Climate change is real
It might be hot but, believe it or not, it is now autumn. The daily temperature may not give much evidence of this, but the sun’s concentration has definitely crossed the equator as the Earth’s movements shift its focus from the northern to the southern hemisphere. Summer is gone and winter is not too far away.
No doubt this is hard to reconcile with places such as Toronto in what we take to be the frozen wasteland of Canada experiencing warm temperatures that we would normally associate with the summer. But don’t worry, it will get cold there. Probably soon.
The issue is that weather patterns are just not as simple as where the sun’s concentration is; nor is global warming the pat answer that some seem to think that it is. Climate change is real and has always been a fact of this planet’s existence. What may have changed are the forces driving it, and that is what some scientists are actually trying to say.
The Earth has a heat engine, and, like all engines, there are a number of components. In this case probably more components than most of us can think of, with the ocean being an incredible part of that machine.
Although the offshore here has cooled off from its summertime time, it is still warm enough to be hoisting a full array of the predominantly tropical species that seasonally visit this area of the Atlantic.
Thrown into that mix is that the warmer-than-usual weather in other areas of this ocean has meant that many of the migratory species are starting their southward movements a little later than usual — and it just so happens that this island benefits from such a phenomenon.
We are not the only fishing destination reaping the advantages of such a situation. The Carolinas are having a bumper year with billfish; many of the boats making the long run offshore to blue water are releasing high multiples of blue and white marlin as well as a significant showing of sailfish, a species more likely to frequent the warm waters off Florida and south through the Caribbean.
Wahoo are active offshore now, although there are still those hopeful of a full autumnal run when hundreds are to be found on the Banks and the drop-offs all around the island. While present numbers do not approach those to be had in a full such run, boats have racked up nine or so on occasion. More likely, a day’s catch will consist of a mixed bag of wahoo, yellowfin and blackfin tuna and, every so often, dolphin. The boats that have enjoyed such success have gotten the bulk of their action on the Banks, with Argus figuring largely in the proceedings.
Straying into the deep can also meet with success, as there are still blue marlin around and although very little effort is being put in for them — mostly a case of dragging suitable gear when going and coming from the Banks — blue do regularly figure on the activity roster. Captain Alan Card’s Challenger has done particularly well, releasing blues on a fairly regular basis.
Now, all this could be about to change if certain rumours are found to be true. There have been apparent sightings of “frigate” mackerel on Bermuda’s Edge and over the deeper reefs. If this is indeed the case, then it won’t be long before the wahoo will take notice of them and start feeding on them, and any predators passing through the area will also stop to help themselves to the feast on offer. Should this happy series of events actually take place, then there will be a brief period when the fishing will be red hot and the only bait in town will be live mackerel.
Inshore fishing is enjoying its swan song as well. For those so inclined, this is the time to hit the South Shore beaches in search of record-sized palometa, locally pompano. The Bermuda record has remained at four pounds since 1969 and was equalled once in 1977. That is a long time ago and the pompano do grow larger. Making life even more interesting is that, although the International Game Fish Association does not maintain line-test records for this species, they do keep an all-tackle register and the world mark is a mere 1lb 12 oz!
The grey snappers have all but left the inshore for deeper waters and the biggest signs of life around the islands and bays will be schools of late-year jacks and maybe mackerel. In fact, even juvenile mackerel, the so-called frigates, have been known to tear up the bait schools along the coastline.
Early-morning reconnoitres on calm days may also reveal barracuda lying motionless in the shallows. Sometimes rather larger than one might expect in so close, a properly presented top water lure or, better yet, tube lure cast from a spinning rod may well result in some surprisingly Tight Lines!!!