Fingers crossed season-ending wahoo tournament can finally go ahead
Here we go again – hopefully! It is high time to get the season’s last major angling event under way.
The fish are out there on the grounds and there is plenty of bait which augurs well for plenty of action. There can only be one fly in the ointment — weather.
Last weekend disappointed with The Royal Gazette Wahoo Tournament having to be postponed yet again.
At least by making the call the day before, would-be participants had a chance to re-plan their weekends; some minor advance on the vexation of learning at five in the morning that the event has been put off.
Tournament organisers frequently come into criticism by anglers who find a day was indeed fishable and, to their minds, should have been taken advantage of.
Organisers are the first to admit that they do not always get it right but there are a number of matters that have to be taken into consideration.
Obviously, first and foremost is the local weather forecast. This is considered by most people to be the definitive call on the weather.
In the event of a small craft warning, there is really no alternative but to postpone the event.
Light or moderate winds are preferred although some thought also goes to the direction of the wind and its likelihood to shift markedly over the next hours. But the wind is by no means the only consideration.
Almost equally important is the sea state during previous days. Heavy swells and hard conditions do not disappear overnight even if the wind does drop out.
For days leading up to a tournament weekend, special attention is paid to some of the other longer-term forecasting tools. Important ones include the National Hurricane Centre in Miami and the ever-popular Windguru.
Taken together, they offer a pretty good picture of conditions in the Bermuda area. They are not definitive, but more data is always better than less data.
Information on the proximity of tropical systems is most helpful because even though a storm may be a thousand miles away it can adversely affect local sea conditions well in advance of any winds.
Another important consideration that is often ignored stems from the tournaments desired audience. There is a marked difference between a local tournament when the average participant is an amateur in a boat that probably averages about 30 feet in length.
This is a far cry from one of the big money billfish tournaments that involve highly professional crews who do nothing else but fish on boats that are often 70 feet or larger in length and which boast the latest and greatest in electronic and safety equipment.
A very different ride compared to a centre console with no real cover from spray and spindrift.
As a final consideration, commercial fishermen and other regular frequenters of the offshore are contacted for their views. This is particularly helpful when conditions appear marginal. It can also provide some insight into just how good the fishing might or might not be.
A day spent fighting difficult conditions with few fish does not make the participants or the organisers happy.
The latter bear some responsibility for the event simply because some individuals taking part actually rely on the decision rather than exercising their own judgment on their craft and seafaring skills.
This weekend’s call will be the result of careful deliberation. After all, the sponsors would like participants to have a good time and to enjoy any of their products associated with the event.
Certainly, if it goes off this weekend, there should be more than enough fish to please everyone. Whatever autumnal run of wahoo there is going to be is on and there are plentiful potential live baits to be had.
In addition to baits intended for wahoo, trollers will drag daisy chains of small lures to catch juvenile mackerel or blackfin tuna, both of which make excellent live baits.
Those who eschew trolling in favour of chumming should find that the robins are both plentiful and willing to please. These also make good live baits and are often easier to catch in numbers than the mackerel or tuna. Robins are also easier to keep alive than the others.
In the race for a winning wahoo, rest assured that everything will be tried and probably just about every bit of bottom ‘round the island will also get a working over.
One other thing is for sure. The use of diverse tactics and various locations will mean that other species will also find their ways into fish boxes.
Yellowfin tuna and dolphin continue to rake troll bits and there was even a white marlin that recently fell victim to such a rig.
Chummers should see action from blackfin tuna, amberjack, bonitas, rainbow runners and other jacks. Barracuda will likely irritate both chummers and trollers by taking baits intended for more preferred gamefish.
All other things being equal and the weather co-operating, this weekend should see loads of Tight Lines!!!