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Chance to get out to sea over holiday period

This has the potential for an interesting weekend. First off, it is a long holiday weekend in what Bermudians take to be their summer. Secondly, there is the Father’s Day celebration.

How many fathers might prefer to head offshore for some excitement rather than be feted by friends and family. That is likely never to be known but there is some good fishing that some will undoubtedly miss out on. And last weekend provided reason for that statement.

Suffice it to say that the fishing must have been excellent – if the results of last Sunday’s Bacardi Rum Tournament are anything to go by.

There were lots of fish and a nice variety of species even though some failed to make the minimum 20-pound weight.

Amazingly, there was only one boat in the ‘A” Class weighing in and that was early in the afternoon. This class is for the smaller boats which are usually quite numerous.

Conditions offshore were about as fine an as anyone could want but maybe the rest of the fleet could not find the fish.

As it was, that solo boat had only one fish to enter. No matter, that proved to be a winner for Tyler Mello and gave the boat, Bite Me, the High Point Class “A’ award. The fish was a nice 33.6-pounds yellowfin and only one of many that were weighed in that day.

Moving into the ‘B’ Class, there was more competition with the largest wahoo Andrew Rossiters’s 42.5 pounder; Sean Symons took the yellowfin honours with a 57.2 pound fish and the “Other” category was taken by Andrew Barnes with a 21.5 pound barracuda.

Top boat in this class was Niel Jones’ Balancing Act with captain Raymond Raynor’s Blu Ray rounding out the winners as runner-up.

The stiffest competition was in the Professional class where, ultimately only a few points would separate the winners and losers. The High Point Wahoo was a fine 52.1-pound wahoo caught be AJ Durham.

Owen Place caught an 81-pound yellowfin to win the largest tuna award. The High Point Other species went to Norman Pogson with his 35.6-pound Almaco jack (bonita).

On aggregates with a maximum of five fish per anglers, Scott Barnes took the overall High Point Anglers honours with a total of 283 points while Carla Souza was the High Point Lady with 77.9 points.

Captain Barnes’ Hakuna Matata was the overall High Point Boat amassing a whopping 417.2 points, primarily from hefty yellowfin tuna while Brian Hines’ Legasea was not far behind in runner up with 387.2 points, also largely scored by yellowfin tuna.

The numbers and quality of the fish gave a good indication of the offshore scene. Of the eligible fish weighed in 26 were yellowfin tuna, 11 were wahoo, five were bonita and one was a barracuda.

This did not include numerous specimens of all species that narrowly missed the minimum weight requirement.

All things considered, it was a highly successful event and definitely one of the better hauls in recent years.

Through the week, the fishing continued apace offshore with the bulk of the action coming from chumming. There is a really nice selection of yellowfin tuna out there: small schoolies in the up to 20-pound class, large middleweight fish and then some serious bruises weighing anywhere form 75 to 100 pounds and upwards.

It seems that the key to success in the chum is the state of what locals call the “tide”, but is actually the currents around the drop-offs on the Edge and Banks. When there is a beneficial one, expect the fish to show in good numbers.

A poor tide, on the other hand, can make for disappointing fishing. Generally, a windward tide is to be avoided but sometimes a movement of just several hundred yards can find more clement conditions.

There are still wahoo to be had but the horrendous amount of seaweed that is still dominating the waters around the Banks makes trolling nigh on impossible.

It thins out somewhat as one moves away from the Banks but that means invading the deep water that the billfish call home.And they are home too, and why wouldn’t they be with all that tuna around?

Some white marlin have been hooked and caught this past week and there ae some big blue marlin cruising the depths. Captain Peter Rans’ Overproof caught and released two one day this past week; one fish was estimated at 200 pounds and the other at 500 pounds. This augurs well for the billfishing effort that will get really serious over the next few weeks in advance of the Blue Marlin World Cup and the Bermuda Triple Crown.

Casual anglers should be reminded that it is against the law to take a white marlin weighing less than 50 pounds or a blue marlin weighing less than 250 pounds. This law is in keeping with international provisions which are similar in many jurisdictions.

This time next week the solstice will have past and the days will be getting shorter. If this suggests that maybe some people are missing out on a great fishing season, then maybe it is time to do something about it. For sure, there are plenty of sea-creatures ready, able and willing to give you some Tight Lines!!!