Anglers kept at home as Tropical Storm Henri wreaks havoc offshore
Around and round she goes; where she stops no one knows.
Just like the old-time fair barker said, Henri did just that. Around the Island he went, stirring up the ocean, keeping anglers home and reminding everyone that it is that time of the year when tropical developments can make the headlines in very short order.
Although this pretty much ruined what would have been a great week of fishing based on intelligence from the days leading up to the onset of the inclement weather, there are a few positive elements in which some consolation may be taken.
The movement of such a tropical system involves extracting a great deal of energy from the ocean over which it passes.
This lowers the temperature of the water, hopefully making it less attractive to any future systems that may come this way.
It also resulted in some rain which is always welcome for the tanks and the gardens when the summer heat has done its drying of most everything,
Going back to before the onset of the depression, the tuna fishing on the Banks was nothing short of excellent.
The yellowfin tuna have pleased in the best possible fashion both in terms of numbers and quality. Again, these would have been hugely suitable for light tackle and those looking to rack up points for club competition could not have wished for anything better.
The average fish was close to 65 pounds and, while a worthy competitor on any tackle, on 12 pound test would be worth in excess of 2,500 points to any angler trying to improve his score.
One boat had a great day the weekend before the weather turned sour. The haul was seven yellowfin and one wahoo with almost all the action coming in the morning.
Many anglers have noted that the real heat of the day with the sun almost directly overhead puts the yellowfin tuna off and, presumably, they head to deeper cooler waters, returning later in the afternoon when the sunlight is presented at more of an angle.
Also contributing to the conditions offshore were some really strong currents, locally referred to as the “tides”.
Strong currents are often associated with good fishing conditions, possible because the fish take advantage of them, lying in wait for smaller species that have to fight against the current to move and are therefore easier prey.
Another species affected by tidal conditions is the blackfin tuna. Unlike yellowfin, blackfins like it really hot and there should be some trophy-sized blackfin out there.
Most of the real giants come from the Gulf where the fish follow the shrimp boats around, gorging themselves on all the discarded fish and crustaceans as they are dumped overboard.
Having said that, though, there are some really large local specimens around at this time of the year and there is every possibility of catching a record-sized specimen.
Wahoo remain occasional catches as the trolling is usually slow at this time of the year and the fish that venture into chum slicks are not always receptive to anglers’ offerings.
What everyone is waiting for is the arrival of juvenile mackerel and an influx of countless wahoo, the combination of which makes for the autumnal run, so welcomed by all as a last opportunity to stock up on fish before the winter starts to set in.
Billfish and mahimahi are still to be found offshore and there is always the possibility of a serendipitous find of rewarding flotsam but late August is defined by doldrums both real and symptomatic of summer malaise.
Happily, this won’t last long – better days are coming.
While another pandemic-driven summer drags on, top marks got to Bermuda Anglers Club who are once again organising their annual junior tournament.
Recognising the pitfalls associated with anything involving numbers of people, this event allows juniors under the age of 17 years to fish as much as they want between August 14 and September 6. All they have to do is register online at www.BermudaAnglersClub.com/tournaments/bac-junior-tournament.
They can then enter their catches by e-mail, submitting the details and a picture online.
They can enter as many times as they like and everyone entering a fish will be awarded a t-shirt. There is no entry fee.
Fishing can be conducted from the land or from a boat and both handlines and rod and reel are acceptable gear.
With a large number of categories, there are plenty of chances to win and winners will be notified in advance of the September 19 prize presentation.
Looking ahead, apart from a return to school and the end of the summer season, there is The Royal Gazette Wahoo Tournament on the horizon.
One of the very few major tournaments to actually be held this year, this event is of historic significance and has always been popular with both light tackle angers and the most casual fishermen.
Entry is required and the appropriate forms should be available from tackle shops and elsewhere.
With September in the offing, this is a wonderful opportunity for every would be angler to enjoy some competitive late season Tight Lines!!!