New strategies needed as ‘doldrums’ set in


Here we are in the August doldrums, even though the sea conditions would suggest otherwise.

The humdrumness of it all stems from the fact that the fish have not yet turned on and the bite is poor.

It is not that you can’t catch any fish; it is just that you are unlikely to encounter any torrid action unless you happen upon a piece of jetsam.

Making matters worse for the weekender or occasional offshore angler is the lack of information from the commercial fleet.

Unlike the amateur, the commercial operator has another fish to fry, so to speak. In case the lockdown and various changes wrought about through most of this year have pushed the calendar into the recesses of the mind, it is only a mere couple of days to the start of the lobster season.

As most commercial operators have some stake in this alternative industry, they ease off on their usual fishing methods to concentrate on deploying their traps and readying themselves for the September 1 opening day when the crustaceans again appear on the menu.

Thus, there are not myriad reports on the trolling, chumming and bottom fishing from the various locations around the Island.

What can be gleaned is that there are a few wahoo and yellowfin tuna on the Edge and Banks, some of which might be inclined to take a trolled offering.

Do not expect much in the way of multiple strikes or finding an area that will yield up strikes continuously.

The name of the game will be covering the ground and hoping that any shots won’t be wasted because there probably won’t be many.

Chumming will produce a few tuna if good conditions can be found. Working up shallower will produce a plethora of small game that can provide activity on suitable tackle although most of the species tend to be unwanted.

Working a bait down deeper can often result in an amberjack or bonita that may be laying back in the tide munching away on the chum.

If the current is calm enough to allow the bait to make it all the way to the bottom, yellowtail snappers might also rise up and start to take baits that are fished back out of sight. These are always welcome in the fish box.

Using the same technique over the reefs will have much the same result with the tuna being unlikely.

In both instances dropping a line down to the bottom will pick up the sort of bottom fish that one might expect: coneys, barbers and the occasional, but welcome, red hind.

Often overlooked by just about everyone is the inshore fishing.

While a few people can be seen fishing off the rocks with handlines looking for something fresh to sweeten the pot or ease the grocery bill, there are plenty of opportunities for some fine sport to be had.

The sandy and grassy bottoms of calm areas like Somerset Long Bay are prime areas for bonefish, an incredibly game species that Bermuda boasts in good numbers and a large average size compared with the other areas of the world where the species is seriously sought after.

Spinning gear is ideal for this type of fishing which is more akin to hunting as the best technique involves quietly wading the shallows stalking a bone and then casting ahead and beyond it, slowly retrieving the lure so that it passes right in front of the fish.

Lacking casting talent will have the angler revert to tossing a piece of squid or bit of shrimp out and leaving it sit until a bonefish scents in and comes upon it.

Knowing that there are grunts, blennies and all sorts of other tiny nibblers out there may mean that the hook will be retrieved bare after nary a noticeable bite.

The South Shore is home to palometa, lots of them. And, again, Bermuda has some big ones.

Going by any number of monikers, including pompano and old wife, among others, a one-pound palometa is a very nice fish.

But, here, not a particularly large one. The Bermuda record is four pounds. That is huge! The current IGFA all-tackle world record is one pound 12 ounces, from Texas; not to mention that it was caught on 50 pound test line. Overkill, for sure; but obviously an opportunity for any local record hunter.

Quite apart from being a delectable fish in the pan, the palometa is a tough little gamefish that always gives a good account of itself and is ideally suited to line tests less than 8 pound test and light spinning gear.

Fly tackle would also work well but the lack of its use locally makes this an unlikely starter.

Looking ahead, the Bacardi Tournament beckons on September 13. The deadline for entry is the ninth and forms can be had at Marine Locker, C-Mart and Robinson’s Marina.

For most local anglers this will be the solo competitive event this year and, with the onset of autumn not so far away, probably the perfect time for some Tight Lines!!!

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Published Aug 29, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated Aug 28, 2020 at 8:47 pm)

New strategies needed as ‘doldrums’ set in

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