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Light Tackle Tournament curse strikes again

Like it or not, it is summer. That came into fact yesterday at 12.54pm local time.

That is the time that the astronomers reckon the focus of the sun’s rays came as far north as it is going to. Not that it has anything much to do with the sun; it is the earth tilting.

In any case, the days will now start to get shorter even though it will be a while before anyone really notices that.

It will also continue to get hotter as the days progress with the stifling month of August usually the warmest and often a deterrent to sportsmen and women who indulge in outside pursuits.

What it really means is that it is the heart of the fishing season. All the summer gamefish are on the offshore grounds; the reef species are as active as they get and overall conditions are usually good enough for even casual boaters to be able to make it offshore safely.

Note the use of the word “usually”. It seems that the curse of the International Light Tackle Tournament has lived up to its reputation with this weekend’s forecast and the actual weather conspiring to make this, at best, a bouncy event.

In its original format, the International Light Tackle Tournament was a weeklong affair, involving teams from all over the world.

In its modern reincarnation, it is slated for just two days even though it still draws teams from overseas. And therein lies part of the problem.

The already crammed tournament schedule has little wiggle room for rescheduling and overseas competitors are here for fixed periods.

As a result of the very inclement forecast, the event has been further reduced to just a single day tomorrow.

Originally more flexible, the present tournament involves just a single line class; 12 pound test line. There is a billfish category as well and that allows up to 30 pound test line.

This format has virtually every angler opting for the former category with chumming for yellowfin tuna the preferred method of amassing points.

Other gamefish accrue points as well, but the average size of the yellowfin means that it is possible to score points more quickly than concentrating on the smaller game species.

Wahoo also lend themselves to this class of tackle, but chumming is a less popular method of fishing for this particular species.

One can only hope that the weather moderates sufficiently to allow the fleet entered in this event an opportunity to get offshore where up until the present the tuna fishing has been excellent with the only caveat being occasional inclement tides that have a negative impact on tuna fishing success.

Trolling continues to be fraught with obstacles in the form of seaweed. There is just so much of it around; not a problem in the ecological sense but the results of winds and currents that have directed the masses on to this island’s shores.

In the agricultural heyday, it would have been considered a godsend as farmers would have raked heaps of the brown stuff off the beaches and plowed it into the ground as fertiliser.

With those days pretty much gone for ever, the availability of chemical fertilisers and a decrease in farming effort, the seaweed is now mostly regarded as nuisance and an eyesore on beaches.

On the one hand, most of the trolling for wahoo eases off in the mid-summer and the local focus moves on to chumming and this makes the seaweed situation less problematic.

On the other, though, the billfish season is on the up of blowing wide open and that is pretty much totally reliant on trolling. Mates are not looking forward to going from rod to rod to clear the growth from their lures and baits and it pretty much precludes the use of spreaders and other sophisticated fish attractors.

A quick look at the marinas will show that the foreign sport fishing fleet is arriving almost on a daily basis and with the Blue Marlin World Cup taking place on the July 4, in just over a week’s time, there will be plenty of hoping that the winds disperse the seaweed or redirect it into areas not covered by boats working out of Bermuda.

Given the amount of tuna offshore, there can be little doubt that there are plenty of blue marlin around but the ability to catch them will be a factor of just how successfully boats will be able to troll. This will remain to be seen over the next couple of weeks.

Deep reef areas are also productive. Action should be provided by Almaco jack and yellowtail snapper. Deep jigging, while a lot of work, does get results from bonita and amberjack.

These are good gamefish with the added advantage of being considered preferred eating fish.

The inshore fishing, which is largely ignored by anglers, is also very good. The flats and sandy beds of seagrass are home to some trophy bonefish that are well suited to spinning gear or a fly rod.

Sandy beaches are the preferred areas for catching palometa; a small but very game species that is a delight to catch and even more delightful in the galley.

So, summertime; fishing time and high time to get out there with a rod and reel and to go look for some Tight Lines!!!