One shot at a last hurrah
Face it! Much as you may not want to, summer is over and a lot of places in this world are turning their clocks back this weekend. This is not done to appease the ghosts and goblins of Hallowe’en but to try and cast a bit more light on the early morning when civilised people are waking up and going to work and school in the dark.
The one benefit that some anglers have reaped over the last few weeks has been the ability to be on the Edge or Bank at first light without having had to crawl out of bed at an ungodly hour.
Although there has been a mix of weather that has not benefited those limited to the weekends, there are still enough fish out there to justify a trip offshore.
One recent run by an amateur was rewarded with three wahoo and a nice dolphin on the 20lb bracket. The wahoo weren’t giants, but at this late stage the mere thought of being able to freeze some quality fish for the winter ahead has got to be tempting. As for the dolphin; that was a nice-sized specimen by any stretch of the imagination.
That such fish are still out there is a combination of the facts that some fish are pretty well resident and are available all year round in the bright-blue water of Bermuda. Others are truly migratory and are just passing through. Having either strayed farther north this year, making the trip south longer or merely lingering on the way, will bring such fish through local waters during October and into November. After that, these long distance rovers will be few and far between.
The species mostly likely to persist on into the winter and beyond are the wahoo and blackfin tuna.
The billfish, dolphin and yellowfin along with other tropical tuna species are the migratory ones that put in a seasonal appearance. Not that anything is 100 per cent, there are blobs of ocean, some quite large, that maintain summertime characteristic on into the winter and may account for some fish to be caught totally out of season. There is a lot going on in the world ocean and there are no certainties.
The deteriorating weather scene does most to discourage anglers and there will be few pursuing the fishing beyond the present. Spring will eventually come around again and summer pursuits will again become a focus but in the meantime is there anything else that can be slipped in to the programme? Maybe.
As pretty well everyone knows, the shoreline fishing goes to pot during the winter months and while this is true there is one good shot at a last hurrah.
The South Shore is home to a desirable yet highly ignored species: the palometa or; incorrectly, the pompano.
Not a large species by any matter of means, there used to be a couple of old-time anglers who specialised in catching these, each year they would challenge themselves to see who could catch the biggest one. With the species probably maxing out at about four pounds, this would be no mean feat and, amazingly, most years saw one or the other of them land something close to four pounds!
These fish still exist despite there being minimal effort for them. They are a great little game fish; well suited to ultralight tackle — try 2lb test or 4lb test and can be taken on either spinning tackle or on a fly with the latter being a challenge.
Anyone of the South Shore beaches is home to this species of jack that flit over the white sandy bottom with the only giveaway being the black on the tips of their fins.
The long-established technique of pouring sardine oil over bread and then chumming with the bits of bread and using other bits of breads as hook bait definitely works but is not the only tactic that can be employed.
Other chum that gets the fish worked up — and they do have a good sense of smell — is cat food or other fishy material. The oilier the better because that moves them into feeding mode even though there might not be anything for them to actually bite except for the offering on your hook.
If handling all that fishy and finicky bait is beyond you, rest assured that the feisty pompy will hit a small spoon or other shiny quickly moving lure with abandon. The same is true of a well-placed flashy fly. Because the fish occur in schools, it is usually possible to catch half a dozen or more before they either catch on or have had their fill and move on. The rewards, regardless of the method used, are some of the firmest white meat fillets that the chef could desire.
So while putting the boat into mothballs will be the task facing most anglers, it could well be worth grabbing a light rod and heading to the beach for some rather different but nonetheless pleasing late season Tight Lines!
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