The heat is on after marlin madness
The bowling and batting are over, most of the bunting taken down and perhaps a return to normalcy is in the air. Cricket fever recently dispatched, and marlin madness worn off, perhaps normal angling can resume as the height of high summer approaches.
August is the period when seas are the calmest, the heat is just about the hottest and the fishing undergoes something of a shift. It is usually also the quietest time for trolling, with the wahoo taking something of a break before the much anticipated autumnal run starts to come together as September moves into the picture.
While many attribute this slow down to the heat of the day, it may well be the time of year when fish take to spawning as the odour of fresh spawn often pervades the air and is noticeable in the generally calm conditions. Corals often spawn as well, producing those orangey slicks that are often mistaken for oil spills along the South Shore. Whatever courtship and breeding procedures may be involved are unclear, but it is certainly feasible to think that such things might take precedence over feeding.
Conditions are usually good for chumming, although the currents may have more to do with the direction and speed than does the wind. Often ideal for drifting, chumming from a moving boat allows a variety of depths to be sampled and sometimes even lures preferred bait species like robins out into the deeper water where they can be put to good use fished on the surface or sent down deeper to investigate as to the presence of a hefty amberjack or Almaco jack.
Of course, it is not all good news. The tiger sharks that are the subject of much conservation and research come to the fore in August with some almost unbelievably sized behemoths fearlessly cruising the sea. They can be found lording it over the Banks from the shallow crowns to the great abyss between. Often willing to take most any bait, they can put up a lengthy battle, but one which is generally found to be of little challenge and although sharks are considered fine game fish in some places, they fail to find such favour locally.
Small game should be abundant and one game fish in particular is a lover of warm summer waters. These are the blackfin tuna and they are indeed a fine game fish. Best of all, they can be caught and then released with much success based on certain recognisable fish being often back in a chum slick a day or two after their ordeal.
Looking quickly back at last weekend, the Bermuda Billfish Challenge came to a successful conclusion. Eighteen boats scoured the ocean for what had suddenly become something of a rarity. Throughout July, boats both foreign and local reported fast action from both blue and white marlin. But on Sunday gone, it all went quiet.
Within the hundreds, if not thousands, of miles covered by the tournament fleet, six fish were eventually caught. The first of these was caught and released by Captain Peter Rans’s Overproof, which ensured its winning position by adding a white marlin release later in the day.
A notable catch was made aboard Legasea in the form of a magnificent 140lb yellowfin tuna that took a rig intended for marlin. Apart from being fine in its own right, its capture strongly points at the presence of other large yellowfin in local waters and some anglers may take note and carry something in their spread more likely to attract a tuna than a billfish.
Anyone who has not had the experience of a tuna weighing over 100lb should plan carefully before sticking out something that is likely to attract the interest of what is a quite a fearsome beast. Although light tackle is often touted for tuna fishing, fish of this nature are more suited to heavier gear. Maybe not quite the 130lb gear but definitely something over a 30lb rig.
The Bermuda Billfish Challenge is an innovative tournament conceived by Trevor Gillis and Wayne Correia. It encompasses the true local angling community yet allows for visiting foreign participation. The all-release format pushes conservation to the forefront and the event has an element that is lacking in other billfish tournaments and that is the inclusion of junior anglers. This is done with incentive, encouragements and the organisers are to be commended for their superlative efforts in organising an event that promises to go far.
Another organisation that is doing plenty to bring along the next generation of anglers is the Bermuda Anglers Club. It is now promoting their Annual Fishing Tournament which is to be held on August 19. The event is open to everyone age 16 and under. It is a free event and includes categories for both rod and reel and handline. The deadline for entry is Friday, August 17 and entry maybe made online at www.bermudaanglersclub.com or on a form available from C-Mart, Dowling’s Marine Service Station and Robinson’s Marina. Now is a good time to introduce the island’s youth to a sport that promotes the proper use of natural resources, teaches conservation and provides the thrill of experiencing Tight Lines!