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Ingham sweeps board at Regiment tournament

Time has come: the month of July brings a lot of fishermen to the island in search of a prize-winning catch

In case you have not noticed the summer is flying by, schools are out, the humidity is up there and the fishing is certainly the best that it has been for some years now. It is high time to take advantage of it while you can.

Even if you aren’t in a position to use a boat there are still opportunities. Although the reef and offshore fishing earns plenty of publicity, all too often the potential inshore is ignored. While it might not have the glitter of the big fish that the blue water campaigners pursue, there are enough recognised game fish that can be caught from the shoreline.

Paramount here is the bonefish, available off sandy beaches, especially off the West End of the island, but so are grey snapper, palometa (pompano) and even barracuda. Rest assured, there are more fish along the shoreline than most people think.

The arrival of numbers of yellowfin tuna really put the icing on the cake for the 50th International Light Tackle Tournament. Many of these fish were in the 50lbs to 70lbs range, making ideal candidates for the light tackle anglers and offering some of the finest sport fishing to be had anywhere.

Niel Jones held out to win the Overall High Point Rod with 11,996 points garnered from ten fish caught; putting him more than 2,000 points clear of second place Bobby Rego.

The DuVal award for Overall High Point Fish was taken by Craig MacIntyre with a fine 66.8lbs yellowfin tuna. This was a close run affair with a number of nice fish in the over 60lbs bracket giving various anglers a shot at winning this award.

The winning team, made up of Danny Fox, Bobby Rego, Paul Fox, Kevin Fox and Sean Correia, was Bermuda Water Tours whose 22,557 points from 15 fish narrowly beat out the Pelagic Playas who had 22,501 points from 24 fish.

The yellowfin tuna also helped the Royal Bermuda Regiment Tournament achieve a marked success with participants able to take advantage of the many prizes on offer.

Teko Ingham’s 47lbs yellowfin on 30-lb test line earned him a number of prizes including Overall Largest Fish, Largest Fish on 30-lb line test and largest yellowfin on 30-lb test. He also had the Largest Blackfin Tuna on 30-lb test.

But he did not stop there, also catching a 28lbs barracuda on handline, earning him the Largest Fish on Handline, Largest Fish on 50-lb test and Offshore Handline awards. His efforts combined to win him the High Point Angler award as well.

A 5lbs rainbow runner won Jeffery Patterson both the 8-lb test award and the Smallest Fish by a Mess Member. In addition, he also came in for several awards reserved for serving Regimental personnel. Shante Arnold won the Largest Fish caught by a woman as well as two Regimental categories. Kenya Trott’s 12lbs barracuda won her the Open Category Largest Fish by a Lady award.

The 12-lb test line category was won by Blaire Jones with a 10lbs rainbow runner, while 16-lb test went to Tyler Smith’s 12lbs barracuda while a 22lb wahoo caught on 20-lb test gave that award to Isaiah Cabral for whom it also won the Largest Fish by a Boy category.

Other awards were won by Jevaughn Simmons and Davon Burgess with B and T taking the High Point Boat award.

This weekend the focus again moves to the big time with billfish bursting into the limelight. There is no doubt that they are out there as a number of boats have reported action and success with both blue and white marlin.

Although the deep blue briny has not exactly seen massive billfish activity this is, in part, due to the lack of effort. With most of the foreign fleet only just arriving following the Newport Race, much of the fabled seas around this sunny isle have been left unexplored. This will all change, in a really big way, this weekend when the Bermuda Billfish Blast gets under way on Monday. Not only is this the first day of this three day event, but it is also the day of the Blue Marlin World Cup, so there is plenty at stake for all concerned.

Although it is primarily a release tournament the Blast has provisions that allow fish of more than 500lbs to be taken and weighed in. This not only scores additional points for the boat, but could also be a potential winner of the World Cup.

Bermuda’s remarkable record for big fish makes this one of the top choices for anglers searching for the ultimate blue marlin. The island is a lot more accessible than many of the other hotspots, particularly as so many of those involved are based in the United States, and the waters here consistently produce large fish. Maybe not all granders but certainly big enough to win tournaments.

There is also no shortage of stories about sea monsters being hooked and lost or simply not biting. Given the strength and speed of this species, it doesn’t take a whole lot of blue marlin to make for some very Tight Lines!