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Some good-natured competition awaits

The hectic holiday weekend is over and things are returning to normal, despite the mid-week inclement weather.

For many, it is back to work but at least the pressure is off for the weekend when anglers can again concentrate on their pastime. With the forecast for the next few days more encouraging, the United States v Bermuda Marlin Release Tournament should go off following an earlier postponement.

There is still time to get involved in this lower-key event. The rules are not as stringent, the sums of money much more realistic for most people and the intent of the event is some good-natured competition and camaraderie.

The size of the fish matters less in this event than most other marlin tournaments. It is the number of releases that will separate the winners from the rest, and that is where there is a lot to be said for the catching of several smaller fish, rather than a single giant, and now is just about the right time for that.

For whatever reason, as August progresses and September lures on the horizon, the average blue marlin is something more like 150-200lbs. Although small by billfish standards, many of these are feisty and put on a spectacular aerial performance. Also because of their size, the use of 50lb tackle, or even 30lb gear, is realistic and will help to encourage a hooked blue to put on a real show.

The theory is that the blue marlin spawn in local waters on the June and July moons. This explains the presence of the really large fish which are all females and often carrying 30 or more pounds of roe. The smaller fish are supposedly all males although, obviously, there are probably some small females as well.

Don't take that as cast in stone either because strange things, like sex changes, happen in the fishy world.

One thing which is a bit weird is that the big fish landed in the recent tournaments seem to have already spent their roes. That is good for the species in the big picture, but also means that the fish caught weighed that much less than they might have a week or so earlier.

In any case, there should be numbers of smaller billfish that will be willing to please, and this will give anglers who don't normally seek marlin a decent shot at racking up some points in this particular competition.

Specialised gear is not required, and even the lures and baits will be very similar to those usually used for wahoo and tuna. There is an old adage that “elephants eat peanuts” and this is as applicable to billfish as it is to anything else. Rigged flying fish work well and many Carolina-based boats that specialise in marlin like using a garfish with a Mold Craft plug in front of the bait.

Keeping this event and type of fishing well within the reach of the average weekender is the fact that wahoo, tuna and even dolphin will also take such baits and so it need not be a day dedicated to the pursuit of something usually ignored. Further details and late entry may be had from Trevor Gillis on telephone 334-8657.

Sultry summer conditions often dissipate into doldrum-like calms when the seas seem almost desolate.

The key to results is finding reasonable tides and concentrating on chumming early and late in the day, as many fish seem to be put off by the heat of the day.

Large tiger sharks move into the fore and hook-ups with them are often confused with large tunas. Not desirable but capable of providing a workout when other things aren't biting. Small game should be plentiful and will prevent the onset of boredom while bottom fishing will produce a few hinds and coneys for the table. While not super-fast paced, there should be enough action to occupy most anglers looking for an excuse to get offshore.

On a sombre note, the passing of Henry DeSilva was recently noted.

There is now at least a generation of anglers to whom the name may mean nothing, but for those of us who were around a few decades ago, captain Henry, best known as “Buddy” DeSilva was, arguably, the first “marlin man” in Bermuda.

He certainly did plenty in the 1970s to start the flame that has since become a raging inferno. Having operated a charter boat called Marula for some years and moving on to various subsequent Marulas, he eventually brought a then state-of-the-art billfish boat to Bermuda in the form of Striker One and beyond.

Although, in hindsight, it was early days, he was instrumental in convincing Sea Horse Anglers Club to actually stage a marlin fishing event; something unprecedented in Bermuda in those days. As this has endured, so has the focus on big blue marlin, and the situation as we know it today.

Without captain Buddy none of this may have come to pass, so it is only fitting that he should be remembered today for his valuable contributions to making Bermuda angling as we know it. After many years spent in the pursuit of big blues, surely he has finally achieved his desired Tight Lines!

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Published August 08, 2015 at 9:00 am (Updated August 07, 2015 at 10:36 pm)

Some good-natured competition awaits

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