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Time to make hay while the sun shines

Anyone who was waiting for summer should know by now, that it is here and it won’t last for ever.

Fair skies, light winds and calm seas beckon anyone who desires to wet a line to take advantage of the situation now. It would be very hard to go wrong and adages about making hay while the sun shines come to mind.

All of a sudden, chumming has burst on to the offshore scene with the action fast and plentiful. It seems that the Banks have been inundated by numbers of yellowfin tuna.

Some of the readings on today’s more elaborate depth sounders have shown almost impenetrable markings of dense schools of fish below the surface, suggesting that there are a lot more tuna in the area than mere surface observation would indicate.

And that already includes an awful lot of tuna. The fishing has been nothing short of fantastic with some boats easily making hauls into double figures.

At this point most of the fresh tuna market is pretty well flooded and as for individual use, a single 40-pound tuna can go a long way to filling a home freezer.

As one might expect, the fish are school-sized and pretty much of a sameness. The belief is that these fish are all pretty much the same age and have probably been travelling the Atlantic together since they were planktonic.

As predators, other natural attrition and capture fisheries take their toll, the numbers will dwindle with the survivors becoming larger and generally more spread out.

As most fishermen know, really big tuna occur singly or in small schools. The present class of tuna are ideal for light tackle and even a novice can learn quite quickly that although the fish will give a very good account of themselves on 20-pound tackle, the odds are stacked in favour of the angler.

Shifting the line class downward makes things more challenging but that is a lot of the sport to be had in sport fishing. It would be no fun if it were too easy.

Trolling will still get results, but the wahoo have thinned out and a lot more water has to be covered to try and locate the fish. For this reason, many charter boats put in an hour or so on the troll and then start to chum. Not only are the tuna likely to please, but wahoo and other small game species often put in an appearance and help to liven proceedings up.

And if anyone is in any doubt about marlin, think back to the number of tuna out there. No self-respecting apex predator is going to let them go by unmolested.

Anyone contemplating dragging baits or lures through the deep water is best advised to attach such to some heavy tackle because there are some behemoths out there in the deep blue briny.

This weekend sees the inaugural Blue Waters Anglers Club Open Angling Tournament. This very welcome event pretty much follows the same format as the Bacardi Tournament.

There are no line classes although all eligible fish must be caught on rod and reel. There are classes for boats under 27 feet in length as well as for larger craft with a separate designation for commercial boats.

The eligible species are wahoo, yellowfin tuna and other BGFA-recognised species with the exception of all sharks and billfish. This is a slight departure from the Bacardi rules which saw all the tuna species lumped together.

Although it was highly likely that the largest tuna would be a yellowfin, it would not be impossible for a bigeye or even a bluefin to claim the award. With the current rule, all the other tuna species of which there are more than most people think, fall into the “other” category. For all species there is a minimum weight requirement of 20 pounds.

In any case, only the top five entries from each boat will be considered, with an angler’s top three fish accruing points for the High Point awards.

A rather interesting omission from the rules is any mention of the requirement that fish be caught in keeping with the established rules of angling. Probably a moot point, but one nevertheless that might be exploited, ultimately making difficulties for the organisers.

The “Go, No go” decision will be relayed to participants via WhatsApp, a sure sign that even competitive angling has entered the digital age: no more waiting for someone to answer their phone in the hours of darkness prior to the dawn.

Fishing times are from 8am until 3pm with the usual provision for an extra hour should anyone be hooked up at 3pm. The final time for arrival at the weigh station will be 6pm.

Even with a relaxation of the Covid-restrictions, attendance at such is to be discouraged simply because numbers are involved between the boat crews, weigh crew and organisers.

So, while the offshore is booming, the inshore need not be ignored either. There continue to be nice catches of snapper, hogfish and bonefish on the flats.

South Shore is home to plenty of palometa and there are pretty much fish of some sort anywhere you can wet a line.

Basically, there simply isn’t any excuse for not having some Tight Lines!!!

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Published June 05, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated June 05, 2021 at 12:00 am)

Time to make hay while the sun shines

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