Bumper weekend of action remains in balance – The Royal Gazette | Bermuda News, Business, Sports, Events, & Community

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Bumper weekend of action remains in balance

Fingers crossed, the weather will hold for the 53rd Royal Gazette Wahoo Tournament, one of the island's oldest and best attended angling tournaments.

One of the few public tournaments to still feature line classes and to put an emphasis on the light tackle angling that made Bermuda the angling paradise that it has become.

A major factor in the “go, no go” decision stems from the fact that the event attracts many small boaters and a day that is comfortable enough in a 43-footer may be barely tolerable in a 25-foot boat.

Much of the success of a tournament comes from pleasant participation. Winning is nice, but a good day's fishing is plenty rewarding as well. Hanging on for dear life and catching nothing is no one's idea of fun, much less an exercise in pleasantries.

So, it will remain to be seen, how tomorrow pans out. If it does go off there will be a crowd at the cruise ship dock at Dockyard, admiring the denizens of the deep brought to the weigh station.

Viewing this spectacle is popular with both locals and visitors and well worth a look. If the tournament is postponed then it will be next weekend.

With much of the commercial fleet concentrating on the lobster market, there has been a reduction in the amount of intelligence coming in from the offshore.

This actually stands to reason: time spent tending the lobster traps reduces the amount of time available for working some of the more isolated fishing grounds and, because it is impossible to be in two places at once, it precludes working a single area over at different times of the day.

As is well known, a concentration of fish in a given area, say, Sally Tucker's on Bermuda's southwestern edge, might feed ravenously early in the morning and again later in the afternoon.

A boat putting in some serious effort in that area might be lucky enough to profit from both periods of activity and maybe even pick up isolated strikes during the course of the day.

A visit there at midday, after having worked the lobster gear, may just produce the odd strike, prompting the fisherman to move on without realising the spot is actually home to large number of potential bites.

What is known is that the wahoo are definitely the dominant offshore species. This does not mean that they are the only species available but they far outnumber the tuna species and dolphin, which are the other sought-after species.

This can become nothing short of full crazy if the schools of juvenile mackerel move into the same general areas as those occupied by the predators.

Billfish are really a bit of a separate programme as looking for these usually means working the waters more removed from the edges or drop-offs that are favoured by the wahoo and any marauding tuna. The fairly obvious reason for this is that is where the bait congregates.

Actually, it does not take too much imagination to figure this out.

Robins, an ever-popular bait with both the fish and the fishermen, are essentially a reef species, occurring over the deeper reefs.

So, when they come to the surface in pursuit of chum or for some other reason, they are likely to be in the sort of depths that is associated with the edge area. This is usually considered to be the 30 to 50-fathom curve.

Boaters refer to this band around the island or banks as the “edge” and while some will work a bit shallower or a bit deeper, it is a fairly clearly defined area and that is where the trolling for wahoo takes place.

Tuna feed along there as do other species and even billfish will invade this shallower area on occasion but, by and large, marlin like the deeper water.

The wahoo tournament will see a variety of techniques employed, but most be will concentrated along the drop-offs whether the plan is to chum, live bait or troll.

All get results and both small wahoo and large ones eat the same offerings. It is always interesting to find out what the winning anglers were doing.

Anglers who are into the social media (it seems that just about everybody is these days!) may have noticed some of the posts with pictures of some of the fine specimens of bonefish that this island is producing.

Although bones are nowhere near as numerous here as they are in the Bahamas, Florida Keys, or Venezuela (a current hotspot for fishing the “thin” water), they do attain large sizes. Large generally means six pounds or more.

Here, it is not uncommon for them to better ten pounds and eight-pounders are quite common. Although bonefishing's heyday seems long gone, this species still offers some amazing light tackle sport and, at the moment, here in Bermuda it does not get any better.

Weather allowing, a good weekend for anglers, inshore and offshore. As is always the case with sport fishing, there are lots of factors involved.

These combine in myriad different permutations and it isn't just the skill of the angler that results in the winning Tight Lines!!!

Reel them in: Team Balancing Act weigh in at last year's Wahoo Tournament (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

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Published September 14, 2019 at 9:00 am (Updated September 14, 2019 at 1:18 am)

Bumper weekend of action remains in balance

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