Patience a virtue on Mother’s Day
Calm seas, light breezes, bright sunshine, but there won't be much in the way of fishing this weekend; the good weather forecast notwithstanding.
Mother's Day has a way of shifting the normal onus off Mom on to everyone else and any notion of heading offshore is likely to be poorly received. Those daring enough to chance it should find themselves rewarded — by Neptune at least. Be warned: there may be consequences beyond the angling purview.
There is no question but the offshore scene is livening up. Most of the summer species have arrived on the offshore grounds. They may not be present in the abundance that we have come to expect in high summer, but there are plenty of rainbow runners, jacks and tunas to satisfy. Barracuda won't be too far behind, especially when chumming becomes commonplace and the robins and mackerel start flocking to the boats' transoms. Where is there an easier feeding station for good ol' Barry?
There are some school-sized yellowfin about, most notably where you would expect to find them; on the southeastern side of Challenger Bank. It is likely that the scenario over on Argus is similar although this really needs looking in to.
If the tuna haven't really settled in yet, then some will still take trolled offerings. Often they prefer a bait fished a long way behind the boat. Unfortunately, some rather larger fish also like to sneak up on a long rigger and that will have some effect on the selection of tackle.
Having said that, in the past couple of decades, light tackle has almost become non-existent. Many tournaments don't even acknowledge line classes and standard practice seems to be starting with 50lb test rigs and working up. While this may be a bit more of a guarantee when it comes to catching fish, it also negates a lot of the pleasure that the art of angling can engender.
Wahoo should remain the preferred target for a few more weeks at least. Trolling for these will often entice other species on the move, notably dolphin and billfish. White marlin frequently align themselves with concentrations of wahoo and are found in depths more often associated with wahoo and tuna than marlin.
With the boat being readied for the annual Bermuda Day festivities, which now ensures a long weekend, and perhaps off limits until the family picnicking is done, there is some good sport fishing to be had from the shore. While it can be improved upon by having a craft with which to patrol the flats, the bonefishing from shore is top class and now is an ideal time to get out the spinning rod and to head for Somerset Long Bay, Whale Bay or even Shelly Bay. At these locations, a bit of wading can put an angler in a good position for a cast at a shot at a bonefish grubbing its way along the bottom in search of tasty morsels. If the idea of getting wet is distasteful, the same can be accomplished by staying on the beach.
Although they will take a number of artificial lures, bait works well. In the old days, cockworms — a local moniker for what is called a lugworm elsewhere – were dug up from tidal sand and used for bait. In all likelihood, no one has done this in years and while it can still be done, most people opt for a piece of squid or shrimp (luxury bait!). Bonefish have a good sense of smell and will come to the bait, making this an easier option than presenting an artificial in a manner that does not spook the fish but gets its attention.
While Bermuda does not boast the numbers of bonefish that places like the Bahamas and Florida Keys do, there is certainly plenty of quality here. Big bones are the norm and with the time-honoured practice of catch and release for this species, they tend to be larger on average than those found elsewhere. An ideal light tackle fish, bonefish are fast, strong for their size and catching them more resembles hunting than fishing. This is the sort of fish that spinning tackle was invented for. Hook a bone and it will depart on a high speed run that will astonish by its length.
Looking ahead, next weekend will see the first of the larger tournaments when the recognised Bermuda Fishing Clubs compete against each other in what is a light tackle tournament. With the apparent upswing in fish activity, the variety of species available and more reliable reports coming in from commercial fishermen, this is expected to be a very competitive event.
Even if one is not a club member, there is no reason not to pursue those same fish that offer the same challenges and potential triumphs that come with Tight Lines!