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Eventual calming of the seas could bring a major run of wahoo

After a weekend that starred two named tropical events, it still took some time for the seas to calm enough to make fishing a fruitful experience and, looking ahead, it may well be that this present couple of days might be the only window for a while.

Just how many will take advantage of it is anybody’s guess. Commercial operators pretty much go as often as they can and at this juncture, pretty much anything might figure as catch of the day.

The big hope is that there will be a major wahoo run during the upcoming weeks and that will allow fishermen to store up freezers full of fish to get them through the winter months when the fishing is seriously scaled back owing to weather.

In the meantime, it is a matter of putting in the time and covering the distance to try and locate where there might be a concentration of fish.

The main quarry for trollers is wahoo and they are sporadic; occasionally surprising but never quite consistent enough to be a guarantee.

Chumming and working the bottom has its adherents as well. Amberjack and bonitas are pleasing as are yellowtail snappers — all of these will respond to chum lines but are more often taken while bottom fishing.

Coneys, barbers and hinds are the likely candidates when sending a bait down to the bottom and all of these species make for respectable market material.

Tuna will invade chum lines as well as take trolls with the blackfin now the more likely version to show up. Dolphin are still being caught occasionally, mostly while trolling, but they will also take a baited hook in the slick. Never really numerous but always desirable.

No surprise but billfish seldom make the news these days. Part of this is because the late season is dominated by smaller fish but also the redirection of fishing effort has even more to do with it.

Local anglers simply try to avoid run-ins with marlin.

The gear is scaled back to that which is used for wahoo and tuna; baits and lures are downsized accordingly and, why not, it doesn’t make much sense to spend fuel and time pursuing something that has no food or commercial value.

The fact that locals are not looking for blue marlin does not mean that they are not there.

Numbers persist for a few more weeks and there have been very large fish hooked on gear intended for wahoo during October and beyond.

The bottom line is that there is little interest here at this time of the year.

But there are some rather amazing statistics coming out of the eastern Atlantic for marlin fishing. By all accounts, the Azores are having a red-hot season and it is only really just getting under way.

For various reasons it starts and ends a little later than it does in the western Atlantic — maybe owing to the movement of the currents or the rate at which the water warms up.

Astute observers will have noted that hurricanes and tropical systems do occasionally take that road.

This is evidence that the sea does get warm enough to encourage tropical activity and that means that it is certainly warm enough for billfish.

What really gets the attention of anglers is the quality of the blue marlin. It seems that they simply do not encounter much under about 500 pounds with many of the fish being hooked, caught and, happily, released being estimated in the 800 to 1,000-pound range.

Basically, monster fish, not unlike the ones that Madeira seemed to have a hold on a couple of decades ago.

Some skippers have conjectured that the fish may be more sensitive to fishing pressure than we think.

A continued hammering on a population of large fish somehow causes them to change their migratory paths that results in them favouring different areas of the Atlantic Ocean. Thus, there have been times when granders were more numerous around Bermuda or the Virgin Islands, later shifting to Madeira, then the Cape Verdes, then the Azores and so on.

It does take a serious shift in what is currently believed of fish migrations and population dynamics but there does seem to be some circumstantial evidence.

Such ideas probably plan a part in the strategies of the big time boats that specialise in record-sized billfish.

Back at home, there is another viable option for the small boater. Reef fishing can have its moments and a few practitioners have had moderate success with barbers and hinds over reef areas in about 16 fathoms.

Actually, anything might appear there including species more associated with the drop-off, but the likelihood is that the dominant bottom species will make up most of the action.

With fresh fish soon to be at a premium, this can prove a most rewarding venture into Tight Lines!!!

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Published September 09, 2023 at 7:54 am (Updated September 09, 2023 at 7:31 am)

Eventual calming of the seas could bring a major run of wahoo

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