Blustery conditions put paid to long-awaited season opener
Wouldn’t you know it! After weeks of benign weather, the first tournament of the new year comes along and in moves a northwesterly gale to put paid to any piscatorial endeavours last weekend.
As a result, the 2022 BFCAT tournament is now slated for the week after next.
Almost on cue, the early part of the week was characterised by near flat calm seas and mostly pleasant conditions.
Typically, this did not equate to good fishing and there are those who attribute such a sudden downturn to the fact that it was a northerly wind which drops the temperature and makes the fish less active.
While plausible, there are examples where it did not hold true; bringing people back to the adage that some days are simply not fishing days.
While a number of anglers reported that the action left a lot to be desired, at lest one boat found some early morning success, managing a double-digit haul of wahoo.
While many of those trying to catch the oceanic predators on live baits were disappointed to see wahoo cruise though their chum slicks ignoring the live robins or pilchards on offer, some success was had by trolling.
What was a bit of a surprise to most veterans, it wasn’t the trolling of traditional rigged baits that got results but eh use of an artificial lure popular for offshore trolling elsewhere in the world.
These are the Nomad® trolling lures. They come in several sizes ranging from around four and a half inches up to about six inches in length and in a wide variety of colours.
The usual modus operandi for this time of the year is to troll. It is indeed springtime and the fish are on the move with many of the tropical species heading north to richer feeding grounds.
This is akin to hunting a moving target hence the idea of trolling ― covering the water in the search for fish.
As summer progresses schools of fish especially tunas settled own and can usually be counted on for showing up in a chum slick at one of the more popular chumming spots.
Wahoo tend to move around but they are not too far behind any concentrations of bait. The billfish and dolphin can be anywhere at any time, and it is simply a matter of crossing their paths.
Generally speaking, trolling the edge of the drop-off at this time of the year usually makes for a mixed bag as there is no telling what will take a line.
Most expected is wahoo but both blackfin and yellowfin tuan will oblige and it is never a surprise if something uncorks a huge leap after a blistering run; often a dolphinfish or, occasionally, a white marlin.
It seems that the latter often run with schools of wahoo and it is not uncommon to encounter both species in close proximity to each other.
Less sought after but still willing to take a trolled rig are little tunny also known as mackerel, rainbow runners and maybe although it si still on the early side, oceanic bonito (skipjack tuna).
Of the offshore game fish, barracuda tend to keep a low profile early on as do the jack species. Warmer water will see them start to make their presence known.
Again, on the early side, but already definitely established, is the presence of blue marlin. These mostly prefer prowling in the deep water but a quick sortie into shelf waters has never posed an issue for this apex hunter.
The problem is for the anglers because most blues can make a mockery of the class of gear being carried by most boats at this juncture.
Rarities around here are sailfish and spearfish. In the past, the early season has proven to be one of the times they are slightly more numerous and therefore likely to be caught by local anglers. Good game fish on suitable tackle, the practice nowadays is to release such catches.
Although very little recreational effort is put into the inshore waters, observers should have noticed the arrival of schools of jacks. These fish but on hectic performances of feeding when they explode on baitfish in the harbours and bays, producing a maelstrom of white water in the process.
While most jacks are caught by commercial fishermen using nets, some fine light tackle activity can be had by casting or trolling small lures like silver spoons.
These will elicit strikes and the pugnacious little jacks make for a fine learning opportunity for junior anglers learning the finer points.
This is a weekend fraught with difficulty for the keenest anglers. The Mother’s Day festivities preclude an offshore excursion for most and any suggestion of taking Mum fishing is not likely to wear well in most instances.
So, maybe the lacklustre forecast for the rest of the weekend is not such a bad thing after all.
Improving conditions as the summer arrives will surely hold a few days that are eminently suitable for searching for Tight Lines!!!