A return to the good old days on the banks
Time, tide and fish wait for no man and the short season that is the summer offers few opportunities.
Short, because it goes by so quickly and there are so many other diversions that few weekend warriors can get in the amount of fighting that they would like to.
Not everyone has the luxury of being able to take off midweek just to go and wet a line; therefore, more reason to be prepared when the weekend comes around.
There has been some great action offshore. The yellowfin tuna are very definitely on the grounds with the action on the Banks very reminiscent of the good old days.
Chum in the water is quickly rewarded by robins, mackerel and tuna tearing through the cloud of bait in search of a tender morsel, ideally one with a hook embedded in it.
This is the sort of fishing that put Bermuda on the map back in the 1950s and 1960s.
The fish are the perfect size for light tackle anglers looking to score big points but not so large as to make fishing for them a real chore.
The commercial fleet pretty much uses 50 pound gear or slightly heavier and this is well suited to the general size of the fish which are mostly in the 40-something pound bracket.
That same fish on 12 pound test line is worth over 1,000 points and the ability to catch several in a day means a considerable amount of points can be wracked up by a single angler for club competitions.
Among a number of commercial or charter boats, Captain James Robinson’s Wound Up has had some really good trips this past week; putting together hefty mixed bags of tuna, both yellowfin and blackfin, wahoo, rainbow runner and other occasional oddities.
This stems from the fact that no one can ever be completely sure what might or might not some though a well-directed chum slick.
While tuna are the target species, dolphin, wahoo, oceanic bonito and barracuda can also be expected to put in an appearance.
Note, though, that the yellowfin activity is not limited to fish of this size. There are some hefty ones out there — nowhere near as numerous but definitely challenging, like the 102-pounder caught by Nick Cabral on his Sea Scorpion.
Unfortunately, for some reason, there is rather more shark activity than would normally be expected. This has led to some nice specimens of tuna or bonita being mauled, thus disqualifying them from any competitions.
Using light tackle usually means that it takes longer to catch a fish, so that fish is exposed to the attentions of any sharks that may be cruising by. This does give the argument for using heavier tackle some credence, especially if just catching the fish is the object of the exercise.
Trolling is still producing wahoo although the numbers are starting to ease off as they will do as the summer progresses.
Dolphin will occasionally arrive on the scene and any time spent in the deep will likely draw an attack from a billfish. Some blue marlin have already been caught this year and that action is only going to build to a crescendo come mid-July.
Competition fishing does come to the fore now with the annual Bacardi Rum Tournament slated for tomorrow.
This popular contest is generally one of the larger tournaments on the Island and attracts anglers and commercial fishermen alike as they compete for the prizes at stake.
Because there are all sorts of boats, large and small involved, the weather can be a significant factor as to whether this tournament goes as planned.
In the event of forecast inclement weather, which is certainly the present case, the tournament will be postponed and held on the scheduled alternate date.
Looking further ahead, the presence of yellowfin tuna augurs well for the Bermuda Anglers Club International Light Tackle Tournament which is being fished on a different format this year.
Instead of multiple days, it will be fished exclusively on the weekend of the 22nd and 23rd June.
The only recognised line classes will be 12 pound test for chumming and trolling along with 30 pound test that may only be used for trolling for marlin.
Teams of up to four anglers are welcome and details may be found on the internet at www.ilttbermuda.com. There is also a discounted rate for early bird sign-up.
Inshore fishing is also happening even though many anglers tend to ignore it.
There is a surprising amount of quality fishing that can be had from the shore with just a spinning rod.
The sandy flats are home to some very willing bonefish while the South Shore harbours numbers of pompano (palometa) that seem to get a free ride every year.
Grey snappers have taken up residence in all their usual haunts where they are more than ready to test out any angler’s skill at successfully getting them to take a hook. It can be done but it is challenging, not to mention frustrating!
Inshore or offshore, the mere presentation of a line brings about a sense of serenity, punctuated by excitement and the potential rewards that come with Tight Lines!!!