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Variable conditions causing fluctuating hauls

One the move: variable weather conditions are causing fish to migrate

Hit and miss. That pretty much sums up the state of the offshore at the moment.

The fluctuations in success can be really wild with the good days being excellent and the bad days, well, not much short of a blank. What might account for this is anyone’s guess.

The variations in the weather from day to day have been more pronounced than what is usually expected during the summer where one days is almost a carbon copy of the day before; or maybe the prevailing easterly wind that brings in masses of seaweed and Portuguese Man o’ War.

After all, the adage is that when the wind is in the east the fish bite the least.

Then there is the likelihood that, quite simply, the fish are on the move, and everyone knows that it is harder to hit a moving target than a stationary one.

Migrating fish are very definitely on the move, often only stopping to feed when the opportunity presents itself before moving on. With trolling, the anglers is constantly moving and, if the fish are moving, then one has to factor in the probability of encountering them or, as the case sometimes is, not.

The trolling has had its moments. Good days have seen hauls of as many as 18 prime wahoo and there have been numerous catches ranging from the odd single to double figures.

Overall, the sizes are nothing to be sneezed at. Many of the fish are over 40 pounds and even the smaller ones are near 30-pounds. As is so often the case, all of a sudden, things will shift, and the younger fish start becoming more numerous, dropping the average weight into the ‘teens.

Running with the wahoo are some white marlin; the occasional wahoo bite suddenly hurtles into the air, making it obvious that it is not a wahoo on the other end of the line.

A fine light tackle fish, all too often a white is hooked on heavier gear and is unable to put on the aerobatic display that they are famous for elsewhere.

Both blackfin and yellowfin tuna are also taking trolled offerings although they are taking a back seat to the wahoo which is the dominant species at this juncture.

At any time now, the offshore will settle down and chumming for tuna will become the norm as this is generally the more effective means of catching tuna.

The slowing down of the wahoo action gives way to the tuna and small game angling as the spring progresses int the summer.

A rather desirable species that has kept a fairly low profile in recent years also appears to be back on the offshore grounds and has been taking trolled rigs.

This is the oceanic bonito, a species that goes by a number of names including the unlikely Arctic bonito and the more common term, skipjack tuna.

As with so many fish names, they change as locations and languages change and, given that this species is found pretty much throughout the world in warm waters, there are lots of names for it, some conflicting- sounding.

There is no mistaking this fish though the parallel lines on the belly set it apart from the Atlantic black skipjack – a fancy name for what is locally referred to as mackerel and more properly, false albacore. See here we are going with fish names?

A game fish in its own right, the average skipjack or oceanic packs a punch even harder than that of the mackerel or maybe even the blackfin.

Size wise they are variable in this area. Sometimes schools of them as small ads frigate mackerel show up but more commonly, they will be in the ten-to-twenty-pound range.

One line test world record for the species is held here; although it dates back to 1978 and clocked in at 39.25 pounds – one of the larger fish holding a record. Evidence of the range of the species has record holding fish hailing from the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans.

Locally, they sometimes invade chum slicks rather like the record fish did but they ar also caught while trolling. When they do they hit the rig hard and peel off a lot of line, making the angler think that he is hooked up to something considerably larger than the skipjack turns out to be.

Not to worry though, in many locales, they are sought after as a food fish and are also found as canned tuna all over the world. Hooking one on reasonably light tackle will provide the sort of thrill that attracts sport fishermen to the deep blue briny. For anyone interested, the 2,4 and 16-pound line test classes for Bermuda records are all vacant.

Looking ahead, the angling clubs try to get the BFCAT team tournament off again on Saturday with the participants hoping that the weather plays along.

Later this week, the Island will stop almost everything and move into summer mode with plenty of festivities on land and water taking place from next Friday onward.

It is unlikely that there will be more than a handful who will be able to tear themselves away from the shoreline and go in search of Tight Lines!!!

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Published May 20, 2023 at 7:30 am (Updated May 19, 2023 at 11:28 pm)

Variable conditions causing fluctuating hauls

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