There are six different types of billfish in Zanzibar and Pemba and the chances of catching different types in a season are good. As well as the billfish, there are sharks (mako, Tiger, Thresher and Hammerhead), tuna, wahoo, barracuda, dorado, rainbow runners, bonito, king mackerel and giant trevally.
YELLOWFIN TUNA SEASON
From August there are large migrating numbers of Yellowfin Tuna and are one of the strongest fish putting up a challenging fight.
Tuna season runs from August to October. During this season, large blue marlin can be found amongst the tuna. Blue and black marlin follow the tuna and gorge on shoals of them. The marlin are usually fatter than later in the season.
The billfish season for marlin and sailfish runs from November to March although catches have been recorded outside of these months.
In the peak marlin season, the bill fish move right up to the coast line to gorge themselves on tuna. These fish show inexhaustible displays of strength.
Known as the “Gladiator of the Sea” for its reputation of being the toughest of all the billfish with a violent mood and considered to be the toughest of any billfish to catch. It has a smooth, very broad, flattened sword that is significantly longer and wider than the bill of any other billfish. It has big blue eyes and is a ferocious night feeder.
Season: all year but best in October, November and March in calm seas.
This is one of the most beautiful, colourful game fish. Its outstanding feature is the long, high first dorsal which is slate or cobalt blue with a scattering of black spots. Its body is dark blue and silver and lights up with white dots and lines of electric blue.
Season: all year but mostly during January and December.
These billfish are the most prolific of the marlin and seasonally migrate through the corridor between Pemba and the mainland. They are known for their fighting ability, speed and acrobatic displays. compared to other marlin they are more slender and the most colourful of all marlin.
Season: Mid november to end of march
This marlin has tremendous power and persistence. Known for its long runs and tail walking. They are generally larger than other marlin and have short heavy bodies. The Black Marlin is a violent feeder at the top of the food chain and feeds on other game fish and small bait fish.
Season: August to October found amongst the tuna and mid november to end of march.
This marlin is the largest of the marlin family and more streamlined than the black marlin. The blue marlin is a powerful aggressive fighter known for its athletic abilities on the surface.
LESSER GAME FISH
This fish is a mighty apex predator and predominantly takes various fish as prey. It is usually found on reef drop-offs and is a highly rated sport fish for its large size and strong fight. They have powerful jaws and sharp conical teeth
The Barracuda appears offshore and around reefs and is generally found at or near the surface. The larger ones are almost always loners. They strike savagely and usually jump out of the water when hooked.
This fish is commonly called Dolphin Fish or Mahi-Mahi. There are found both in open water and close to the coast. They are a highly rated gamefish. Hooked Dorado may walk or tail-walk and are often believed to reach speeds of up to 50mph.
These fish are a member of the mackerel family and have very sharp teeth and are believed to be one of the fastest fish in the sea.
Most king mackerels move in shoals. Despite being common in slightly deeper offshore waters, evidence shows that great numbers also move in along rocky shores.