Pemba Island - Deep Sea Big Game Fishing
Pemba is the only granitic continental island on the East Coast of Africa and is surrounded by exotic coral reefs of every form and description, beautiful smaller islands, deep channels and exotic white sandy beaches. In short … Paradise! The main island is some 45 miles long by 20 miles across, and lies some 23 nautical miles offshore. Pemba Island is the sister island to Zanzibar and both come under the Tanzanian flag. The island itself is covered by dense rainforest in the north and rich fertile soil where huge bananas and mangoes grow like weeds, together with coconuts, lychees and of course cloves. With its extremely rich species biodiversity it is an island of considerable scientific importance
The East Coast is exposed to the full force of the Indian Ocean and the prevailing winds, hence the reefs are narrow, the drop-offs extremely steep and the shoreline harsh. To the north there is a wide shallow bank extending some 12 miles north covered in coral reefs and with one of the most beautiful beaches in East Africa at Vuma Wimbi in Msuka Bay. This beach is only accessible from mid-March to mid-November during the SE-monsoon period.
The West Coast is made up of a series of smaller islands enclosing an incredible inner sea with islands, reefs, mangrove creeks and deep-water channels. The south is very similar to the East Coast although less harsh.
As the prime fishing grounds are on the Pemba side of the channel one can benefit considerably by basing oneself there. We can be in the best water in a matter of minutes rather than hours, which translates into about 4 hours more fishing time in the best spots.
Marlin have often been encountered within 1 mile of the shore with dog-tooth tuna, giant trevally, kingfish, barracuda and wahoo all along the steep drop-offs. During the yellowfin tuna season the best fishing is almost always within a couple of miles of the Pemba coastline, making it an ideal base at this time of year.
These trips are great fun, and as there are no telephones or faxes you can have a truly relaxing holiday away from all the pressures of every day life. The best fishing for giant trevally, large wahoo, barracuda and narrow barred mackerels is along the Pemba drop-offs. Even in the billfish season of December through March the fishing is often best in close proximity to Pemba.
If, as well as the excellent fishing you would like to see more of the island then we strongly recommend September through November and March when the sea is usually calmer and you are free to cruise where you want.
The deep waters of the Indian Ocean along Tanzania’s coast are rich in big-game fish, from marlin and tuna to swordfish and biting barracudas. All the same, the waters of Tanzania are only just beginning to gain the world-wide fame of the Kenyan coast, so the waters are less populated and fishing at its most pristine. Tuna and other pelagics migrate through the Pemba Channel on a yearly basis, but can be found in smaller numbers throughout the year. Besides the big-game fish, grouper, red snapper, and other local species are populous along the coastal waters. Deep sea fishing in Tanzania is best organised through private companies that specialise in boating and ocean trips, or through lodges and hotel properties that offer day excursions throughout the coast.
Along the mainland coast, Pangani and Dar es Salaam are the most popular area for deep-sea fishing. Trips from Pangani and Tanga offer easy access to the Pemba Channel, a main migratory route for big-game pelagics. Outfitted charters are best arranged from local lodges, and the guide will know where best to look for a big-game catch. Around Dar es Salaam, fishing boats can be chartered and trips arranged around the areas of Msasani Bay, as well as the larger hotels and lodges. Excursions usually take the form of day trips and although the area is not as populated with large game fish, smaller species are in plentiful supply.
In the Zanzibar Archipelago, resorts and lodges along the northern and eastern parts of Unguja and the island of Pemba offer fishing charters that venture into deep waters. Fishing is becoming a popular alternative to snorkelling and dive trips along the reefs, and boats take clients out into the Pemba Channel and surrounding waters.
Pelagics and big-game fish are abundant in the isolated waters around Pemba and Unguja, and reward the adventurous fisherman with their size and bounty.