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DeSilva’s Treasure Island strikes gold

What can one say? Is it possible that the perfect tournament does not exist? The tournament organisers can pick a day that is ideal in terms of calmness and sunshine. That day comes at what should be the height of the season for the selected species. The weigh-in crew can be willing to work cheerfully in thunder, lightning and drizzle. Some live baits might even make themselves available but the one thing that the organisers cannot organise is the fish themselves.

And so it was on Sunday. The Royal Gazette Wahoo Tournament went off on its appointed day, with no postponement. The weather was nothing short of fine up until late afternoon when some showers and the overhead pyrotechnics set in but even that cleared up after a while and everyone was headed home anyway.

Although robins have been in short supply all summer, several boats did put in some effort for them and were duly rewarded with those excellent baits.

A couple of boats who stayed trolling were fortunate enough to catch some juvenile blackfin tuna, arguably the finest live bait material obtainable. Perhaps surprisingly, very few of the boats lucky enough to catch some live baits were able to successfully trade them up.

Part of the problem stemmed from the numbers of barracuda that late summer brings. These are quite happy to hack up any live offering and while by no means desirable in a wahoo tournament, they are an acceptable source of white fillet.

There were just shy of 40 boats registered to take part in the tournament and, as it happened, just 12 actually came to the weighstation. This was to be expected because event he most successful events generally get about one-third the entrants showing up.

The rest either don't catch anything or catch fish believed to be too small to make it into the winner's circle. In the case of almost all local boats, the fishing team is also the boat cleaning team and when it is getting late on a Sunday with work the next day, heading straight back home is often a tempting option.

So 19 anglers on a dozen boats brought wahoo to the weigh-in and although there were only 24 fish involved, there were entries on all the line tests allowed and the class of the fish was significantly better than in previous years. It was a case of “less fish but better fish”.

Points were scored as a result of an equation that takes into account both the size of the fish and the breaking strength of the line used to catch it. Light line is favoured by this and it is one of the things that encourages competitive light tackle (less than 30-lb test) angling.

The overall winner of the tournament was a rather spectacular specimen that weighed in at 83.1 pounds. Caught on 20-lb test by Maurice Caines, the fish had taken a long time to catch, making some observers on nearby boats think that Capt. Allan DeSilva's Treasure Isle had got mixed up with either a big shark or a hefty tuna. It came as a surprise to learn that such a big wahoo had seen fit to take the proffered live offering out there on Argus Bank. Caught as it was on light line, this fish amassed 1726.40 points.

With the overall winner caught on 20-lb test line, that category's winner became the second largest fish caught on that line class and this was a fine 57.3 pound wahoo (worth 820.82 points) taken by Mike DeSilva giving Treasure Isle a real boost, along with the other three fish caught, taking Treasure Isle to a total of 3596.90 points, winning them the High Point Boat prize.

The 16-lb test category was won by Kathryn Garcia. No stranger to the limelight in this tournament, she only managed a single wahoo aboard her brother Andrew Card's Reel Action but that was a 37.6 pounder that scored 552.25 points.

A 36.6- pound wahoo (148.84 points) took the honours for Greg Bluck in the 30-lb test category.

Keith Pearman, fishing aboard Capt. Alan Bean, Jr.'s Paradise One caught a 31.6-pound wahoo worth 693.44 points on 12-lb test to win that category.

Paige Martin won the Junior category with a very nice 58.9 pound wahoo, caught on 20-lb test line while fishing from Capt. Darius Martin's Phuket.

Of the 24 fish entered, four were caught on 12-lb test, three on 16-lb test, ten on 20-lb test and seven on 30-lb test, giving a rather nice distribution of line classes represented. In some years almost all the entries have come on 30-lb test which shows the bias toward heavier line favoured by commercial operators. It was nice to see a return to the principles that originally founded this tournament years ago when light tackle was, indeed, king.

Overall, the class of the fish was better than usual. In most years there are large numbers of fish in the 10 to 20-pound range but this year, despite a somewhat limited selection, there were just two fish that failed to make the 20-pound mark and both of these were mere ounces short.

There were 11 fish (almost half the total) in the 20 to 30-pound bracket while six were between 30 and 40 pounds. There was just a single fish between 40 and 50 pounds but three were between 50 and 60 pounds, a range that often produces the overall winner. This year was different, however, with the lone fish bettering the 80-pound mark beating all comers.

Beyond the rather limited wahoo action, most of the other species were also keeping a low profile. Apart from the usual “onethatgotaway” stories there were a few blackfin finding their way into fish boxes but none of the dolphin or large yellowfin that frequently traverse this area at this time of the year.

Recent catches have included some blue marlin and the occasional white marlin has also been caught. The latter probably because they have been known to frequent the same grounds as wahoo and are likely to take the sort of baits that anglers might have out for the wahoo. The blues tend to stay deeper but even they will occasionally move onto the drop-off proper and, on the day, they will take just about anything.

As the week progressed, conditions stayed ideal and, as suggested by some anglers who didn't catch much but reported lots of action, the fish started making their presence felt. One commercial boat managed nine fairly respectable wahoo and, even though lobsters are garnering a fair amount of the commercial operator's attention, there is likely to be at least a brief concentration on wahoo fishing over the next week or so.

Maybe you couldn't fish the tournament or maybe you weren't lucky enough to catch the target species but there is no reason just yet to keep you from taking advantage of the good weather and slipping out one more time for a the wahoo that will give you your Tight lines!!!

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Published September 21, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated September 21, 2013 at 12:19 am)

DeSilva’s Treasure Island strikes gold

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