Light Tackle Tourney enjoys revival
After a brush with a wannabe tropical system that lashed us with monsoon-style rains at the weekend, things improved rapidly for the holiday and with it the International Light Tackle Tournament got off to a lively, and very welcome start.
This event is enjoying a re-birth as eight teams compete in near perfect conditions with the fish pretty much pleasing the competitors. Most encouraging is the return of some overseas competitors and a very much higher profile light tackle event that is not being played down by the interest in billfish.
On the first day, it was Capt. Kevin Winter’s Playmate that led the way, moving the team of Team Reelax into first place with 5,278 points from eight fish. Close behind were Trinidad and Tobago Team A which was also hotly pursued by Trinidad and Tobago Team B. The High Point Road at this early stage was Danny Fox.
Day Two saw some changes. A 10,000 point day moved Capt. Sloan Wakefield’s Tenacious into contention even though Playmate managed to garner enough points to stay in the lead overall. The top fish for the day was a fine 61.3-pound yellowfin tuna caught on 12-lb test by Mark deVerteuil of Trinidad and Tobago Team A. A really impressive effort but not enough to shift Danny Fox who continued to rack up points in the tournament and remain the overall High Point Rod.
With two days yet to fish, just about anything can happen. Points standings can shift remarkably quickly when a single tuna caught on 12-lb test can mean 1,000 points or more. There is no doubt that the tuna are available in good numbers and, having said that, there have been some nice wahoo weighed in as well.
Points can also be accrued by releasing smaller blackfin and yellowfin tuna and it would not be the first time in the history of this event that points scored off blackfin have turned the tide of events. With a weather forecast that looked most obliging, some upsets are expected.
Now that the Newport to Bermuda yacht race is over, the tall spars in the marinas will quickly be replaced by the outriggers and towers of the sport fishing fleet that come determined to catch great marlin and to give the world blue marlin record a run for its money.
Although there haven’t been any billfish tournaments yet, most of the boats that are already here have put in some time in the deep water and there hasn’t been much disappointment. Blues and whites have been caught on a daily basis but so far there has not been anything worth bringing to the scales.
The way things will play out next month will be the focus of the big money with the Bermuda Blast combined with the July 4 Blue Marlin World Cup getting most of the early attention. With the water still in the process of warming up, the fish are still making their way here, so the action should improve markedly over the next couple of weeks.
With all the recent talk about providing additional marine protected areas around Bermuda, there are a few things that really need to be taken into consideration.
While it all sounds grand, affording the Sargasso Sea protection and so forth, it really flies in the face of some aspects of the Law of the Sea and even if the legalities can be gotten around, just whose navy is going to enforce the measures?
An interesting turn on events has been a statement made by none other than The Billfish Foundation (TBF) who said that, as an organisation, they want “to make sure anglers in Bermuda are aware of recent developments involving proposals for increased protection of Bermudian waters and the Sargasso Sea. Organisations like the Pew Environmental Group are currently working toward the establishment of additional marine protected areas for Bermudian waters.
These same environmental groups have been working in Australia to establish protected areas for the Coral Sea that could spell the loss of fishing opportunities for recreational anglers. Being a world class destination for sport fishermen, Bermuda greatly benefits from the economic contributions that anglers generate.
Not only do anglers contribute fiscally, but are conservationists themselves, making them key stakeholders in the maritime community. Governing authorities need to recognise and incorporate this into the management of marine resources.”
Just as this discussion is going on here, in the United States lawmakers are on the verge of passing a law that will prohibit the importation of any billfish for commercial sale.
Although there were measures in place previously that were intended to help conserve billfish, there were loopholes and this new legislation will close those loopholes. Both IGFA and TBF have been supportive of this action.
TBF would like Bermuda angling groups to stay aware of local developments and to keep them apprised of the progress. TBF also cautions that some environmental groups mislead the general public and that this can lead to a loss of recreational fishing areas, which in the case of Bermuda with such limited bottom would probably also spell disaster for some commercial operations including the charter boat industry.
It will be interesting to see if the Island’s angling clubs remain apathetic to such changes not to mention seeing what actually does take place.
Looking ahead, this weekend sees more competitive angling with the ever popular 57th Bermuda Regiment Annual Tournament slated for Sunday. Details are available from the Regiment Headquarters and from tackle shops. Bermuda Anglers Club continues their excitement by staging their annual club tournament for members.
Leaving aside the organised events, there appears to be plenty of action offshore, with something to suit everyone. Obviously, the billfish are out there as are the wahoo and tuna. Happily, the shearwaters have just about departed northward, leaving us in peace. So far, this has been a great year for amberjack and bonitas (Almaco jack).
Another species that is making something of a name for itself is the grey snapper. Commonplace enough but not all that often caught by anglers, there is probably a reason to focus on this often ignored species.
After the really nice 12-pounder weighed in at the recent Bacardi Tournament, another angler, Edward Barnes, reportedly caught a grey off the South Shore that took a live robin which is no mean feat. That particular snapper weighed in at about nine pounds.
A quick review of the record book shows that most of the grey snappers that have set line class records weighed between five and seven pounds, with the exception of three fish that got into double figures. Another interesting observation is that of the 34 records held for this species all but three have come from the USA. with Florida and Texas dominating.
As evidenced by recent results, the grey snapper grows to a hefty size here and, with records in mind; it is probably worth mounting a campaign on this species.
Light tackle does represent a bit of a challenge but if people catch yellowfin tuna on 12-lb test line using live robins, surely then it can be managed even if the rocks and coral have to be contended with. At least, they will add something of a new twist to Tight lines!!!
Harbour crash driver is lucky to be alive
Harbour crash driver is lucky to be alive
Bishops comments disappoint Scott
Logic announces new internet pricing
Striker Russell signs for Ilkeston
Bermuda Tourism in US marketing blitz
Wildlife watchtower opened
Take Our Poll