Tournaments at risk as looming storm threat persists
This isn’t going to be easy – not by any stretch of the imagination.
It is more than a little difficult to drum up support for a fishing tournament that is over a week away when a major tropical system is brewing in that part of the Atlantic that so often sends storms in the island’s general direction.
With the best of forecasts based on roughly five days’ notice, fishermen, both commercial and sport, are thinking more of moorings and anchorages than they are of baits or tactics.
A bit like the game of horseshoes, a miss is as good as a mile but a direct hit or even a near hit by a massive Category Three or greater hurricane can be devastating.
There has been no shortage of evidence on the television for the last couple of weeks and stories of disaster from Haiti and elsewhere in the Caribbean are nothing short of frightening.
While pundits and scientists alike theorise on the increased frequency and strength of such events, the fact remains that such phenomenon have a huge effect on island dwellers even without having to experience the ferocity of one of Mother Nature’s most powerful forces.
Some of the real fair-weather fishermen may be looking to take advantage of this weekend to slip in a final offshore trip before taking the boat out of water or putting it on moorings so safe that it is unlikely to move again until next spring.
The hope might be to put a small stock of fish in the freezer ahead of the winter months yet there is the lurking fear that a lengthy power failure will result in the disposal of everything in that freezer.
So, leaving next week to the foibles of the future, a quick look at the offshore situation while positive is not the panacea that many anglers await. Simply put, the wahoo run has not commenced yet.
Perhaps that is a good thing and it is yet to come while the pessimists will quickly ascertain that it will not take place at all this year. The jury remains out.
In the meantime, trolling will catch a few wahoo. Numbers may not be great unless there is some floating material that harbours a school of them, but traditional trolling should turn up a few.
There have been some reports that live baiting with robins has not paid off but this might be simply due to anglers not being where the wahoo are. It seems, for now, at least, that the fish are spread out and the trick is to cover lots of ground.
Chumming remains reasonably productive. Yellowfin tuna in the middleweight class seem to be fairly consistent players in this scenario. Ideally suited to the lighter tackle so spurned by modern anglers, most boats seem to be able to manage at least a couple of Allison tuna, usually along with a mixed bag of rainbow runner, the odd dolphin and smaller blackfin tuna.
The late season also means that the barracuda put in a serious appearance. Present at almost all chum slicks, these toothy critters lie in wait for some small fish to be hooked at which point they go ballistic, and tear said fish to shreds.
Mackerel are among their preferred victims but often times they are not too fussy at all. Less common but nonetheless an occurrence is that they will, on occasion, take a baited hook themselves.
Although not usual, it is possible to catch them this way. More productive is the sue of a shiny lure or metallic spoon while the most likely to get success are the highly unlikely looking, surgical tubing lures which come in the most outrageous colours, all of which seem to work.
Shunned throughout much of their wide range as a source of ciguatera or other versions of fish poisoning, locally plenty of barracuda make it into bags of mixed white fillet.
Here they are generally considered safe, particularly the smaller, more run-of-the-mill sized specimens, usually less than about 20 pounds. So, catching one or more while chumming need not be a total loss.
A quick reminder for juniors who are contemplating the return to school during the week ahead, this long weekend is also your last chance to enter the Bermuda Anglers Club Junior Tournament.
Virtual in nature, all you have to do is register, then catch a fish and record it on the website. Details can be found online at https://www.bermudaanglersclub.com/tournaments/bac-junior-tournament. There are plenty of prizes up for grabs.
Taking a back seat to events that my be far more pressing during the upcoming week, the deadline for the Royal Gazette Wahoo Tournament also approaches.
Tournament organisers are constantly following weather and other developments that might have an impact on their competitions and while it is too early to tell, it should be assumed that a common sense approach will be taken, and entrants will not be left in limbo.
Having said that, ensuring that an entry is in, in accordance with the rules, is a proactive measure to ensure eventual participation in this popular quest for Tight Lines!!!