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Blue marlin become the target as tournaments loom

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The last weekend in June already! Where is the summer going?

As if it was not moving fast enough, now that the schools are out and people are getting into summer stride, it will be nice to see more people taking advantage of the water sports that the Island has to offer.

Fishing is, happily, something that can be fitted in with anything from an idle cruise around the Sound to a relaxing day at the beach.

Fish are never too far away, and the true angler always has a hankering to wet a line. The perfect formula for even the most casual fisher.

Trolling is still producing wahoo although the average size and numbers have both dropped considerably.

Larger wahoo tend to be taken on live baits or on carefully presented baits in chum slicks as they often are drawn to the activity generated by the smaller game species like mackerel and rainbow runners.

The main offshore scene continues to be lively with yellowfin tuna providing the bulk of the action.

Chumming a little shallower will also attract blackfin tuna which are, arguably, on a pound for pound basis, the best fighting tuna.

Oceanic bonito, also occasionally pleasing locally, are the species that probably offers them the most competition. Both can be caught while chumming on the Banks.

The latter tend to show up in late summer, sometimes in great numbers and have even been known to take lures in deep water intended for marlin.

Billfishing has started in earnest with both local and foreign boats enjoying some considerable action from both the white and blue marlins.

Happily, the dominant species here at the moment are the blues but there have been years when the main billfish caught during July turned out to be white marlin.

Bermuda has never really been a hot spot for white marlin; that is true of places like Venezuela or Maryland and the Carolinas, but this island has made a name for itself in being accessible for anglers and a Mecca for really large blue marlin.

Those giants will be the target for all the July tournaments with the biggie being the Blue Marlin World Cup on July 4.

Some anglers are great believers in the full moon premise; that the blue marlin are more active on or about the full moon. With the June full moon just gone a couple of days ago, most of the local billfish tournaments will be fished on the darker phases of the moon.

Fortunately, most local aficionados do not adhere to that theory, places live the Virgin Islands are great believers and schedule their tournaments around the full moons.

Numbers have been good the last week or so with Captain Peter Rans’s Overproof catching three in one day. One of these went down and died after it was hooked and so was boated at an estimated 600 pounds.

Although few locals actually eat blue marlin, their flesh makes the most amazing tuna bait for chummers. This is hugely ironic simply because in the natural world, it is the marlin that eat the tunas, not the other way around.

So why they even have a taste for it is something of a mystery but there is no doubt that it can work like magic.

Not everyone has the luxury of a boat that can head out to the Edge or the Banks and certainly not everyone suffers from a seasonal dose of marlin fever.

Still, there are plenty of options for someone who wants to do a bit of fishing and maybe something in the way of fresh fish for the pan.

A great option is to go out after whitewater snappers. These fish which are as desirable as any other snapper in terms of firm fillets are mostly found in the muddy channel waters.

Nearshore areas such as off the oil docks are productive and while there is a legal limit of just 30 fish per boat per day, the fish are usually super willing to please. It may not sound like much be rest assured it is still a lot of fillet if the limit can be met.

All that is needed is a light spinning rod and a bit of chum. Usually showing up in schools the snappers bite readily and while they can not be classified as game fish, do pull pretty well for their weight.

With this usually being a pound or less, one should not expect too much making it a good species to catch when introducing children to fishing.

Actually, the proper name for a whitewater snapper is Lane snapper and some people mistaken them for silk snapper. The latter is another species found locally although more often over reef areas than in the channels.

There are some similarities although when seen side by side the differences are obvious.

A true summer species, July and August are the best months for this species; and long, cooler evenings after work make for the prefect time.

High time to set back and enjoy what summer has to offer.

More than just a chance to get some things done around the house, this season reminds all that they live on an Island surrounded by water and filled with myriad opportunities for Tight Lines!!!

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Published June 26, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated June 26, 2021 at 12:53 am)

Blue marlin become the target as tournaments loom

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