New season set to commence after false dawn
Here we go, again! There is nothing like a false start to get a rise in interest and a renewed effort to make some progress.
Simply put, the gods of the aeolian forces found cause to put paid to what would have been the first tournament of this season. The Bermuda Fishing Clubs Annual Tournament, involving all the major clubs, is the major Light Tackle Tournament that is very much one of a kind on the angling calendar.
Fortunately, the organisers were farsighted enough not to schedule the BFCAT alternate for this weekend as that would cause a conflict with the Mother’s Day celebrations that many have planned.
Disappearing offshore for the best part of a day when in most minds angling is a very minor consideration would be likely to result in nausea at a great level.
The fact that the reschedule date is next weekend may be somewhat more palatable although the officially recognised start to the Bermudian summer with a hugely popular holiday may pose problems of its own.
Putting those issues aside, next Sunday should see the BFCAT fished with teams representing the clubs pitting their prowess against each other unless, of course, the weather again turns nasty.
At the moment, one of the few generally reliable long-range forecasting services has the outlook as less than encouraging.
However, having said that, a week is a long time insofar as the weather is concerned.
So, just what is there to be expected offshore, provided that the seas moderate to the point where a reasonable sailor can have a reasonable day on the briny.
There is no fun being bumped around and having to fight to keep your balance, even when the fishing is good.
Well, the first thing to take into consideration is the time of the year. It is still spring offshore with the water warming up and the more migratory species which comprise most of the game fish found here are on their way northward having spent the winter in warmer climes to our south.
This migration is important because Bermuda is not their destination as they often travel much farther north and end up in the canyons off the American northeast where bait is likely to be more concentrated during the summer months. And therein lies the key.
Fish on the move are burning energy and for this they need fuel, as in food.
Truth to be told there is not a lot of bait in the mid-ocean. Bait tends to be associated with structure or nutrient inputs.
Around this part of the globe there is not a whole lot of nutrient input — no rivers or massive upwellings; but there is some structure as the seamounts which comprise these islands and the offshore banks serve as obstacles for moving bodies of water.
This was evidenced recently by schools of flying squid showing on the surface. These are an interesting species because they actually grow quite large and usually live quite deep, giving up the flying as they mature. Less obvious most of the time are the schools of mackerel, robins, jacks and other smaller species that can be found frequenting chum slicks.
So, there is bait out there. What else might be passing through?
The main suspects at this time of year are wahoo and they are indeed on the move. So much so that they can prove elusive. Just recently a charter boat had a good day, catching eleven prime specimens.
A return to the scene of the action the next day proved that the fish had indeed moved on with only a solo specimen gracing the fish box.
A bit disappointing but as the number of boats working the offshore grounds increase, it will be easier to follow the fish.
The assumption is that they are schooling at this time and will shortly separate into smaller groups and even singles as some of them take up local residence.
The tuna species are usually the main target of chummers but that doesn’t usually swing into its own until June, so for now, trolling is the primary means of catching game fish. However, do not let this totally disabuse you of live baiting.
Dragging a daisy chain in and among the more traditional baits and lures may pay off with some smaller than usual mackerel or even juvenile blackfin. These make for fine slow-trolling baits and often get results alongside the more usual bait rigs.
Although wahoo and tuna will be the main culprits taking the baits while trolling, the warming water should see the influx of other species as well. Dolphinfish are a possibility as are white marlin that sometimes run with schools of wahoo.
Dragging anything over the deep water is an invitation for a blue marlin, usually a size of fish not exactly suited for the sort of tackle most boats employ for the other species that should be abundant.
The inshore should also be livening up with palometa and bonefish available off the sandy beaches. Bones can be caught off the South Shore even though it means blind casting for them while some bait and chum is preferred for the palometa although they will take small shiny lures as well.
The weather is improving, and it is definitely into the fishing season; so it is high time you sought some Tight Lines!!!
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