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Junior tournament shows the future is indeed bright

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Gyasi Dowling was one of the several winners at the Bermuda Anglers Club Junior Tournament (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Last Sunday saw the island’s singular main event for the junior set. It is really a bit odd that with so many organisations offering youth programmes, only two of the recognised angling clubs have such promotions of their sport and only one of those does so in a large-scale public manner. They are to be commended for this, particularly at the height of summer when the schools are out and there are many children looking for something to occupy them on weekends.

Zenarje Smith is mightily proud of her catch at the Bermuda Anglers Club Junior Tournament (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

This year’s event was a great success with 126 children signing up for the competition and 78 of these actually bringing their catch to the weigh-in station. Encouragingly, 35 per cent of the entrants were girls. This made the competition larger than last year’s and augurs well for the future for fishing in Bermuda.

Fishing from shore in the Under 6 category, the winners were Ben Fullerton with a 2.1lb chub and Nova Bell with a 2.9-ounce bream. In the same age group, fishing from a boat, Cruz Dietz with a 2lb porgy and Dylann Pacheco with a 1.6lb bream were the winners.

Leo Yiasoumi, 3, at the Bermuda Anglers Club Junior Tournament (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

In the 7 to 10 category and fishing from shore, Dayce Woodley’s 5lb hogfish and Alyanna Georgine Camello’s 7.1-ounce bream were the winners. Fishing from a boat, in the same age group, it was Royall Fubler-Tucker’s 2.9lb triggerfish and Elle Metschnabel 1.9lb bonita that took the honours.

In the eldest category, 11 to 16, fishing from the shore, Zakee Doers’s 4lb hogfish and Savana Haywood’s 9.5-ounce bream were the winners. In the same age group but fishing from a boat, Fletcher Logic with a 1.5lb hind and Kallie New’s 1.4lb whitewater snapper emerged winners.

Annaabel Cunningham, 9, at the Bermuda Anglers Club Junior Tournament (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

In the overall categories, the Top Female Angler was Alessia Vianello with a 5lb red hind. The Top Shore Angler was Gyasi Dowling, who caught a 5.5lb chub. The Top Inshore Boat winner was Kenzie Barnes with a jack that weighed three pounds. The H&H Top Offshore Boat award went to Jack Fullerton, who brought a 24lb wahoo to the weigh-in.

In addition to the various categories, there were other winners of special prizes including a notable mention for Finlay Martin’s 6lb red hind and Zenarjé Smith’s 2lb pompano (palometa), which was the tournament’s most unique entry. There were also a number of other awards, making this a great tournament for juniors to compete in, regardless of age. All in all, a wonderful and valuable contribution to the community by Bermuda Anglers Club.

Photo gallery

While the emphasis on billfish has long slipped into memory, it simply does not work that way. One may not be fishing for marlin, but that will not stop a marlin from having a go at anything that might get put into the water. Certainly, numbers seem to be down but then again, the amount of directed effort is hugely reduced.

Granted, a few charter boats and hopeful locals will drag a large lure or two across the deep water, but that is nothing compared to having a few dozen boats concentrating their effort for eight hours over the same areas.

In any event, there will still be hookups with billfish, and while the time of year may suggest that these attacks will come from smaller fish, that is simply playing the odds. Every so often the fish in question will be a full-sized version. Just in the past couple of weeks there have been reports from various sources of run-ins with what can only be described as “monster fish”. Fine, if that is the target species, but a potential nightmare for those solely interested in a tuna or wahoo.

The warm water and heat during the day can be a bit of a negative influence on the normal chumming for tuna. While blackfin do not seem to mind the temperature, yellowfin tend to avoid the heat of the day, making early mornings and late afternoons the best time to try for this species.

The use of deep-trolling gear has gone a long way to ensure that wahoo can be caught all year around, even if they definitely go off the boil during the warmer months. What is now accepted trolling mechanics should pay off with a wahoo here and there, and while most of the fish will be usual summertime 20 to 30-pounders, every so often a surprise may prove the exception. Wait for next month when the wahoo action starts to liven up in advance of the autumnal run.

Largely ignored but coming into prime time are the yellowtail snappers. While fishing for this species is a bit of a speciality, numbers can be caught during daylight, but if the tide conditions hold they will go on biting long into the night and some massive catches can be made. Most of the fish caught here are significantly larger than those found elsewhere within their range into Florida and the Caribbean, and they make excellent eating. Just about the only downside is that they need a lot of ice to keep them from spoiling and they should be cleaned and put away quickly, even right after catching if this can be accomplished. Best of all, on the right tackle, they can provide some great Tight Lines!!!

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Published August 19, 2023 at 7:26 am (Updated August 19, 2023 at 12:47 am)

Junior tournament shows the future is indeed bright

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