Wahoo, wahoo and more wahoo. Get out and fill your boots
Well, you cannot have too many excuses left in the bag for not heading offshore. The weather is more than conducive to such expeditions, the familiar duties should be out of the way, for a while at least, and the fish are biting!
They are biting just about everywhere around this Island and that is something that is not often the case. Ditch the procrastination and get in on some of the best spring angling that has been seen here for a while.
Still the mainstay at the moment, much to many commercial operators' disappointment is the wahoo. There seem to be plenty out there that are willing to please; they are not too fussy in terms of bait and they are of a very nice average size — larger than most places that catch decent numbers of this species. Given that they are also a popular food source here, what could be the problem?
The answer is simple: there is an oversupply. As much fresh wahoo has been sold as the market will bear and freezer facilities are starting to fill up. As is always the case with markets that deal in fresh products, the demand, and best price, is for something that is in short supply.
In any event, they are to be had just about everywhere. A commercial boat spent one day down on Argus where the tally was about a dozen prime wahoo specimens; a day or so later, that same boat went out on Long Point, to the north of the Island, and mustered seven fine 'hoos. Other boats are also reporting wahoo success pretty consistently, with Capt James Robinson's Wound Up taking 20 on at least one other occasion.
Not much word ever emanates from the East End, although it is probably that the wahoo action down there is pretty similar to that found to the north and west of the Island.
What usually differentiates the two general fishing areas is the tendency for the tuna populations to favour the area around the Banks. Blackfin tuna are found just about everywhere and, while there will be some yellowfin off the southeastern Edge and the late summer sees a run of larger fish up north, it is the Banks that are the consistent producers.
Part of this stems from the practice of chumming for tuna. The layout of the Banks makes for more reliable conditions to ensure a good lie that allows a boat to get the bait out into the deeper water where the yellowfin tuna seem to spend their time.
It is likely that their cruising takes them all around the Island, but the Banks offer an environment (drop-off) similar to the Edge but one that can be negotiated far more quickly. In contrast, the blackfin are almost a reef-like species, regularly being encountered on the top of the Banks and over the deeper reef areas along Bermuda's Edge.
There is plenty of visual evidence that both species of tuna are plentiful on the Banks, as they can be seen breaking the surface on numerous occasions. Although the southeastern corner of Challenger is a preferred spot for tuna chumming, there have been plenty of jumping fish seen along the northern side of the Bank, toward the area known as Louis' Point. The difficulty with the northern side is that it is hard to get an anchor to hold, so it is not always possible to end up chumming from an ideal position.
Conditions offshore are still in the process of settling down and once they do, the chumming will become the nearest thing to a surefire way of scoring with these sought-after species. Some success has already been had, but traditionally June is the month for chumming for tuna, particularly on light tackle.
Another great light-tackle species is the white marlin. Apparently more common locally now than it used to be, this fish is capable of putting on spectacular aerial displays even though its lightweight status restricts such performances to the lower line classes. Frequently encountered while trolling for big blue marlin, foreign boats generally boast a better success rate than local boats.
The most likely reason here is that they usually carry at least one smaller lure in their spreads that are suitable for a white while local boats go out “loaded for bear” with very large baits and lures.
Any doubt that the big blue marlin may not be here was dispelled this week when Capt Alan Card's Challenger jumped off a fish estimated to weigh 800lbs or better. Several other marlin have been raised, but so far the amount of effort has been minuscule compared with what will be expended over the next six to eight weeks.
Some of the foreign sportfishing battlewagons have already arrived and, with them almost solely concentrating on billfish, many more catches and releases are to be expected.
The first of the season's big events is little more than a week away, so it is time to ensure that you have entered for the annual Bacardi Tournament. One of the calendar's most popular events, this competition appeals to all anglers, regardless of experience or ability.
The real decider is luck; are you lucky enough to catch the big one? With categories for largest wahoo, tuna and other game fish in each of the boat categories, this makes for an exciting tournament.
Entry is free; just make sure that you make the deadline. Then all you need are some really Tight Lines!!!