So I went to film some fishing in Kenya with my cameraman Chucky.
He’s from Zimbabwe
A lot of people think he’s my bodyguard. Not sure why. Sure, he’s built like a brick house, but he’s a damn good cameraman and people shouldn’t jump to conclusions.
Anyway, he’s not so good on the water. Which is a problem for a person who films fishing for a living.
Look the guy can swim. He went to a private school in Harare for goodness sake, but rocking boats have a detrimental effect on him.
Now, I have to work for a living, and if our aforementioned Chucky is busy doing the upchuck over the gunwales while we have fish to film, I’m wasting my bloody time, aren’t I?
Fortunately, he pulled himself towards himself and we managed to get a couple of nice Marlin right in the preferred fishing holiday spot of one Mr. Ernest Hemingway, who, as legend, his very own memoirs, and the sepia photos in the Hemingways Bar have it, did very much the same thing a short while back. Or so it seems. The recently upgraded Hemingways Hotel at Watamu remains the quintessential upmarket East African big game fishing destination. Only better.
The somewhat fuddy duddy, but endearing, English atmosphere has been replaced with a more modern, cool and cosmopolitan feel, whilst not losing the personalized touch that see’s guests return year after year. Modern airy rooms are complimented by the never ending palm trees, white sand, turquoise pools and warm ocean. But as in days gone by, the barmen and waiters always remember your favorite tipple and serve it with a happy smile.
The thing about fishing in Kenya is that it feels so “genteel” somehow. Being on the equator, the weather is strangely stable, with flat seas and endless blue skies. The boats are more than comfortable, the skippers and crews are truly amongst the best, and, more importantly, they seem to get as much of a kick out of tagging a good fish as I do.
Then, add the fact that you’re fishing for Billfish just 20 minutes from the beach and you’re getting the picture.
This is one of the few places on the planet that you could realistically target a Fantasy Slam. Simple really. That’s a Sailfish, Blue, Striped and Black Marlin and then a Broadbill Swordfish.
Did I mention that’s all in 24 hours? It’s been done here!!
Meanwhile, Chucky, after four days, had found his sea legs and was busy swinging one of them over the gunwale of the tender boat when it snagged one of my carefully tied Sailfish flies, instantly tethering my finger at high speed to the leader, which I happened to be holding quietly at the time.
It was not a pretty sight. Chucky was doing a strange version of the one legged Can-Can on the beach, with the pretty fly embedded and fluttering around his ankle somewhere, when I first noticed that the 80 pound flouro leader had actually cut the tip of my finger to the bone and was still tied there. Fortunately, the line had snapped, so I did my best Usain Bolt impersonation up the beach to find an implement capable of cutting the embedded line. Luckily, a kind Frenchman had a Leatherman to hand and we were able to cut the finger free of the line.
A short Tuk -Tuk ride to the local hospital, where the good Doctor Erulu inserted a number of stitches which calmed things down somewhat. Chucky shuffled in shortly after me to have the hook removed from his foot and receive a few stitches of his own.
Not the best way to end a great fishing trip.
Anyway, now I’m looking for a new bodyguard for my next trip to Hemingways.