Wound Up defies odds to return decent haul in sketchy conditions
Trick or treat! It is that time of year again when the blue briny surrounding this island is worked over by anglers in all sorts of guises trying to rout out the best of the treats and to avoid the pitfalls of the blanks or slim pickings that are so possible now. Those might be the cobwebs of the season, riddled with spiders and preventing access to the great pumpkin.
Actually the biggest bugbear for the sports fisherman at this point is the weather. With the shift from summer to winter now under way, it is exceedingly difficult to call it right. Even popular websites such as Windguru.com, which are normally reliable, start getting things wrong; sometimes a matter of timing and at others just not in the ballpark.
Local experience and a listen to the forecasters can allow anglers to find an opening in the form of a weather window that will allow a quick nip out to the deep water and make it possible for a bit of a piscatorial episode before the heavy weather sets in.
On another positive note, the fish are certainly affected by the weather and often behave accordingly. If a low-pressure system is in the offing, the fish often go on a feeding frenzy that cuts off as they sense the drop in pressure. As many experienced fishermen will tell you, fish will bite in almost any weather, but there are certain conditions when they bite a lot better. Things such as the adage about an “east wind being when the fish bite the least” does have something going for it.
Having put all that into perspective, the fishing has actually been quite good of late. Captain James Robinson and his Wound Up had a good day, with one angler spending 2˝ hours on a yellowfin tuna. Part of the issue probably stemmed from the fish having been hooked on a spinning outfit, which is fine for casting or jigging, but a bit of a different proposition when an 83lb yellowfin throws caution to the wind and snatches the bit on the end of a short wire leader.
A fine capture without a doubt, but definitely leaving the angler with a few aching muscles and some tense fingers.
But, because this is the time of year when variety is the name of the game, the rest of the expedition turned up five wahoo, which weighed more than 270 pounds in total — a fine indication of the quality of fish available.
It seems that there are enough wahoo out there to make an effort to catch them a decent investment of time. Boats report getting multiple shots including double strikes. Cutaways are a bit of a problem, although a reversion to the old-fashioned idea of having a swivel or other device just ahead of the lure or bait can reduce the incidence of this unhappy state of affairs.
It is a simple arrangement: instead of allowing the lure to run up the leader to the snap swivel joining the line to the wire, a stop knot or additional swivel stops the lure, leaving wire on both sides.
If another fish attacks the lure, it will be met with something resistant to its teeth either side.
In the usual situation when the lure runs up to the snap swivel, an attack on the lure is met with a parted line as the second fish’s razor teeth slip cleanly through the monofilament line.
Schooling fish or multiple fish in an area often lead to these circumstances. Competition for food, and a sort of completion borne out of one fish having snatched a bait, makes other fish want to get in on the action.
If the hooked fish is running away, simple physics accounts for the lure or remnants of the bait running up the leader.
This looks like another bit on the move and offers other fish a perfect target.
Ask any experienced fisherman, and there will be tales of cut-offs and trophy fish lost to the unwanted intervention of another fish. Looking on the bright side, though, when this becomes a problem, fish are plentiful and in a mood to bite — a happy situation for the angler and a fair assessment of the present situation.
Bottom fishing is coming into its best; hinds and other grouper species are done with spawning and back to feeding. Often forgotten when bouncing for hinds and conies are the “floating fish” such as ambers, bonitas and gwelly.
These cruise just above the reef and are given to taking baits that are clearly visible. This is why setting a hook six or eight feet above the main hooks and lead often pay off with such species.
On a very rare occasion, a monkey or flag rockfish, also a bait snatcher, will latch on.
When that happens, there is much joy in the cockpit among the anglers, who will savour the prospects of a fine feed, having already enjoyed the Tight Lines!!!