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Tropical season testing the patience

Enough already! The active Atlantic has already pretty well exhausted this island and its willingness to batten down hatches, add hurricane lines, shift moorings and otherwise ready oneself for what is called “the tropical season”.

Perhaps one of the advantages of being subtropical is that the ocean at this latitude does cool off as autumn takes hold, making it less likely to fuel the convective masses that form the most powerful storms.

Fingers crossed, that the island settles back into the winters steady diet of gales and North Atlantic depressions.

The pelagic wanderers that are the blue water game fish Bermuda angling is based on travel considerably farther north of this latitude as they follow bait and nature's programmed roads.

The canyons off New York, New Jersey and even Massachusetts encounter dolphin, wahoo, sharks and even marlin at the height of their summer season.

This is short-lived because the fish in question, not being programmed for chilly conditions, at the first onset of autumnal temperatures and winds start on a southward migration back to more equatorial climes.

This has the wahoo, tuna and other species retracing their passages which, in turn, once again, may bring them past this island.

Fish on the move are likely to be feeding because moving requires energy and energy requires fuel.

The open sea is a big place but a succession of sea mounts like the offshore banks hold bait fish and other species which just might be the source of such fuel for travelling fish.

With the commercial fleet only just getting back into fishing mode, the early signs are encouraging with the wahoo and tuna still biting.

Small game is still abundant and when more boats start working the offshore a clearer picture will evolve.

All the heavy weather, even hundreds of miles away, affect the currents around the banks and elsewhere and this can affect the fish activity as well.

This may take a while to turn into favourable conditions for both the fish and fishermen.

All is not lost inshore yet either. The water is starting to cool off, but the inshore waters between the islands in the Great Sound and St George's Harbour should be home to numerous jacks.

In fact, in the olden days (there seem to have been rather a lot of those!) when net fishing for jacks and mackerel was a pretty serious mainstay of the fishing industry, the fishermen used to eagerly await the arrival of the so-called “fall fish” — larger jacks weighing two or three pounds.

These enjoyed a good market that was only displaced as the local tastes started to favour white meat fish and the various imported fish species widened the choices available and introduced new flavours.

Whether these larger jacks will show up this year is debatable but, for sure, trolling small spoons will catch some of the jacks currently cruising these inshore waters. Mackerel will also start to move inshore at this time of the year, replacing the juvenile “frigates” that move in the opposite direction out towards the deep where survival becomes a risky gamble.

Daisy chain-type rigs will also get results from both mackerel and jacks; and, every once in a while, an amberjack or bonita will latch onto such a rig.

These can be homemade from various lures, feathers or spoons or they may be bought as sabiki rigs — a Japanese name for what is essentially a daisy chain of small lures.

When the South Shore settles down, and it will, there will still be some pompano, more rightly palometa, action. In fact, this may be the time of the year when the largest specimens are most common.

Remember that any palometa over about two pounds is big, with four pounds being the island record. The first such fish was caught way back in November 1969.

The second such fish was caught by an angler who sort of specialised in inshore species and it seems that his own four-pounder came in July 1972.

Since then there doesn't seem to have been an assault on this record mark which offers lots of possibilities because the current IGFA All-Tackle record is a mere one pound 12 ounces.

Looking at the Bermuda record suggests that it should not be too hard to take over the world mark; in addition, the Bermuda two-pound, four-pound, eight-pound and 12-pound classes are also vacant as are the fly rod tippet classes for two, four, six, eight and 12 pounds.

Looking ahead is also a bit depressing as the forecast for the weekend is less than conducive to offshore adventuring.

A lot better than the last few weekend forecasts but one unlikely to see any tournament take place.

This could change so anglers looking to taka part would do well to stay alert and in touch.

Although the season has almost completely come to its practical end, there are still some good days ahead and the pelagic wanderers will continue to move through the local area for a few more weeks.

As long as the fish are on the move, there will be opportunities for Tight Lines!!!

Fall fish: Jack

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Published September 28, 2019 at 9:00 am (Updated September 28, 2019 at 1:07 am)

Tropical season testing the patience

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