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Time to get boats in shape as fishing season returns

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Welcome back! You made it through yet another winter!

Time now to get the boat in shape and to dust off the tackle that you have been meaning to fine tune since September but have still not gotten around to.

Many will be thinking that, with any luck, it should be good enough for another season; but then again will doubt persist especially when the big hook-up comes along.

Maybe a quick going over should be done. If the lien is in good shape, maybe just a good cleaning and a bit of lubrication will be all that is needed. If it has had problems, then probably a good time to seek the services of a professional.

As is so often the case, there was a dearth of effort during the recent winter months. It really seems that once October rolls around the sport fishing effort drops off to near nil.

Probably the largest factor is the unreliable weather, which makes it nearly impossible to plan offshore excursions.

This is especially true for weekenders who really only have one day a week to work with and even that is up against competing demands.

Still, there are a few perseverant commercial operators and a very few very hardy souls who take their days as they come and head out onto the briny just to see that, if anything, there is out there.

This year was actually quite rewarding with good numbers of wahoo pleasing and a rather surprising run of yellowfin tuna. Naturally, the weather made the proper exploitation of such a run an improbable thing but, all told, a decent quantity of rather nice tuna specimens made it into local markets.

As has now come to be expected, there were a few encounters with bluefin tunas that were traversing the area. Considering the huge amount of bait that a school of this species needs to hold it in any place for a time, makes it fairly obvious that the giant tuna are on their way to somewhere else.

There is evidence that suggests that they do Transatlantic migrations through this general area and that would account for them putting in periodic appearances here.

The depth of the water around here and the fact that most boats fishing in the off-season are carrying gear meant for smaller game means that most bluefin hook-ups end up being lost although the limited amount of longlining here and the occasional angler have had results.

Live baiting was the way to go it seems as most of the catches made in the off season, at least the remarkable ones, seem to have come from this method of fishing.

Now that spring has arrived, one might be inclined to think that the best technique for producing fish might be traditional trolling of rigged baits mixed in with a smattering of artificial lues and combinations of the two.

Whether this will indeed pay off will remain to be seen although the tried-and-true methods never cease to work.

Then there is the well-established adage of “match the hatch”. Originally coined in relation to fly selection of freshwater streams, the principle remains the same: whatever the fish are feeding on is what should make the best bait.

Recent reports have substantiated the presence of numbers of yellowfin tuna and wahoo along the drop-offs.

While these are to be expected given the season, there have also been a couple of encounters with blue marlin, suggesting that things are already moving into top gear with the influx of the summertime species.

Apart from the high-profile predators, smaller species like false albacore (mackerel) and skipjack tuna (oceanic bonito) also arrive in numbers in the summer and are considered bait species. This, despite the fact that they are recognised game fish species.

This weekend sees the first interclub competition of the 2022 angling season. The Bermuda Fishing Clubs Annual Tournament is unlike any other tournament in that not only is it restricted to light tackle, but the winners are decided by the number of points accumulated on each line test by the various teams.

Because of the use of light tackle trolling becomes a less viable option and it is more likely that most of the teams in the tournament will elect to set up a chum slick and concentrate on catching tuna.

A side benefit of this technique is that it will often attract ocean robins which make “primo” live baits, allowing a second, or even third, if kite fishing is counted, method to be introduced. Tournament organisers expect a wide variety of species to be weighed in.

With its first full schedule of tournaments since 2019; Bermuda Game Fishing Association sanctioned events will offer opportunities for competitive angling over the next six months.

And even if this isn’t particularly attractive, remember that just wetting a line is the real key to Tight Lines!!!

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Published April 30, 2022 at 7:51 am (Updated April 30, 2022 at 7:51 am)

Time to get boats in shape as fishing season returns

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