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Where’s everyone? Let’s be having you

Preying sharks continue to prove an impediment to boating a wahoo fully intact

So, where is everyone? It is not like the fishing and boating season has not started yet. Granted, the commercial fleet have been plying their trade with some success and a few weekenders have put in an appearance offshore, but overall there just isn’t a lot of effort being expended.

It may not be “May 24” any more, but the May holiday that has always signified the start of summer is less than two weeks away and everyone’s boats should be shipshape by then and, certainly, anglers should have at least wet a line.

Having said that, some notable catches were recently made by Mark James, whose brief early-morning sortie out to Challenger Bank scored a 71-pound yellowfin and a 68-pound wahoo in short order. A few days ago, another came off a commercial boat as a fine wahoo that was just short of the 100-pound mark.

There are also increasing reports of schools of yellowfin tuna in the middle to light-heavyweight category with estimates running between 50 pounds and 70 pounds. Fish this size make for a fine challenge on lighter classes of tackle, even though there are very few who condescend to use such these days. In any case, they will give a good account for themselves on any tackle likely to be in use at the present time. It will be a few weeks yet before the unlimited stuff comes out.

There are stories doing the rounds in the print and electronic media about a huge great white shark that is off the coast of New Jersey. Well, surprise, surprise, isn’t that where the sharks are supposed to live?

In any case, what makes this stand out is that there is a website dedicated to serious research called Ocearch.org. This programme involves placing tracking devices in turtles, sharks, swordfish and other large species of marine life. Researchers can then use the data to follow the movements, migrations and so forth of the creatures.

Using the tracker on the website allows the general public to find out where and if any of the tagged specimens are in any particular area of interest. So, when the press notice that a monster-sized and feared denizen of the deep is located proximal to a popular beach area, they make hay while the sun shines. Quite naturally, the website does not account for the probably hundreds of other sharks and creatures that have not had the luxury of an electronic tag attached to them.

Over time, great whites and even blue sharks have been shown as traversing the ocean close to the island, with local anglers and fishermen never noticing anything different offshore. It seems that the best indicators are the patterns of fish movements that have emerged over the years, decades fact. These are what most commercial fishermen and even casual anglers rely on. Nothing is guaranteed but playing the odds based on previous experience is usually a fairly good bet.

Following on this conventional wisdom, the trolling action should be just about at its spring peak now. By early June, it will have given way to chumming being the most productive activity. Between now and then, there is often some fast action to be had from schools of wahoo that arrive in the local area, often concentrating their movements on Bermuda’s Edge. These fish tend to be smaller, generally in the 15 to 25-pound bracket. In the heady days of tourism, boats doing half-day charters often would catch three or four on each trip, making for success stories.

But, as an aside to that action, the presence of those schools of fish often came with a menace in the form of mako sharks. Although very few of these apex predators were ever caught, many a partial wahoo was brought to the boat with its body literally shredded by the ferocious attack. For a start, the rigs intended for wahoo are less likely to get a mako’s attention while a hooked wahoo was just what the shark wanted. With the time right for the quick rise in wahoo activity, anglers should also be reminded that it is now against the law to catch mako sharks. The trick is to get the wahoo in quickly before it is lost to a shark. Maybe this is where the use of heavier gear comes in. Just saying.

Despite a bit of inclement weather through the past week, even though winds did not really figure, the forecast for this weekend is actually encouraging for anglers. Unfortunately, it is not that simple. While the once-postponed BFCAT tournament would normally be slated for this Sunday, it has been overshadowed by the Bermuda Sail Grand Prix event and it seems that many who usually take to the water to pursue fish are also interested in sailboat racing and will sacrifice the former to enjoy this weekend spectacle. With that being the case, the fish will have to wait another week before they get a chance to provide the Tight Lines!!!

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Published May 14, 2022 at 7:20 am (Updated May 14, 2022 at 7:20 am)

Where’s everyone? Let’s be having you

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