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Warmer weather is a good reason to venture out

Okay, so now you are running out of excuses. The weather has done a complete turnaround over the last couple of weeks and the days are nice and warm, replete with clear skies and calm seas. Isn’t that the formula for a journey to the deep blue briny?

Well, if you haven’t given much thought to planning an expedition, the good news is that you have not missed the real action yet. Having said that, it probably won’t be too much longer before the action increases its pace and the fishing turns red hot as the spring makes itself felt on the offshore grounds. And while that is good, it is often short-lived.

At the moment, commercial anglers are catching wahoo and yellowfin tuna although not in any great numbers. The mere fact that there are such species out there is a sure sign that the conditions are, at the very least, acceptable and there is every likelihood that more will take up residence on the offshore grounds and the fishing will indeed improve.

The offshore water temperature is within the range preferred by those species but there are reports that the water appears to be cloudy. True blue water fish usually avoid such conditions even though their solution may be as simple as just staying deeper than the disturbed water.

The cause of such discolouration can be anything from suspended matter which is more often encountered in areas with rivers emptying into the ocean; to planktonic blooms. Some of the latter can be undesirable as not all plankton forms are beneficial for fish.

Tidal conditions are also supposed to less than optimal; probably as a result of the heavy weather that has dominated the last few weeks, stirring up masses of water with an inertia that can take some time to dissipate. But time will do its job and if there aren’t any more major gales over the next week or so, things will settle down and, hopefully, allow the fish to organise their movements better. If you think about it, confused sea movements probably confuse the fish in terms of being able to position themselves in the best places to take advantage of bait which is often at the mercy of the flow of the waters.

Expect improved catches in both terms of quality and quantity over the next few weeks with a peak coming toward the end of this month or into early May when the competitive angling season will get underway.

As the oceanic waters continue to warm and the tropical species continue their move northward, the variety available will also improve: rainbow runners, skipjack and dolphin will start to show up and the real apex predators like blue marlin will not be far behind. Get set for the season to burst into action!

As there are clearly a large number of regular readers of this column who can be described as landlubbers and while there is nothing wrong with that, they are probably missing an opportunity to indulge in a sport that goes back to the dawn of time. There are still others who occasionally do a spot of fishing, be it off the land or from a boat.

Mankind has always risen to the challenge of the hunt and certainly angling is the marine version of that instinct. Perhaps unfortunately, the advance of technology and man’s drive to achieve the nigh impossible, has taken fishing from the simple pursuit of a fish, any fish, on a hook and line. While the pursuit goes back centuries; witness Izaak Walton’s The Compleat Angler, a celebration of all fishing covering the frowned-upon use of worms or grubs as well as the purists use of the fly, published in 1653. Sea fishing was pretty much limited to commercial fishermen who used a wide variety of gear to catch fish for food. If you think about it, the early rods, reels line and gear certainly weren’t up to catching any fish that would turn a head today.

There are four International Game Fish Association-affiliated angling clubs in Bermuda. They are: Bermuda Anglers Club, Blue Waters Anglers Club, Sea Horse Anglers Club and Sandys Boat Club. The first three have their original roots as fishing clubs while the latter has branched into another aspect of the sports that the ocean has to offer. Their respecting meeting venues, requirements and other information can all be found on their websites on the internet. Questions can also be asked at tackle shops where thee will almost always be someone willing to provide details.

All the clubs are always desirous of acquiring new members and will go to great lengths to attract anyone willing to make their interest known. What is important to know is that these are not exclusive organisations; they are open to pretty much anyone: students, locals, visitors, guest workers, everyone. They are not expensive in terms of dues or membership even though the deepest involvement in the sport can result in significant costs.

Apart from the competitive aspects of club membership; there are lots of in-club and inter-club tournaments as well as annual awards for all sorts of angling prowess, there are many other advantages to being a member.

These include some obvious things: the social aspect and meeting people is one of them but more importantly, these clubs serve as a source of an education when it comes to things piscatorial. They hold workshops and demonstrations of angling techniques and just talking to people who know can be turn out to be a revelation. Things as simple as bait rigging or knot tying can be learned from professionals and skilled amateurs. Beginners can learn in weeks what has taken some a lifetime to learn as most members are willing to impart their tried techniques as they recount their experiences.

Being a member does not require actually going fishing although, obviously, it is encouraged and even facilitated. Boat-owning members often need crew members just make fishing possible and, in some team competitions, it is necessary to have sufficient anglers aboard in order to take part.

Clubs usually require attendance at a meeting or two before taking out membership and that allows an individual a chance to try out the organisation at no risk.

So rather than enjoy the armchair version of one of the most rewarding sports on earth; one that allows just about everyone to participate fully at his or own level with no age or athletic constraints, join a club dedicated to the fine art of indulging in the rush that comes with finding yourself on the right end of some Tight lines!!!

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Published April 13, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated April 12, 2013 at 1:10 pm)

Warmer weather is a good reason to venture out

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