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Tournaments are approaching thick and fast

High summer and it is moving at a pace with July nearly upon us! It is well into the fishing season now and the tournaments are coming fast and furious.

May and June are the month for the most traditional fishing with wahoo and tuna the primary targets and a few diehards still using light tackle in their pursuit of the old-fashioned way of doing things.

The weather was less than ideal, but it was good enough to fish, so on Sunday, six teams braved the elements to fish the Bermuda Anglers Club International Light Tackle Tournament.

Considering how hard the weather had been for the previous three days, the amount of seaweed offshore and the seasonal presence of the migrating shearwaters with endless appetites, it was amazing that any fishing was had. But had it was and there were some success stories and some nice fish caught.

The winning team accruing the most points was Philly For Rum, followed by the Bermuda Anglers Club team with the Double Down Byes finishing in third.

The team award for Most Releases went to the Bermuda Anglers Club team which managed five releases.

The High Point Angler was Eric Hirschberg with Doug Kreitzberg narrowly beating out Thad Crouch by a mere 100 points for second place. The High Point Lady Angler was Fiona Beck and the High Point Junior was Nic Froud.

The DuVal Award for High Point Fish was won by Eric Hirschberg with a 42.9-pound yellowfin tuna caught on 12 pound test and earning him a hefty chunk of points towards his overall title.

The award for the billfish class was not awarded even though there was one boat that had hooked up a marlin which was lost when some of the immense amount of seaweed interfered with the proceedings.

Speaking of seaweed, a number of news agencies are carrying stories that describe large amounts of seaweed washing up and ruining otherwise idyllic beach resorts and having a seriously negative economic impact there.

While there seems to be no end to it on local waters the amount washing up here is minuscule compared to what some of these other places are getting, so maybe we should be grateful for small mercies.

While the tuna fishing is less affected by the seaweed with most boats chumming for them and using heavier classes of tackle, the wahoo fishing has seriously eased up.

Part of this can be attributed to seasonal fluctuations; wahoo are at their best in the spring and autumn although they are present all year round in fair numbers. What is probably having more impact is the difficulty encountered by boats that want to troll.

Trolling is one of the preferred methods for catching wahoo and the presence of so much seaweed makes it difficult to drag a line through the water.

A viable alternative has been fishing live baits but while this can be combined with chumming for tuna and other species, the use of a kite rig is also beset with difficulties because of the seaweed.

Those willing to take their chances of avoiding the weed can come up trumps, though.

Some of the largest wahoo are caught at this time of the year, occasionally taking rigs intended for larger fish. Just be prepared to spend a lot of time clearing seaweed off the lines.

This is going to take on a whole new dimension during the coming week as the first of the big billfish events gets under way.

The Bermuda Billfish Blast, fished from July 3 to 7, incorporates the Blue Marlin World Cup competition on July 4.

The worldwide event sees some serious money in the pot, on a winner-take-all basis. Quite simply, the biggest blue marlin caught on July 4, anywhere in the world by a boat entered in the event collects the money.

While that event will be contested by something like 100-plus boats worldwide, the Blast will see 40 or so boats competing locally for some fairly respectable stakes as well.

Now, the issue is that seaweed makes trolling difficult and trolling is pretty much the main way in which marlin are fished for by sports anglers.

A large lure that pops regularly throwing up a fountain of spray as it zips through the water almost invariably picks up any lump of seaweed that is in its path, rendering it fairly useless as its action will change and marlin are not noted for chasing down blobs of brown seaweed bouncing along the surface.

Any natural bait being trolled will also pick up seaweed and become quite undesirable to any fish in the area.

There are also complex and sophisticated fish raising devices that need to be dragged through the water and the abundance of weed pretty much precludes the use of these, undoubtedly cramping the style of certain crews who specialise in the sue of such gear.

Basically, it will be harder to fish here than it has been in the past, although reports would suggest that the problem is by no means limited to this area.

Whatever your bag is, now is the time. Gear-busting brute marlin in the deep, hard-hitting yellowfin tuna on the Banks, yellowtail snappers over the reefs or whitewaters in the channel — now is the time to grab some Tight lines!!!