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Hurricane Earl leaves offshore conditions in a ‘confused state’

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Who could have known? But it is a good thing that there wasn’t a tournament slated for this weekend, because it probably would not happen.

The events of the last few days have meant that the offshore is in, what could be called, a confused state.

What needs to be realised is that it is not just the wind-driven waves that affect the offshore but a number of other factors as well. These include storm-driven surges and tidal movements, all of which may be moving masses of water n differing directions.

Sometimes the movements are not visible to the naked eye as some take place at depth and there can even be different currents at different depths all moving in different ways.

It will come as no surprise that this can even pose problems for fish that often rely on current patterns to direct food in their direction. Thus, a confused sea may not merely be uncomfortable for those in a boats but may be off-putting for any fish as well.

Chumming in such conditions is pretty much out of the question. Everyone has seen it: toss a handful of chum over, it starts to go off the stern, but as it sinks, it goes, to port, then to starboards and then nearly out of sight, looks like it might be going under the boat.

How is any fish expected to follow that slick to the boat?

So, that leaves trolling which will be as hit and miss as it ever could. If the subsurface conditions are not too extreme, the fish may come to the surface to bite but rough conditions tend to see the fish hanging deeper to avoid being pushed around.

Down deeper is also cooler and because fish are cold-blooded, that means that their metabolisms will slow down, making them less active.

Who would have thought that the weather could influence fish that much?

The key to success probably is the ability to cover as much water as possible to try and locate fish that are in the mood to feed.

After a major blow, the schools may have scattered and it can take a few days for the to regroup so the initial response should be to search out as much water as possible.

Although formalised angling seemed to come to an end last week, this weekend will make it look like boating has come to an end.

The first significant brush with a major tropical system has put most anglers on alert that with the fishing season largely a thing of the summer all so recently past, there are still the responsibilities that go with boat ownership.

It is getting on for a bit late to be checking moorings and replacing ropes in advance of the further attention of the named tropical systems followed by the onslaught of the seemingly interminable winter gales that characterise so much of the next few months.

There are also some diehard fishermen who yearn to wet a line no matter the season. While this can work for the few who enjoy the luxury of being able to head out anytime the weather is fair and inviting; the vast majority only have the weekends to work with, and soon find that the effort of planning an excursion only to have the weather put an end to it is simply not worthwhile.

The counter-argument is that every so often, a weekend dawns beckoning a foray offshore, but those occasions are so few and far between that they are simply written off.

For the most part, the next few weeks will see most fishing reports come from the commercial sector. Although much of their time will be devoted to harvesting lobsters, most spend enough time traditional fishing to be able to form a picture of the situation out on the briny.

At least up until the blow, the offshore action was pretty good. Not as good as might have expected if the frigate mackerel had showed up but certainly there were more wahoo arriving on the grounds and the crop of larger yellowfin tuna that have made their presence felt earlier this month appear to have stuck around and were occasionally pleasing anglers.

The wahoo are from different year classes with some small fish being caught along with some considerably larger specimens. Normally, it is these larger fish that dominate a good year for wahoo. These fish are, presumably, several years old and have made the north to south migration a few times.

Larger fish tend to travel in smaller groups than their smaller counterparts. And while that may be true there is nothing to keep several small schools form occupying the same area, giving the impression of a single large aggregation.

The trick is to be there when such fish go into feeding mode and then it is possible to make a real haul.

Live baits can be the trigger for such a reaction and will undoubtedly be in the fisherman’s arsenal as soon as conditions settle down.

Although not always easy, getting the bait and the time and place all right are a sure formula for Tight lines!!!

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Published September 10, 2022 at 7:44 am (Updated September 10, 2022 at 7:44 am)

Hurricane Earl leaves offshore conditions in a ‘confused state’

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