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Blue Waters rule the waves to claim BFCAT Shield

Now that the initiation rites of summer are behind us, perhaps angling can come to the fore. The late spring, and that is what it is, heralds the transition from trolling the drop-offs to concentrating on chumming when yellowfin tuna become the target of choice for many sportsmen and women. Certainly, that is what will occupy most local anglers although the forest that is the towers and outriggers of the foreign fleet are soon to dominate many marinas.

In the meantime, the calmer weather has allowed for more anglers and fishermen to try their luck. The trolling has been spotty with flashes of activity on Bermuda’s Edge and occasionally on the Banks. A wide variety of sizes seems to indicate that there is a mix of age groups moving around the island. There seem to be a number of fish in the 20 to 30lb bracket but enough larger fish to make life interesting. Just this past week saw one fish apparently break the 100lb mark and another was well into the 70lb bracket. That the action was inconsistent in terms of location has meant that catching numbers has been hit and miss for everyone.

As the season progresses, things should settle down and, in keeping with this, the most recent reports have trollers coming up with mixed bags of wahoo and tuna. Dolphin and barracuda have also figured in the mix. There should also be some white marlin on the offshore grounds, and these are more likely to be encountered while traditional trolling because of their propensity to run with other groups of fish such as the wahoo. Working the deeper water farther away from the edge of the drop-off, while generally less productive for the in-demand species, makes an early-season rendezvous with a big blue marlin considerable more likely.

Very shortly now, most anglers will ease up on the trolling and spend more time chumming for the tuna. That they have figured regularly in the trolling catches likely means that they are present in sufficient numbers to make chumming an attractive, fuel-conserving option.

The recent Bermuda Fishing Clubs Annual Tournament was fished successfully even though the weather and other factors made it less than it could have been. Having said that, there were some excellent catches, and the fishing was, as always, highly competitive between the three recognised angling clubs.

It was the Blue Waters Anglers Club that took the lion’s share of the awards, winning the 8lb test and 12lb test classes handily. Sea Horse Anglers Club won the 16lb test and 20lb test classes, with Blue Waters returning to win the 30lb test class.

The overall award, the BFCAT Shield, went to Blue Waters with a total of 3,798.33 points, ahead of Sea Horse Anglers with 3.041.23. The inaugural Niel L. Jones Memorial Trophy for high point team on 12lb test was won by Blue Waters, with Tyrell Simmons the high point angler on 12lb test with 627.67 points.

The BFCAT Cup for high point angler was won by Leon Stines, whose amazing catch of a 37.2lb yellowfin tuna on 8lb test line also took the high point fish award. The high point boat was Captain Bobby Lambe’s Last Chance.

Although not as many fish as expected were brought to the weigh-in, there was a really nice variety with most of the game species represented. Wahoo and yellowfin tuna were most numerous, although there were also blackfin tuna, dolphin and bumper-sized mackerel, living up to the titles of “false albacore” or “little tunny”.

Just to follow this thought, while most think of mackerel as weighing a couple of pounds and being suitable for chopping up as bait, they do get considerably larger and are exceedingly game when hooked. This year’s tournament saw a four-pounder caught on very light line weighed in and another specimen that was over 15 pounds. The largest fish caught locally that was recorded as a line test record was a 32lb fish; the all-tackle world record is just shy of 37 pounds. It has often been said that if similarly sized mackerel and yellowfin were tied tail-to-tail, the mackerel would tow the tuna all over the ocean. Hyperbolic, no doubt, but a fairly accurate representation of the battle a large mackerel can put up.

Looking ahead to the rest of the weekend, there are two tournaments slated for tomorrow: the Bermuda Regiment Tournament and the BWAC Open. Organisers have made it possible for competitors registered in both tournaments to be able to weigh and enter their catches in each event. While this is most welcome, the fly in the ointment is the weather forecast, which suggests that the conditions will be blustery at best — not the most encouraging thing for what is supposed to be a pleasant excursion afloat. Mind you, there are some who will do almost anything for some Tight Lines!!!

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Published June 01, 2024 at 7:52 am (Updated June 01, 2024 at 7:45 am)

Blue Waters rule the waves to claim BFCAT Shield

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