Wet and windy weekend may prevent fleet from fishing
It is a festive weekend but just how much fishing is going to get done?
Probably not a lot is the likely answer. Foul weather kept most of the fleet harbour-bound and this was followed by the traditional boating and picnicking day that must have kept many inshore if not ashore.
Although much of the weekend is forecast to be reasonably calm, there are myriad reasons that make it likely that there will not be too many boats heading offshore.
By some organisational miracle the BFCAT tournament organisers managed to slot their event in between the windy and downright foul weather of the previous week and just prior to the onset of the recent monsoon. Whether by good luck or good judgment will probably never be known but the event came off as something of a success, despite the fact that not every club was able to have three teams enter fish at the weigh-in.
The fish caught were reflective of the variety currently available offshore. Wahoo dominated the proceedings although there were dolphin and tuna as well. Most boats concentrated on trolling and got results while one craft in particular went the distance to Argus Bank and there indulged in live baiting with some limited yet spectacular results.
The BFCAT is a one-of-a-kind tournament that pits the clubs against each other on each of the recognised light tackle line classes. The winners are selected by the total number of points scored by each club on each line test. So, unlike most tournaments, where individual fish are scored for an individual angler, in this case it is the aggregate number of points on a given line test by a club’s teams regardless of how many fish may be involved that determines the winners.
The overall winner of the tournament, earning the BFCAT Shield, was Blue Waters Anglers Club which accrued a total of 4,007.34 points. These points came from three fine wahoo that were caught on 12lb test and each weighed over 40lb. This remarkable haul also won Blue Waters the BFCAT Cup for 12lb test.
Winning the BFCAT Cups for the 8lb, 16lb, 20lb. and 30lb test lines was Sea Horse Anglers Club whose three teams accrued a total of 2,269.11 points.
The High Point Angler and winner of the BFCAT Cup was Tyrell Simmons of Blue Waters with a total of 1,495.11 points. The fact that all these points came off one fish, a 46.4lb wahoo caught on 12lb test also won him the BFCAT award for High Point fish.
The largest fish entered in the competition was a 60.5lb wahoo caught by Sea Horse’s Edward Barnes on 20lb test line, earning 915.06 points. This highlights the advantage that the lighter classes of line have when it comes to scoring tournament points.
As mentioned previously, it was apparent that the fish are on the move and while the actual fishing was a little slower than expected on Monday, the mixed bags were very encouraging. In the days leading up to last weekend, some of the professional fleet did extremely well with wahoo, often getting into double figures with all the fish being respectable sizes.
There were some yellowfin caught, although the normal procedure is to let the schools of tuna settle down and then to concentrate on chumming for them. The rather unseasonable weather has seen a lot of easterly winds and confused tides on the Banks and other traditional chumming areas, so it makes sense to concentrate on the wahoo while they are still pleasing, although experience would suggest that this is about to peter out shortly.
Evidence that chumming conditions were difficult comes from reports that several boats tried to chum for live robins and were not particularly successful with few fish or even no fish appearing in the slicks.
A reversion to the usual light to moderate southwesterlies that dominate the summer should mean the ocean settles down and conditions start to favour chumming. This should also result in yellowfin and blackfin tuna providing the bulk of the action, although wahoo will occasionally take up residence behind a boat and pick at the baits on offer. They will also grab baited hooks meant for tunas and make short work of the monofilament leaders. Their razor-sharp jaws make it hard to catch a wahoo on monofilament and usually end up costing the angler hooks.
The deep water is not the safest place to be dragging anything attached to light tackle. There are blue marlin on the grounds and while they will become more numerous during the coming weeks, there are enough out there to make a mockery of most of the gear intended for wahoo or tuna.
Should a white marlin snatch a bait meant for wahoo, then that is to be enjoyed because whites are among the finest light tackle species that can be encountered. This species is not especially numerous here in the mid-Atlantic but they do sometimes mix in with wahoo schools and can put in an appearance when unexpected.
Looking ahead, next week is the BWAC Open Tournament. This event is open to all residents and is the successor to the once hugely popular Bacardi Rum Tournament. Entry forms and rules are available from Blue Waters Anglers Club. This event lends itself to participation from anglers of all abilities. All it takes is a desire to wet a line and the ensuing rather competitive Tight Lines!!!