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Take full advantage of the fishing frenzy

The merry month of June is all but a thing of the past and the angling schedule moves on. High summer is upon us!

Things don’t usually get any better than they are now, even though there have been variable reports on the pace of the action. Certainly all the summer species are on the offshore grounds, the snappers have moved inshore; there are lots of palometa along the beaches and some big bonefish muddying their way along the sandy, grassy bottoms.

Most experienced anglers and fishermen will acknowledge that fishing activity varies. What they tend to disagree on are the reasons behind why one day fishing is great and then slow the next.

Arguments include the phases of the moon; many marlin masters favour the full moon over any other while others say that a bright moon allows wahoo and tuna to feed at night and therefore are not as hungry during the day. Tides or current conditions around the seamounts also influence the fishes’ behaviour but whether this is positive or negative is a whole other issue.

The abundance of bait is also a factor, as is the type of bait. The number of school-sized tuna that have been caught in recent weeks should argue strongly for an active billfish season since they are the basis of the marlin’s diet, but that will remain to be determined as the year progresses.

For now, the key thing is to get out there and fish. Much of the pleasure is derived from the pursuit rather than the capture; or from the inner peace that comes with enjoying a bright sunny day on the deep blue briny or simply lazing off a dock waiting for a bite. Insist on waiting for perfect conditions, and you might well not fish at all. Be warned.

While some waited for something better, the International Light Tackle Tournament came to its conclusion somewhat rather more muted than the first couple of days lead observers to believe.

For whatever reason, the fishing slowed up considerably and, not surprisingly, the competing teams were unable to advance themselves very much. As a result, things remained fairly stable and, at the end it was Three Reel Anglers (visiting anglers David Fingland, Scott Deal both from the Bahamas and Aron Long) taking all the glory, having pushed their tally to 14,798 points, a bit up from their midweek score of 12,844 points.

Holding on to their second placing at the midpoint were Chix & Stix, an all-female team, with a total of 13,398 points, not all that far behind the leaders and actually having caught one more fish than the winners (34 versus 33).

Less important than the number of fish is the quality of the fish and the 74.6lbs yellowfin caught by David Fingland on 12-lb test line was not only the High Point Fish but also added enough points to ensure that he won the High Point Rod and his team took first place.

Another notable catch was made by Adam Hirschberg whose 52.7lbs Almaco jack helped him finish in second place in the High Point Rod category.

The host team, Bermuda Anglers Club managed to finish just fifth, one behind the other local club, Sea Horse Anglers Club.

The Overall High Point Boat was Capt. Alan Card’s

Challenger with 13,400 points, narrowly ahead of Capt. Nick New’s

Reel Hot with 12,521 points.

There was a total of 217 fish caught by the seven teams that participated in the tournament with the winning team qualifying for the IGFA Offshore World Championships to be fished in Costa Rica next year.

This is the juncture when the Bermudian tradition of light tackle angling for wahoo and tuna slides into the background and centre stage is taken by the glamour boats that traverse the world’s oceans in search of the ultimate sport fish. Although the tuna will continue to invade chum slicks dominated by smaller game fish and there will be some wahoo taken whilst trolling the edge of the drop-off, the main attraction will involve the heavy tackle and harnesses used in the quest for trophy blue marlin. July is the month and big billfish are the focus.

The first of this month’s billfish events will be the Bermuda Blast and that will be fished over the July 3-7. There are three fishing days with only the first day allowing boats to kill and boat a blue marlin. The minimum eligible weight is 500 pounds which coincides with the minimum weight accepted in the Blue Marlin World Cup which is fished in conjunction with the Blast.

Fish less than the qualifying weight must be released with 500 points being awarded for a recognised blue marlin release. On the other two days of the tournament all blue marlin must be released and will be awarded points. All white marlin, sailfish and spearfish must be released throughout the tournament even though they will score points as well. The provision for the taking of a big blue on the first fishing day is to allow boats to also take part in the worldwide Blue Marlin World Cup which is fished everywhere on the 4th of July.

Not for the faint of heart or poor of pocket, entry into this big money event is a cool three grand with options for going even deeper into debt. The rules are simple: the biggest blue marlin caught by a participating boat collects all the proceeds which are the sum total of the entry fees less the cost of administration. For the lucky, there is usually plenty at stake judging by last year’s winners here in Bermuda who collected over $330,000!

It looks like a bit of a two-horse race between Bermuda and the Kona Coast of Hawaii, each having provided seven winners out of the 28 years the event has taken place. Madeira and the Canary Islands have both had their moments and the US mainland has also had a piece of the action.

In the event that a qualifying fish is caught, and there are no guarantees even here that a big fish will be boated, then the weigh-in will take place at Barr’s Bay Park.

While offshore immense quantities of fuel are burned and hours spent combing the great blue Atlantic, nearer shore there will be others who will enjoy quieter, less frenzied moments. Bottom bouncing for bonitos, hinds or whatever else bites can be every bit as enjoyable and a lot more productive in terms of culinary delight than hauling in a veritable sea monster.

Regardless of the where, the gear, the quarry or the outcome, angling is all about Tight lines!!!

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Published June 28, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated June 28, 2013 at 6:44 pm)

Take full advantage of the fishing frenzy

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