Wise fishing heads on young shoulders
The sun was bright, the clouds puffy and, all in all, it was a Bermudaful day as the island’s juniors gave what was probably a first course in the fishes of Bermuda at the Flagpole as they presented their catches in the Bermuda Anglers Club Junior Tournament. Just a list of the winners provides more variety than most even know exists.
In the Under Six Years boat category the winners were: Noah Benevides, with a 5.5lb dolphin caught on rod and reel, while Ella Metschnabel weighed in a winning 1.09lb silk snapper also caught on a rod. In the handline category, the winners were Finlay Martin, with a 4lb hind and Inara Todd with another hind that weighed in at 1.81lb.
The Under Sixes fishing from shore produced winners in Nasri Vickers’s 1.6lb porgy and Sakura Vickers’s 0.65lb grey snapper, both caught on rods. In the handline grouping, Kimir Bailey’s 3.5lb chub and Edith Watson’s 3.7oz bream took the honours.
In the Seven to Ten Years age group, boat fishers posted winners with Tucker Curtis’s fine 33lb wahoo and Isabelle Robinson’s 1.05lb barber, both caught on rod and reel, while handliners Connor Stout’s 5lb hind and Maya Fitzgerald’s 3.5lb triggerfish were also winners.
In that same age category, fishing from the shore, Sami Corolo’s 3.5lb triggerfish and Katherine Haworth’s 1.44lb pinfish were rod and reel winners, while Zahee Doers 3.06lb hogfish was the sole handline winner.
In the older age group, from 11-16 years, the winners fishing from boats were Jordon Mars, with a 40lb yellowfin tuna on a rod and reel and Enrique Minks, who had a 9lb bonefish caught on handline. Fishing from shore in this age group were Phoenix Bowers, who caught a 3.5lb bar jack on rod and reel and Christaina Warren with a rod-caught 0.26lb grunt. The handline winners were Khamanie Pitt-Nesbitt’s 4lb chub and Nyae Smith’s 0.39lb bream.
The Top Inshore fish award went to Jorga Pearman with a nice 11lb hogfish. The Top Offshore Fish prize was won by five-year-old Conor Walsh with his 42lb wahoo.
The Top Shore Prize was a tie between Al’Mair Mallory and Kimurry Bailey, who both bested 4.5lb Bermuda chubs.
The Top Girl award was won by Harriet Williams, who released a rockfish. In the Special awards section of the competition, Zahee Doers was the first to sign up, back in mid-July!
Youngest Girl with the biggest fish in the competition was Jessica Akle, who at two years old brought in a 0.16lb squirrelfish and the Youngest Boy with the biggest fish was Dylan Mello, a three-year-old, who caught a 4lb remora. The prize for Sport Fishing went to Philando Hill, who released a parrotfish and a yellow grunt.
There is no doubt that the tournament was a rousing success as about 175 children had entered with about 50 of those being girls. In the end, approximately 90 came to the festivities and to collect their free shirts. Many had stories to tell of the ones that had got away and a few had pictures of their catches that were released.
This annual event is a wonderful addition to the tournament calendar and the Bermuda Anglers Club is to be commended for the effort that they are making to promote responsible angling among the younger set and to enhance local conservation efforts. A job well done!
And just to show that the desire to keep the long-running tradition of light tackle alive is still alive and well, consider these two recent angling feats.
Earlier in the week, Wayne “Feeds” Correia spent almost 2˝ hours hooked up before besting a fine 70lb yellowfin tuna on 16lb test line. On Wednesday, James Chiappa put in a back-wrenching effort when he caught an 80lb yellowfin on 30lb test.
There is obviously a very nice class of tuna to be had offshore with many of the reports of the larger fish coming from Argus Bank. One must suspect that if they are on that bank, then there must be some nearer to home, on Challenger as that has always been a steady producer of classy tunas.
Dragging anything out in the keep will continue to get shots at billfish. Although numbers are down this might be largely due to effort and certainly some blue marlin over 400lb have been caught in recent days.
Although no real fast action has been reported, there is little question that there are numbers of wahoo on the offshore grounds. One late afternoon excursion saw a boat crew expend ten live robins in just over half and hour. Although the bites were plentiful, burning out the bait supply, they ended up with two decent-sized wahoo to show for their efforts. Most experienced anglers will be keeping a close watch on the wahoo population; they are out there and the autumnal run should be nigh and it could commence at any time. Similarly, there will be those keeping an eye out for signs of an influx of juvenile little tunny or “frigate” mackerel as a combination of the two events often makes for a wahoo run that is nothing short of spectacular.
With this in mind, the last of the season’s major tournaments is just a couple of weeks away and those wishing to enter had better start checking the paper for entry forms and details. With some wondering where the year has gone, this may be the last summer opportunity for some competitive fishing and a shot at some tantalising Tight Lines!
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