Hotter conditions bring perfect opportunity of hefty hauls
High summer and the days are shortening; not that anyone is going to notice this, just yet and it is going to get a lot hotter.
It is that time of the year when the sport fishing simply does not get any better and anglers should be able to make full use of the opportunities that a mid-oceanic island allows.
As is the case everywhere, there is some seasonality to the fishing. Some of this is real, a product of the natural cycles and others are imagined or self-inflicted.
For instance, standard trolling which is excellent in the late spring becomes less productive as the fish settle down and shift into a more predictable summertime pattern.
Trolling gives way to chumming simply because most operators are more creatures of habit and an almost unconscious intention of taking advantage of those species that better lend themselves to such techniques.
To illustrate this, the wahoo fishing has now faded almost to the point that they are an incidental catch with traditional anglers concentrating on chumming for tunas of both the yellowfin and blackfin varieties.
Fuel savings and the use of lighter tackle such as spinning gear are also factors that enter into the overall equation.
One of the advantages of chumming is that ideal conditions will often attract species that would normally be caught while trolling.
When the bait runs off the edge into the abyss, there is no telling what fish cruising along may pick up the scent and start to seek out is source.
This may well be a solo wahoo or oceanic bonito (skipjack tuna) but could be a billfish of several species, a dolphinfish or even some denizen of the deep that would be totally unexpected. Past instances have seen whale sharks, mola molas, mako sharks and even bluefin tuna.
Sticking with the expected, there are yellowfin tuna in good numbers ranging from school-sized fish in the 20 to 30-pound range all the way up to some heavyweights that are pushing the 100-pound mark.
Blackfin tuna are also becoming more prevalent especially if there is less than about 40 fathoms under the boat’s keel. Small game in the form of rainbow runners, mackerel and jacks are plentiful and can provide some excitement when the tunas shy away.
Then there are those who shun the use of bait and concentrate on the glamour fish out in the deep water. With a number of foreign boats already here and more arriving the billfish scene is heating up with both blue marlin and white marlin providing action.
Happily, almost all the fish caught thus far have been released and the concentration of tuna offshore strongly suggests that there will be more migrating marlin arriving over the next few weeks.
Moving closer to shore, the reef fishing is as lively as it ever gets from a variety of small game species and the omnipresent bottom dwellers.
Those working the channels will find plenty of white-water snappers and turbots willing to please. Just remember that there are legal limits on the numbers of some species that can be taken.
So often dismissed out of hand is the shore angling. Once extremely popular and even specialised, this seems to have faded into obscurity with hardly anyone casting the shallows for bonefish on the prowl or tossing bread into the surf to liven up the palometa that call the South Shore beaches home.
Both are well recognised game fish in their own rights and worthy challenges for the shore-based angler.
On this Island, surrounded by the ocean, with the weather at its most desirable, there are myriad opportunities for indulging in the piscatorial arts with most affording the opportunity to return the vanquished gladiators to live and fight again.
Many will not have noticed it, but this past week there was a memorial service for Tom Smith.
As is so often the case, the public memory is short, and it would be most remiss if he were to remain unsung after his many and varied contributions to sport fishing here in Bermuda.
He was a founding member of the Sea Horse Anglers Club and one of the first International Game Fish Association’s representatives here in Bermuda.
He was an incredibly active angler and as he progressed from being an active participant, spent many years as weigh master and adjudicator for countless tournaments.
There is many an angler today who was a direct recipient of Tom’s devotion to the sport and his willingness to readily share his knowledge and experience. A true asset to Bermuda sport, Tom Smith will indeed be missed, and the Bermuda angling scene is poorer without him.
The Royal Bermuda Regiment’s tournament, now twice postponed looks to take place this weekend while it is just over a week now until the July billfish tournaments start up.
Kicking off the series is the first leg of the Bermuda Triple Crown in the Bermuda Blast Tournament.
Overlapping with this is the July 4 Blue Marlin World Cup which, this year, is running in direct competition with Skip Smith’s Blue Marlin International tournament. Details of both can be had online; entries are significant chunks of change, and the deadlines are the same; July 2.
Marlin will dominate the headlines for the next few weeks but that interest should not deter anyone from seeking out their niches in the wide, wide world of Tight Lines!!!