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Carla Souza excels as High Point Angler at Blue Waters tournament

The weather on land this week has been anything but inviting, with high humidity and general overcast conditions. But while these may deter some land-based activities, the offshore scene is quietly humming along.

Although it has slowed down considerably, there is still some respectable wahoo fishing even though the average size of the fish has dropped off substantially.

The more settled conditions are more conducive to chumming and many boats have enjoyed some success with this tried-and-true method of luring big fish to the boat. Tuna are the primary quarry, and this year looks to be shaping up to be a good one for the preferred species — the yellowfin and blackfin tuna. It was these species that put Bermuda on the map for light-tackle fishing, something that seems to have taken a significant back seat to heavier gear which requires less finesse.

Although light-tackle anglers are now pretty much limited to the angling clubs and a few aficionados, this week also witnessed the private, invitation-only Bermuda Fly Fishing Tournament participants taking full advantage of the willing tunas to be had on the offshore banks.

Less suited to taking surface flies but no less very game fish such as the amberjack and bonita are also available in good numbers on the banks. While many are smaller school-sized fish, mixed in and among them are some real lunker, trophy-sized beasts lurking in the depths.

While the Blue Waters Anglers Club Open tournament was not a club tournament by any matter of means, it was Blue Waters members who snagged the lion’s share of the prizes and awards.

The Overall High Point Angler was Carla Souza with a 131.2lb catch from her maximum of three fish weighed in. But what that figure does not show is that one of her fish was a most impressive yellowfin that weighed in at a whopping 78.4lb!

Despite this fine catch, the tournament structure prohibits anyone from winning more than one prize, other than in the boat category, so it was the second-largest yellowfin tuna that took the award for largest yellowfin caught in Class C, the professional category. This catch, made by Kurt Ming, was a nice 44.1lb tuna.

Still in Class C, the award for the largest other game species was won by Roger Trimm with a 43.5lb almaco jack, aka bonita. Surprisingly, none of the wahoo entered in this class made the minimum weight of 20 pounds, so there was no winner in the section allotted to this species.

The Overall High Point Boat award went to Captain Allan Bean’s Paradise One, which had a remarkable catch with each of the five team members catching three eligible fish in the tournament. This feat also earned them the High Point Class C boat award. The runner-up High Point Boat in that class was Captain Andrew Marshall’s Bay Roots.

Yellowfin tuna were the most frequent species brought in by the participants, although there were also some blackfin tuna, bonita and wahoo rounding out the catch. Not all the fish made the minimum weight, but there were some really nice bonitas, reminding anglers that running a bait down a bit deeper might well have its own reward.

Also fished on the weekend was the 71st Royal Bermuda Regiment Tournament. This ever-popular event draws support from a wide variety of locals, in part because it places less emphasis on the tackle used and the type of fish that can be caught. This equates to a lot of different categories and opportunities to win prizes. Even the smallest fish entered is up for an award, although this has to be a dubious distinction at best for Paul Hardtman and Magic Boyle.

As was the case in the BWAC Open, it was the yellowfin or Allison tunathat provided most of the winners. The High Point Angler was Kirk Dill with a total of 2,733.31 points, winning the Bacardi Trophy. In the process of accomplishing this, he also won two line-class categories with a 31.6lb yellowfin on 8lb test line and a 41.1lb yellowfin on 12lb test. The 20lb test line prize went to Giovanni Lima with a 16.1lb wahoo while the 30lb test line award was won by Roger Trimm with a 43.5lb almaco jack. This fish was also the largest fish in the tournament, netting a further award.

The High Point Team based on average weight, winning the Lines Brothers Trophy, fished on Captain Andrew Marshall’s Bay Roots and consisted of Ray and Sue Bean, Roger Trimm and Chris Mouchette.

The High Point Team, making a subtle but real distinction from the previous trophy, went to the We Bies team with members Kirk Dill and Andre Smith

The High Point Boat was Peanuts, with a team skippered by Captain. Nash Smith. In addition to these awards, there were also a few internal prizes that were restricted to regiment members.

With the celebrating over, the angling scene takes a bit of a break for this holiday weekend, with no organised tournaments on the slate. Things get back into full swing in early July when the billfish fleet take pride of place with their pursuit of the ultimate blue marlin. In the meantime, though, there is absolutely every reason to slip offshore to try to snag some Tight Lines!!!

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Published June 15, 2024 at 7:54 am (Updated June 15, 2024 at 7:41 am)

Carla Souza excels as High Point Angler at Blue Waters tournament

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