Blue marlin encounter is a happy state of affairs
Into the eighth month of the year and the third of the hurricane season, what is in store for us? More and more now anglers and sailors alike will be keeping one eye on the weather. The tropical season has thus far been quiet but, as we all know, that can change overnight. For most of us, it is all right when the named storms torment the Caribbean or U.S. East Coast. It is when they turn north while still east of the Gulf Stream that they get our attention. Then it is a mad scramble to get extra lines on the boat or to get the boat hauling man around to get it out of the water and into someone’s yard. All fun and games!
This is an important consideration for the visiting foreign boats. But weighing heavily against caution is the recent quality of the blue marlin action in local waters. Over the Cup Match holiday weekend, not only did most boats encounter blue marlin but the average size was large with many estimated at over five hundred pounds and some thought to have said goodbye to seven hundred. This happy state of affairs should continue a bit longer and, if thngs follow their usual pattern as we move toward September, the size drops off but there seem to be more of the smaller blues around.
In a perfect world, the commencement of the autumnal wahoo run shifts the emphasis away from the marlin back to the more commercially valuable species.
It is a little early to do any predicting about this year’s wahoo picture but there are a fair number of wahoo being caught at present and this has to augur well for next month. Although the autumn run usually lasts longer and boasts more and bigger fish than the spring run, this season’s spring offering was very short-lived. This may also provide some indication of what we have to look forward to. As is the case with all seasonal runs, you have to be ready to take advantage of them. In the spring many amateurs dawdled and missed the bulk of the action. Make sure you are not caught short this time around; the winter is not as far away as you might think and it is here for a long time before spring comes around again.
Something else that is going on right now that should not be missed is an influx of large yellowfin tuna. This only happens some years and usually coincides with the arrival of a reddish-looking baitfish. In past instances, these bait fish have been identified as juvenile barbers but most anglers are not convinced. Whatever they are, they do drive the tuna wild and schools of bait will be surrounded by hundred pound plus Allisons crashing and splashing their way through. An amazing sight to behold and an event that offers anglers a shot at a real trophy tuna. Trolling is the tactic of choice and rigged flying fish are the bait of choice. Certain artificial rigs work as well. Experience suggests that most marlin plugs are not the best choice although Mold Craft® Wide Range plugs do work as do things that mimic squid. Probably because of the bait in question, reds, pinks and combinations involving those colours will work best. Don’t make the mistake of attaching such a lure to light line; you might never see it again. No matter what test line you use just be prepared for a major workout.
The International Game Fish Association’s (IGFA) new class of all-tackle records based on length is proving to be rather more popular than most of us would have thought. And while it comes as no surprise that the United States leads the number of entries, there are lots of other places that are following suit.
People forget that the vastness of the U.S.A. accounts for the large number of fishing records that are set there. Think about it: in the United States, there are all the freshwater species native to North America (Alaska covers some of the species limited to the Arctic); all the temperate coastal species, all the tropical species that occur in the Caribbean ( Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands) and most of the Pacific (don’t omit Hawaii, Guam and other American Pacific islands).A large number of exotic species have either escaped from tropical fish farms or otherwise established themselves in some of the water systems, so they are there too. This includes things like Oscars and, believe it or not, goldfish!
The United States Congress is now looking at a bill called The Billfish Conservation Act of 2011. When, and if, it becomes law, it will prohibit the sale of billfish in the U.S. This will have a significant effect on the world’s commercial fisheries that catch billfish species.
The purpose of the legislation is to protect marlin, sailfish and spearfish. It does not cover swordfish which is a species that is of vital importance to American commercial fisheries.
Actually, there is rather a lot of history behind this initiative. Back in the early days of tourism, Florida banned the sale of sailfish flesh, recognising the value of this resource to the tourist-oriented recreational fishery. Then, for many years the U.S. had a ban on the sale of Atlantic billfish. This would have little impact on the American fishing industry because marlin and sailfish were not really target species for them. It was thought that this would address the issue, but with the scope of the world’s global fisheries, it was no problem for exporters to get around the law by sending Atlantic caught fish into American Pacific ports claiming that the fish were Pacific caught. Basically, there was no simply of separating the fish by origin.
The real effect of this legislation is to remove billfish from the U.S. market. Despite all the regulations currently in place, the U.S.A. is the world’s largest importer or billfish, thus fuelling billfishing by other countries. Take away the market and the fishery will probably diminish, thus affording the marlin, spearfish and sailfish a bit of a break. It would be nice to think that this will work and have the desired effect but it will take time to tell.
What tournaments there are scheduled for august are mostly internal club affairs with an emphasis on fun events. The hot days discourage many from a day out on the water and there are many who take their holidays away during this month, so angling effort often slips down. Advertisements for the forthcoming Royal Gazette Wahoo Tournament usually get things back on track and these should start appearing shortly because this year’s such event is slated for 11th September and the interim time will fly by. Think about it carefully, it may be your last chance for any of this year’s Tight lines!!!