Rescheduled Wahoo Tourney could see a ‘boon’
Whatever doldrums there were and numbers of fish that were proving unwilling to bite; those matters are no longer of concern. With whatever the next 48 hours brings, everything is about to change markedly with the bottom line likely to be an improvement in the fishing. And, for all but the gifted few, that is something to be desired.
Catches recently have varied widely with a few boats doing well and found others that could have done well concentrating on lobsters. Add to this the fact that the trappers have been forced into re-locating their gear once the weather forecast indicated that this would be the site of a blow of some not-to-be-desired proportion. The time and effort that goes into moving and setting lobster gear is no mean feat and can easily account for time that would otherwise have been spent on Bermuda’s Edge.
The Edge is of particular interest because it is only during this last week or so that the welcome sight of juvenile mackerel has been noted. Showing first down at the East End, these are now nothing short of abundant on the western Edge and it won’t be too much longer before they turn up on the Banks. When such tender morsels are available, schools of wahoo and tuna looking to decimate them are not far behind and their arrival usually heralds some of the season’s best, fastest and, for many, most exciting angling that the Island has to offer.
Hitherto, the last few weeks have been sporadic with things generally defined as “slow”. Of course, there were occasional hauls that would impress with some really nice wahoo being caught and a fair few dolphin providing colour and variety but, for most, a day’s haul consisted of around a half dozen fish, some of which admittedly made for a nice mixed bag. The nice supply of bonitas and ambers has also proved a saviour for many boats with two or three of these fish adding substantial weight to a fish box and making a day worthwhile.
Although bait was scarce on the Banks, with just a few flyers and very few squid being obvious, there were plenty of reports of schools of wahoo being seen but proving reluctant to bite most of the time; and, while there were yellowfin ready to occasionally please, the entire scenario had the feeling of the calm before the storm, so to speak.
Even though the focus on mackerel (and that’s what little focus there ever seems to be) is on the juveniles or “frigates” bait, this is also getting on for the time of year when some full-sized versions are about as well. World-record-sized little tunny or Atlantic black skipjack to drop a few more of the monikers that this species carries often invade chum lines and have even been known to take down trolled lures. In this respect they act very much like oceanic bonito or skipjack tuna with this latter species being particularly abundant in the tropical seas of the world.
Although the size ranges overlap considerably at both the top and bottom ends, there should be no problem distinguishing the two. The mackerel (for want of a better word) has spots on its belly while oceanics boast stripes. Although neither obtains any sort of size approaching huge or even large, both provide a great deal of power and strength relative to their mass. Those who have caught large mackerel or oceanics (say, over 12 or 15 pounds) have said that if it were tied tail to tail with a yellowfin of equal weight the mackerel or oceanic would tear the other inside out. No doubt about it, they can pull and usually put on the dogged defence that is associated with the entire tuna clan.
Just to provide an idea of what you might be looking at here, the world record mackerel (little tunny in the IGFA book) is a 36 pounder from off New Jersey, US, of all places; and the record skipjack is just over 45 pounds from the Pacific side of Mexico. Not giants by any matter of means but fish that are capable of putting a hefty dent albeit a brief one even into 80-lb tackle.
Probably for the first time ever in Bermuda angling history, a tournament’s organisers have acted really proactively in not waiting until the morning of or midnight the night before to decide the “go, no go” for a tournament. In this particular instance, the well-analysed route of Tropical Storm, then Hurricane, Leslie made it fairly easy to conclude that no one would be giving the Wahoo Tournament a thought. The main concerns of Island residents were to be getting boats out of water or onto sheltered anchorages and then securing their homes.
Quite correctly the decision was made well in advance of the weekend that the storm would bring a halt to all proceedings with no negatives on the part of the would-be competitors. As some may have noticed, the annual tournament schedule gives this particular event several alternative dates, a recognition that while September may have some quality attributes for sport fishing it is also the month most likely to be affected by significant hurricanes. Then for some inexplicable reason, once October arrives, angling interest drops to near non-existent, regardless of the weather; go figure.
The passage of a storm is probably all that the fish need to convey to them that the winter is on its way and that it is time for migrations to take place. That means needing to store up food and that means going into feeding mode, which will be a boon to anglers and fishermen alike. When the tournament does take place, it will probably see lots of fish weighed in; something that was looking rather unlikely during the run-up to this weekend.
The tournament appears to be well subscribed with about 47 boats having registered and listing some 150-plus anglers as keen to compete. This, of course, will be held on the same basis as planned either next week or the week after, depending on the weather and the outcome of the present blow. This information will be made known during the course of the week ahead.
No sense talking about any fishing this weekend. Not unless you are some 600 miles away when reading this. Here, it is batten down the hatches, close the shutters and hope that we miss the worst of it. With any luck, when the weather does clear, and it will, it will be back to calm seas, sunny days and plenty of opportunities for Tight lines!!!
The Royal Gazette’s annual Wahoo Tournament has been postponed for one week due to the threat of Hurricane Leslie. The tournament, which was due to take place tomorrow, will now be on Sunday, September 16. For more information, contact Bobby Rego at Flybridge Tackle.
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