Season in full swing despite adverse conditions
Although you can be forgiven for not noticing, the summer has arrived, and the fishing season is in full swing.
To set matters in perspective, the big sport fishing battlewagons that come here in search of big blue marlin have already started to show up on the island and it won’t be long before they are plying their trade and racking up numbers of catch and releases ahead of the July billfish tournaments.
In the interim there is still some good, old-fashioned light tackle angling to be had.
The drawback here is that there aren’t many who bother to match the class of tackle to the fish available.
The modern tendency is to use fairly heavy tackle even if the target species seldom exceeds 50 pounds. This calls into question whether this so-called sport is merely an illusion diverting attention from what is actually meat fishing or commercial fishing, depending on the possession of a licence.
Up until just recently, the fleet has concentrated on trolling, primarily for wahoo. Some excellent numbers have been scored and the general quality has been good.
A recent catch had a fish that dressed out at over 70 pounds and there have been plenty of others in the over-50 category.
Naturally there have been some considerably smaller wahoo but the hauls have been pleasing, especially as there have been some dolphinfish and tunas mixed in with the wahoo.
Most people will be in agreement that the recent weather has been most unseasonable, and, for many, something never seen before at this time of the year.
Rain, day after day, at what is usually the start of a long, hot summer.
Certainly, the island went from near drought conditions to overflowing tanks and soaking lawns.
The weather component that has rather slipped by and elicited little notice has been the prevalence of the easterly winds.
The Bermuda summer is almost always defined by south westerly wind with easterly breezes usually associated with the winter weather pattern.
What might be remembered from a normal winter was the influx of seaweed onto the beaches, followed by numerous Portuguese men o’ war washing ashore.
And it is part of this phenomenon that is causing some difficulties for offshore anglers looking to troll. In short, there is a lot of seaweed out there just waiting to foul deep trolls and pull outriggers down.
Anyone who has ever encountered such conditions will know that it becomes a thankless task continually clearing the weed from the rigs intended for fish.
The one positive note is that the downrigger baits usually survive the seaweed onslaught, mainly because it is the lead ball that collects inordinate amounts of the stuff ahead of the bait. But even clearing these is no easy task.
However, it is not all is doom and gloom. Anglers can be saved this ordeal by planning to go on the chum. By some fortuitous stroke of luck, almost exactly on schedule the yellowfin tuna have shown up in numbers and they are of high quality.
Reports from the Banks have tuna “popping” or jumping all over and there are myriad signs that there is plenty of bait in the vicinity.
This makes it even more likely that these freshly arrived fish will settle down and stay a while.
While the usually expected yellowfins at this juncture are suited to lines like 12-pound test or lighter some of the current crop of fish have been in the 50 to 60-pound bracket.
A little on the large size for a novice on light line. This is especially true because they can run larger.
One very notable fish taken earlier this week on board Captain Alan Card’s Challenger weighed in at 103 pounds.
This could be an opportunity to break into the record book in a big way.
The present 12-pound test Bermuda record for a yellowfin tuna has sat at 99 pounds and ten ounces. since 1989 with no one seemingly ever succeeding in catching a one hundred pounder plus on that tackle.
Raising the tackle class to 16 pound where the record currently stands at 113 pounds 8 ounces is another, less likely, possibility for record-hunters.
The BWAC Open Tournament is slated for this Sunday, weather dependent.
Entry is open to all who want to take part.
Rather than classifying entries by line class, there are actually three categories relating to the size of the boat involved and whether or not it is professional. There are only three species eligible.
This is a bit of an anomaly as it includes categories for wahoo, yellowfin tuna and another termed “other” which includes other BGFA-recognised game fish with the exception of sharks and billfish.
There is a minimum weight for all species of 20 pounds and each pound will score one point.
This is an ideal tournament for a beginner looking to try their luck at competitive fishing.
All it needs for success are the right Tight Lines!!!