Time to look on the bright side
Sea conditions have been less than clement the past few days and although the weather has been far more kindly to Bermuda than it has been to points south, the Atlantic is indeed a large pond and the ripples are translating into heavy swells.
These, in turn, affect the tidal currents around structures, such as the banks, and can have far-reaching effects on the movement of both bait species and predatory fish.
The net result is that there has been less than optimal fishing effort for the blue-water species that are sought after by anglers as most commercial operators have chosen to focus on lobsters and those finfish species that are readily marketable to the general public. Even some of the diehard trollers, who ply their trade throughout the year, have seen fit to give things a break.
Taking an optimistic look at the forthcoming week, swells will continue although they will slowly start to diminish and will make fishing the offshore more attractive.
Originally scheduled for May 14th, the Bermuda Fishing Clubs Annual Tournament was postponed owing to inclement weather with a future date to be announced.
As the summer turned into the America’s Cup, then the Billfish Tournaments, then the August doldrums, followed by the return to school, work and general normality, this matter remained on the back burner. Recently, it has been agreed by the organisations involved that the tournament will now be fished on Sunday, October 8, with the following Sundays being the alternates in the event of further inclement weather.
Although many will think that the fishing season will be over by then, they would be mistaken. Originally touted as running from May through November, the poor weather that becomes a regularity by mid to late October was seen by many as the real end of the season. While that was a factor for weekenders who really only have the two days to work with, commercial fishermen and others able to make a midweek move knew that there was still some good fishing to be had.
The autumnal wahoo run often went on into October; in fact, on occasion, after postponements the Mid-Ocean Wahoo Tournament was fished in that month with good results. Given that there are juvenile blackfin offshore and the likelihood that some of the frigate mackerel seen inshore will make their way out to deeper water, any wahoo presently in the general area are likely to remain, so there should still be some good action to be had from this species.
Tuna, on the other hand, could be a bit of a problem. Blackfin, which are thought to be resident year round, will remain active and have tremendous potential to making a light tackle tournament, such as this, a success. It is the yellowfin that pose a bit of a problem. Normally they persist on the fishing grounds up until December and even, sometimes, through the winter. The problem is that this year, they really have not shown up in any sort of numbers, for whatever reason. While it is possible that they may migrate through at any time, now that the seasons are starting to change, they are unlikely to be a target of choice for any anglers looking to score tournament points.
Billfish are still going to be moving through the local area and while this particular tournament will award points for releases the fact that the event is limited to tackle of 30lb test or less makes fishing for blue marlin a rather difficult proposition. A quick release of a white marlin would make a nice bonus in terms of points but to actually spend time looking for something so elusive when there are other fish to be caught would seem a rather foolish indulgence.
The BFCAT recognises all the local game fish and this is where there are a lot of potential points to be had from less touted species. Yellowtail snapper could well be the source of such points as could amberjack and Almaco jack (bonita).
While there are minimum size restrictions in tournaments, dependent on line test, these need not apply to the casual angler. After all, a 5lb yellowtail may not be eligible on 12lb test line but on any class of line it still makes for some quality fillets. With most anglers hoping to put away a supply of fish for the dreary winter months not all that far ahead, some fishing of the deeper reef areas could produce some desirable action. Rainbow runners will dash in and out of a chum slick and can provide some lively, if short-lived, sport. Sometimes some large as in ten pounds plus mackerel turn up at this time of the year and they really know how to put a bend in a rod. While there is no guarantee that these will even be here; there are enough other species to pretty much ensure some success in the pursuit of Tight Lines!