Summer’s almost here . . . don’t miss the boat
Are you starting to have that “hunted” feeling? Are you looking over your shoulder every few minutes just wondering what it is that is that is lurking in the back of your mind? Has your significant other mumbled something about a picnic or the boat? Are your kids looking at you expectantly or have you seen them trying on swimsuits and dragging goggles and fins out of some long-lost closet?
Ah, yes; be warned that traditional start to summer is not the months away that your procrastinating little mind keeps telling you. It is just over a week away and the boat had better be ready regardless of the weather forecast or any other plans that you have made.
Look on the bright side. Once the picnicking day is done, you’ll have the boat ready for fishing. The first of the big open tournaments is the Bacardi Tournament and that is set for June 10. That is not the eternity away that you think it is especially when the entry forms will be in the papers shortly.
Before you can go organising your crew and planning your piscatorial excursion, you need to have a boat in working order. Getting ready for Bermuda Day will pretty much ensure this.
One question that must come to mind is just why are so many, even some of the professionals, somewhat behind on getting ready for the season. Is it the cooler than usual water, or the seemingly more inclement weather that is so not summer-like?
Part of the explanation may lie in the fact that 2012 is forecast to be an El Niño year. This oceanographic effect which, in simple terms, causes a warming of the Pacific Ocean, has far-reaching meteorological effects that, in turn, affect oceanographic conditions elsewhere.
A warmer Pacific usually coincides with a cooler Atlantic (don’t ask for the explanation if you really want to know there are lots of website including some free ones, that will have you reaching for a dictionary). This then relates to a reduced likelihood of hurricanes (a good thing) but also means that the warming pattern takes place more slowly and Atlantic temperate waters may not warm up as much as usual. This is likely to have some effect on the migratory fish species that have to take the cures for their movements from somewhere and water temperature would seem to be a logical one.
Even the intrepid few who have dared to immerse themselves in the water while at the beach have admitted that it seems cold. And this on the verge of the recognised start to the summer season! Statistics fans will find that this temperature is currently about 2°F lower than average.
Although the temperature given in the media usually refers to inshore temperatures with little direct bearing on the offshore temperature, it is apparent that the ocean is also a few degrees cooler than it might be in a “normal” year. It’s hard to define “normal” when there is a range of variation that occurs between years but it might just be that slight variation that separates good fishing years from great ones.
So, having established some of the reasons why, where are we with regard to the local angling? To be blunt, it has been very sporadic over the last week or so. There have been some fairly respectable hauls with a dozen or more wahoo being boated but such days were followed immediately by mere singles or doubles. Sort of like from the sublime to the ridiculous!
This weekend, assuming that things moderate enough over the next 24 hours or so to allow a civilised “go, no go” decision to be made, the Bermuda Fishing Clubs Annual Tournament (BFCAT) should result in a pretty good idea of what he sport fishing offshore is really like. It is likely that a variety of techniques will be employed and given the emphasis on light tackle that comes with the type of completion, there should be some degree of concerted chumming effort.
The main target here will be yellowfin tuna and it has been established that there are some schools of these fish around. At this time of the year they will also take trolled offerings with natural rigged flyers or garfish being baits of choice. Fishing them way back can be a good tactic as can attaching a chin weight or cigar-shaped trolling weight, both of which will keep the bait in the water more as a swimming bait than a skipping bait.
It is a little early for one of the tuna’s real favourite foods to occur in numbers on the Banks. That would be the squid, generally referred to as flying squid because of their habit of breaking clear of the surface. Tuna go wild over this bait, often gorging themselves to the point of throwing up so that they can feed some more. As squid start to appear, certain lures start to work: the really old-fashioned cedar plugs (natural or red/white combinations) and some of the MoldCraft® plugs. This is another reason why it pays to look at what bait is naturally available. It is worth remembering that the old fresh water adage of “match the hatch” holds true even out on the briny.
Inasmuch as this is a competitive light tackle tournament the emphasis will be on chumming, hoping to get some nice-sized tuna up that will allow anglers to rack up large scores on light line. Thus far, there have been Allisons caught up to about 75 pounds but the majority of the fish have been significantly smaller. In this tournament last year, most of the fish were in the 20 to 30-pound range, so this is probably to be expected.
When chumming, assuming that he tides are anything like near conducive, there should be a smattering of other species. While it is early or late, depending on how you look at it, for ambers and bonitas, there should be mackerel and it should be possible to get some robins up. The latter make good baits for wahoo and, if conditions suit, the use of live robins on a kite can also get surprisingly good results. The use of a kite to present a wings-wired wide open flying fish is well known to work but try a live robin if you can. It probably won’t be out there long.
So, everything about to bust loose! Summer is all but here and the angling season is moving into full swing. Tarry not too long, less you miss out on what must be a nice variety of Tight lines!!!
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