fish, at 193 pounds and 800 pounds, respectively. (The club holds 70 per­cent of all marlin records in Kenya.)

There are photographs throughout the club of 700-pound monsters being hauled into the boat, but most are tagged and released – it’s the memory that stays with you. If you’re more intrigued by the prospect of scuba-diving, the club’s 67-foot M.Y. Kisiwani live-aboard yacht is at your disposal for viewing the spectacular tropical reefs and pristine waters surrounding the spice island of Pemba, part of the Zanzibar archipelago.

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