Florence threat has effect of scattering those most likely
Where have all the anglers gone? It seems that they have just about all given up on the present season and turned to other things. The thought that Florence might visit did lead to a lot of boats being hauled out of the water and it is reasonable to think that very few would be in a hurry to put their craft back overboard only to have to take it up for the winter in a few weeks’ time.
Naturally, there are few diehards who keep at it through much of the year, often venturing out in midwinter. These stalwarts are some of the best indications of what is happening offshore because even the commercial fleet starts to shift its focus on to lobsters and the pursuit of bottom fish rather than the recognised game fish.
While there has been a definite shift in the weather, many of the conditions are still summer-like enough on certain days to allow the normal pursuit of fish. Trolling is often the method of choice with wahoo the preferred target species but, once the fish are on the move, which they must be now, it is pretty much a shotgun approach with almost any species likely to take a bait.
This is in contrast to the oft-vaunted autumnal wahoo run which can be nothing short of spectacular, but which has not happened yet. Some years it simply doesn’t, and it is getting very late for this year to be showing some signs of coming to life.
The juvenile little tunny or “frigate” mackerel which seem to be the key ingredient to the event are being seen hither and yon but not in the huge numbers that they sometimes are. And, the sightings have been in the near shore rather than offshore where the real predators live.
Regular trolling will indeed pick up a few wahoo with some of the specimens being fairly nice, weighing upward of 35 pounds. It is just that the double figures hauls are all but nonexistent and this is not what many have in mind. Many envision a winter’s supply of wahoo stacked up in a deep freezer. Probably not happening.
There is, however, one glimmer of success and that comes from the yellowfin tuna. There are fairly good numbers of these offshore and they seem to be willing to please. At the moment, they are less than fussy, taking trolled lures, invading chum slicks and inhaling any live baits set out.
For those who are not the consummate “big game” hunters who restrict themselves to wahoo, tuna and billfish, there is a plethora of small game which are fully capable of providing some lively action on the right sort of tackle. A light spinning rod, like the sort sold for fresh-water fishing, will get the most out of the spirited performance of a mackerel, rainbow runner or even a robin. That same gear will also let a barracuda put on a display that will rival those of the recognised aerial acrobatic species.
Although many local anglers use a spinning rod as a static rod, it is worth remembering that it was designed to cast and retrieve lures, especially those of the size normally used for such smaller game. Swimming or diving plugs, spoons and tube lures all have their place running through the water of a chum line; and yes, they do get results.
If the fear of “light tackle” still restricts one to the use of mid-range gear, remember that the crown of the Bank is home to some really fine yellowtail snappers. They respond to a chum slick with or without sand and will take a hook bait quite handily. These fish can weigh up to ten pounds or more and not only offer a good account of themselves but are fine fare in their own right.
As October becomes a reality, so will the passage of cold fronts become a form of normalcy, but this is no reason to give up just yet. Even blue marlin have been caught with some regularity during this month. Wahoo will continue to please throughout the year and there is every chance that the present influx of yellowfin tuna will remain through the winter. A mild winter here often sees some of the more temperately inclined tropical species tough it out and remain in local waters through the cooler months. It is safe to expect at least a couple more weeks of fishing that can provide a reasonable level of success and the occasional bit of flotsam that might well hold a mother lode of wahoo or dolphinfish.
Keep those thoughts in mind when viewing the weekend forecast; there may well be a reason to snatch a few hours afloat. There won’t be many more opportunities before winter sets in but, for the moment, there are plenty of potential Tight Lines!!!