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Epic tale of extreme travel and tight lines

Monster catch: Holt all smiles on the way in to AscensionIsland

The year is counting down now and so are the days that will be available to most anglers willing to even consider heading offshore.

The official arrival of Santa last weekend has put us all on notice that the festive season is upon us, and that boating is largely out of the picture for most family-oriented people.

That aside, the rather mild and calm weather that has characterised the last week or so has indeed lured a few anglers offshore and their results were as predicted. Wahoo strikes were few and far between, but there was plenty of quality to be had.

One such angler had two fish, both in the 60lb bracket. Similar results are being had by the commercial operators who put in a limited amount of time for such fish, in between tending their lobster traps and working the bottom species.

As suggested recently, the wahoo fishing drops off significantly in terms of numbers during the fall and winter months, although the fish are generally larger than when there are predominantly school fish available.

This makes actively searching for them problematic as they are usually spread out over a large area, and it really is not economic to spend hours hoping to encounter enough candidates to justify the expense associated with trolling.

It is far better to pick an area close to home and give it a couple of hours and hope to get lucky.

With fish this size, it really only takes one to justify the sportsman’s effort.

One suspects that as the year progresses, maybe because as the water cools off bait becomes more spread out, the wahoo become solitary, each hunting for itself. Or, maybe, the schools simply spread out over huge areas so that they give the appearance of being solitary.

There is no doubt that the larger fish maintain some degree of connectivity. Areas that produce really large fish seem to do so in numbers, and such is the case here when the winter fish tend to be better than 50lbs. Similarly, there was an area in the Bahamas that, for a short period, seemed to break just about every wahoo record with really large fish. This makes one think that there was some sort of school dynamic at work.

Whatever is going on, there is no doubt that there are some nice wahoo to be had here during November and December.

After that the weather usually keeps sportsmen ashore, and then it is back to the spring arrival of school fish.

As for the here and now, there is a potential opening for someone who wants to set a world record. There is a bit of a tale involved, so hear this one out.

The IGFA recently granted a new fly record on 8lb tippet to Bo Nelson for a 3lb 8oz Florida pompano. A nice pompano indeed, and sets a fairly difficult mark to better, but there is more to come.

Now the Florida pompano goes by the scientific moniker of Trachinotus carolinus. The pompano that we catch here off South Shore beaches, and from bays and harbours, is really a palometa, or as the scientists would have it Trachinotus goodei.

Just so that you know, the specific name comes in honour of a scientist named Goode who did lots of fish research in the late 1800s.

In any case, the IGFA recognises six species of pompano, along with pompano dolphin, a rarity in any case, and the larger African pompano, none of these are the one that we are talking about.

It is, perhaps surprisingly, correctly catalogued under ‘palometa” with the correct scientific name. The all-tackle record is a 1lb 12oz specimen from the unlikely location of Port Aransas, Texas, and dates back to 2006.

Having now established that an all-tackle record is maintained for the species that occurs here, all that remains to be done is for someone to catch a larger specimen and to go through the paperwork associated with submitting a record application.

This should be the easy part. At the present there is only one, yes one, Bermuda record and that is on 6lb test line, and it is held jointly by two 4-pounders, one dating to 1969, and the other to 1972.

All the other line classes up to 12lb test, and all the fly tippets up to that strength, are vacant. So, if you are looking for a winter’s project, there you are.

Now, if you really want to go to extremes, try this on for size. A woman named Jada Holt has made an entry for the women’s 130lb test Atlantic blue marlin record with a fish that weighed in at 1,305lbs.

Pretty amazing, but even more extreme when you consider that she travelled to obscure Ascension Island in the central South Atlantic to find the fish.

The island is one of the most inaccessible in the world and boasts a tiny population.

Not a lot of angling gets done there, but pictures and a lot more can be found out about it on the internet.

It is a tale of epic Tight Lines!