Hardy souls rewarded through winter
We’re back! And how did you spend your free time this winter? Visiting the gym, watching football, NFL, binge watching, house chores? Bet it wasn’t fishing and that is probably what you should have been doing.
For one, the weather was not all that awful. Winter gales were few and far between; it never really got “cold cold” and the fish did some unlikely things. Spring seemed to want to come early with the longtails and humpback whales all arriving ahead of their usual times.
In January and February, the intrepid few who venture offshore during the off-season found themselves encountering the behemoths known as bluefin tuna. Reports of breakaways and pulled hooks after prolonged battles were commonplace as were sightings of these huge tuna.
So much so, in fact, that several fishermen actually geared up for them and went out to seek their fortune, literally.
Although breaks in the weather and the simple passage of time prevented any further exploitation of this surprising run, as February gave way to March, a run of yellowfin tuna suddenly took the pole position and became the flavour of the month. The fish were of good quality, often bettering the fifty-pound mark.
Hard on the heels of the unexpected influx of yellowfin came what may have constituted the spring run of wahoo. Always a short-lived phenomenon, the fish were located on the Banks and then in various spots along Bermuda’s Edge before the really fast action slowed down. And there was some really high-quality action mixed in with the numbers. Many hauls consisted of eight to ten wahoo with a few boats managing a bit better or a bit worse.
The fish were generally of a nice consistent size in the 30 to 40-pound range, but then there were some big fish; really big fish running up to 70 pounds and beyond.
Perhaps not surprising, given that there is a considerable amount of anecdotal evidence to suggest it happens, but that spring run sometimes encourages sharks, probably mako, to put in an appearance as well.
One notable such example came when veteran fisherman Martin Dixon was left with the head of a wahoo that had to have been at least 90 pounds before a large shark relieved the hooked fish of its body from the gill plates back. Not the sort of damage done by your average-day dusky shark and a good reason to stay in the boat at all times.
During the course of the last month or so the hauls offshore have been various mixed bags of wahoo and tuna with chummers mixing it with amberjack and some of the bottom species.
More recently, the pace of things has slackened somewhat, but with the water continuing to warm, the inshore and reef fishing is starting to come to life.
There are some nice bonefish on the flats and sandy, grassy areas near beaches. Jacks are running riot in harbours and bays, chasing fry and other baitfish. Simply put, the season is just about to bust loose. And, yes, it is later than you think.
So late, that the boat probably needs some serious looking at if it is to be ready for the 24th of May. Not to mention that in the meantime there may well be some competitive angling opportunities.
On a final note, there are many who are dead keen on angling whether it is from a boat or from the rocks or beaches but, unfortunately, they do not get the most out of their sport simply because they do not join any of the angling clubs on the island.
There are three and all are inviting new members. In order to encourage participation, these organisations hold and subsidise tournaments, promote junior angling and are a great source of inside knowledge as to the tricks of the trades.
They are great socially and provide entertainment, not to mention some whoppers of fish stories. Consider joining one and getting the most out of your Tight lines!!!