Blue Waters prove to be sea wolves in sheep’s clothing
OK, picnicking is done. It is time to go fishing. As far as the fish are concerned it is high summer offshore and even the inshore and reef species are making their presence felt as evidenced by recent efforts.
The BFCAT tournament was a resounding success with all three local clubs finding degrees of success and a supply of fish willing to take the various rigs proffered to them. Teams had trolled, chummed and even live-baited and the results indicated that all these techniques paid off.
As this was a light tackle tournament, the different teams all tried to compete on each of the recognised line classes. This makes this event unique among all the local tournaments and highlights team efforts rather than single catches.
The 8lb test class was won by Sea Horse Anglers Club, who also won the 16lb test and 20lb test categories. Bermuda Anglers Club took the 30lb test category, but the real honours went to Blue Waters Anglers Club with a great showing that earned them the 12lb test class and the overall award, the BFCAT Shield, making them this year’s winners.
Individual awards were won by Sea Horse participant Mark Mitchell, whose 3,332.38 points made him the tournament High Point Angler, and Blue Waters’ Rodney Caines had the tournament High Point Fish, a fine 53.4lb yellowfin tuna caught on 12lb test line.
The High Point Boat award went to Captain Russell Young’s Sea Wolfe with a total of 6,655.82 points, the vast majority of which came from fish caught on 12lb test line by Blue Waters anglers.
The hauls by the various boats were dominated by yellowfin tuna which ranged from about 20 pounds up to and over 50 pounds; ideal specimens for light tackle angling. There was also a significant number of wahoo brought to the weigh-in as the early-season run continued. These fish varied in weight, with the largest also going more than 50 pounds.
While wahoo have earned significant press over the past few weeks, it was the collective wisdom of some of the veteran skippers that the offshore water was now so warm as to deter their activity and that the best of the action had already been seen.
Any doubts about the water being warm can be immediately dispelled by doing a bit of trolling for billfish. Earlier this week, Captain Alan Card’s Challenger went 2 for 2 on white marlin with each fish being released and they missed a blue marlin that also took a rig. Earlier, the same boat had gone 0 for 3 on blues. With the emphasis on catch-and-release, there will be a lot of marlin action to be enjoyed.
Other marlin encounters include one by a boat fishing the BFCAT which dragged some light line through the deep water only to have a small blue marlin make a mockery of proceedings, departing for the depths unattached.
The message is clear: try for a billfish and there will be a shot. With the numbers of tuna abounding around the island, it really does not take too much imagination to visualise numbers of white and blue marlin taking full advantage of such a supply of tasty morsels.
It may be hard to conceive of just what a mouthful a big fish can take. A rough estimate puts that at about 10 per cent of the predator’s weight. Thus, a 600lb blue should have no problem swallowing a 60lb yellowfin and maybe even then coming back for more! In context, even a 60lb white marlin would have no problem with a six-pound blackfin while at the same time having to be wary of a big blue, which certainly wouldn’t limit its diet to tuna. To say that the deep ocean is a “dog eat dog” world is no understatement offshore.
Anyone who notices such things would have seen that the first of the foreign big-game fishing fleet has started arriving and it will not be long before there is a large fleet of these state-of-the-art fishing craft plying local waters. This will almost certainly result in a massive increase in billfishing effort and, with the most productive part of the season still ahead, a big year is expected.
Those sticking nearer the Edge will find a good supply of yellowfin tuna, which will respond to both live baits and to the more traditional chumming methods. As suggested, the wahoo will ease off but there are always a few around that are willing to please trollers and some that will make a speciality of lurking around chum lines challenging the anglers to get them to take a baited hook. No easy task.
The inshore is also coming to life with snappers, mackerel and other species all willing to please. For the most part, these are ignored by anglers who either concentrate on the blue-water game species or those who spend their time bouncing baited hooks along the bottom hoping for hinds, bonitas and conies. At least the expected fair conditions make both pursuits realistic options.
With this in mind. the next major tournament is scheduled for this weekend. The BWAC Open Tournament is the successor to what used to be the Bacardi tournament and is open to the general public. Copies of the rules and entry forms are available at a number of locations. Late entries will be accepted, but these will have to be submitted either at C-Mart on North Shore or at club headquarters on East Broadway. This event is very angler-friendly and there are numerous opportunities to emerge a winner. All it takes is to sign up and then be on the receiving end of some Tight Lines!!!