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Storm blows away any chance of action

Just what we all needed a sub-tropical storm! Sub-tropical, indeed. Is that because it occurs in the sub-tropics as opposed to the tropics? Or is it a tropical system that has escaped to sub-tropical latitudes? Call it what you will, it was a blow and most unwelcome for the organisers of the rugby tournament, the parade and the other events associated with this autumnal holiday. Not exactly what most of us had in mind.

Well, supposedly it still is hurricane season. According to the score keepers that season lasts until the end of November, so Sean could be a tropical cyclonic event. But, on the other hand, the water temperature around here is pretty far short of that needed to sustain tropical activity; that magic temperature being something like 82°F. The present water temperature, exaggerated as it might be by the rapid changes that occur in shallow or enclosed bodies of water, is not likely to be any source of energy to a true tropical system. In fact, the cynics among us will be likening the local area to the “cold graveyard of the North Atlantic”.

Any way we look at it, the likelihood of getting in some holiday weekend piscatorial activity is sandwiched tightly somewhere between slim and none.

Even if it does break down and move toward calmer conditions, the aftermath following the passage of tropical systems usually means sub-standard fishing. It is before the storm when the barometer is showing signs of dropping that the bite often really turns on. The guess being that the fish feel the change in the weather coming and know that it is probably best to stock up on food and them to dive down a few dozen feet to where conditions remain the same pretty much all year round.

Heavy weather and a drop in temperature usually results in improvements for the lobster fishermen. The tendency is for the lobsters to move inshore as the water cools off and, for some reason. They tend to trap better during rough periods. Maybe it is as simple as them seeing a trap as a safe house while the bottom is being churned up. Unlike fish with elaborate and rather delicate gill structures that can be adversely affected by stirred up sand or other debris, crustaceans such as lobsters breather (for what it is) through an alternative gill apparatus which is protected by their hard exoskeletons and are considerably simpler devices. The beauty of simplicity is that such things are nearer fool-proof and less subject to variations in conditions. In fact, if you think about it, an open ocean fish like a wahoo or tuna probably never expects to have anything other than pure sea water flow over its gills. Areas of pollution such as oil spills or other man-made hazards are by far the exception rather than the norm and Mother Nature could hardly be expected to factor in such misdeeds.

Just what positives are there for the angler? Well, truth to tell, at the moment , things should be considerably better. The weather we have to accept along with the fact that most anglers are limited to weekend efforts and those are rapidly become endangered in their own right given the way the holiday season falls this year. Bad enough that American Thanksgiving, something increasingly being celebrated locally, always falls on a Thursday but both Christmas and New Year's are smack, bang in the middle of long weekends. These holidays are serious family events, so the thought of heading out on the briny is a non-starter for most of us, no matter how glorious the weather might turn out.

The offshore scene has received a bit of a free ride the last week or so; and any ambitions in that direction will probably have to be guided by experience. Based on the conditions and time of year, there should be a few wahoo around. Optimistically, the fish that are about should be of a reasonable size, so expect something respectable should you be able to make the strike count.

There are probably still some tuna out there and chumming on the crowns of the Banks should produce some nice yellowtails (provided the sharks let you and given that the full moon is just gone, they are likely to be in active mode) as well as some blackfin tuna. Whilst the latter are great for sport, they are often frowned upon as food fish; partly because they are a darker meat and by the time the fillets are removed and the darkest meat cut out, the yield is something like 30% of total weight. Naturally, there are some marvellous cooks who can take a piece of blackfin and turn it into some heavenly casserole or kebab. For the majority of us who are not so gifted, far better to stick with the known white fish like the snappers and the members of the grouper family that can be dragged off the bottom.

Bottom fishing over the reef areas (easier because they are not as deep as the tops of the Banks) and they are closer to home when the weather is a bit dodgy, should allow you to collect enough coneys and barbers with the occasional hind to provide enough white-meat fillet to make for a meal or two and maybe even stash a few away for later when the turkey and ham syndrome reaches outrageous proportions in the not too distant future.

The inshore fishing has just about had it. Putting in your effort off the beaches with a light spinning rod, when the sea conditions allow you, will see a scattering of small to medium size pompano willing to please on sunny days. The barracuda will be few in number and not particularly cooperative and the mere thought of bonefishing during the winter season (now, for most of us) just does not fit the sport fishing psyche.

Off bridges, docks and the rocky shoreline, the dominant species will be the bream. Exulted by its proper name, the silver porgy, actually moves inshore during the winter months to spawn (a totally different strategy to most reef fish species), becoming more numerous with some of the individuals actually being quite large for the species. Despite their reputation for eating anything and everything including some things best not thought about, the bream does produce a nice white fillet. Actually, if you eat lobsters then you have no reason whatsoever to be squeamish when it comes to bream. The bream, a.k.a. silver porgy is a true member of the porgy family. In fact, it is really quite specific with the local representative actually considered a species in its own right, being conferred with the moniker “bermudensis” to separate it from some of its closer relatives. If you look it up in the fish books, it will often be confused with another “silver porgy” which, in our parlance, is a “pinfish”. The species are well and truly distinct with their being virtually nothing to be said in defence of the pinfish which also happens to be the other dominant winter season inshore fish.

Something else in their favour is that they will please on blustery days, on rainy days and pretty much any time you can get a baited hook to them. They are no fussy as to bait type and rarely, they have been caught on artificial lures of one sort or another. Infrequently enough for this not to be a recommended method. By no means a game fish, on light line, especially spinning tackle, they are capable of providing a reasonable facsimile of Tight lines!!!

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Published November 12, 2011 at 1:00 am (Updated November 12, 2011 at 6:52 am)

Storm blows away any chance of action

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