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Hauls remain red hot despite weather shift

A long-awaited shift in the weather brought some much-needed rain to the Island and some relief for tanks and the parched plant life.

Rainfall freshens the surface waters and may help to cool things down a bit although it would take a vast amount of rain to accomplish this.

Such a change in the weather, which up until just lately has been calm, hot and dry, might also have a marked effect on the fishing. Nature is susceptible to changes in patterns and the observant angler takes note of such things.

With the competitive billfish events now a thing of the past, effort for these denizens of the deep has dropped off markedly.

But that is not to say that they are no longer out there. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Last week, Captain Adam Utterstrom's 72 foot Merritt, Offshore Lady, had an excellent day working the deep water, going six for seven on blue marlin.

All of the fish were released but this just goes to show that when they bite, the action can be red hot.

Several other boats have also reporting hooking or catching blue marlin, primarily as they travers the Churn between the Edge and the Banks or between the two Banks.

Most operators, including those charterboats that have been able to draw some clientele this year, tend to troll the edge of the drop-off and then chum on the Banks, hoping for tuna and small game action.

This is optimum from the client's point of view as most really only just want to catch fish and, for many, even the smaller game species like rainbow runner or mackerel are likely to be the largest thing they have ever encountered.

The angler seeking blue marlin know that it is long-winded game with hours of boredom in the search the norm.

While this is fine for those who know what to expect, it can be a source of frustration and disappointment for most others.

Hence the programme of dragging a couple of large rigs over the deep water preferred by billfish and then the concentration on the 30 to 50-fathom curve where most game fish are to be found.

The recent fishing has produced some reasonable numbers of yellowfin tuna with chumming the preferred method at present.

Trolling has also caught a few tuna although these tend to be smaller yellowfin or even blackfin, but with the usual target being wahoo many of the baits and lures used are not exactly the best for tuna species.

The yellowfin caught while chumming on the Banks have been nice sized fish with 50-pounders not uncommon.

There are also a number of school-sized tuna around and these can give just about any reasonable class of tackle, and the angler, a decent work out.

In days gone by, trolling the northern edge used to produce larger yellowfin at this time of the year. An area not usually worked heavily by trollers, this might be worth a look to see if the past will repeat itself.

If nothing else, there is good bottom up there for deeper reef fishing for yellowtails, blackfin tuna and robins.

The latter are perfect for live bait and should entice any wahoo cruising along the edge or any ambers lurking down deep.

Despite the disappointments dealt many sporting events here this year, there is one bright spot.

In a fairly major revision to this year's tournament calendar which, due to the lockdown and related factors, never really saw the light of day, has the annual Bacardi Tournament taking the late summer slot usually used by the Royal Gazette Wahoo Tournament.

Effectively a postponement from the original Bacardi date in June, this tournament is now slated for the September 13 with the alternate the following weekend.

With many anglers having missed out on the Island's traditional fishing tournaments, this will be most welcome return to near normalcy.

The almost autumnal date should coincide with some of the best fishing that the island has to offer as seasonal changes will have alerted the fish that it is time to move back into migratory mode and to become more active.

This usually translates into improved action from wahoo and yellowfin tuna although other predominantly warm water species like dolphin, oceanic bonito and barracuda also figure in the mixed bags that are characteristic of late season trolling.

Look out for entry forms and copies of the rules which are due out soon.

In a perfect world this would coincide with the presence of juvenile mackerel and blackfin tuna, both of which make top class live baits.

The abundance of such pelagic species in their morsel-size versions is often enough to hold numbers of predators on the Banks and Edge for several weeks, making for fantastic fishing.

With no real sign of their impending arrival yet, fisherman have to be content with hoping for the best.

Being out on the water offers the best chance of being among the first to take advantage of any arrivals as well as noting the denouement of the summer season.

With winter lurking just weeks away, now is a great time to get in on what might well be some of the year's last sporting Tight Lines!!!

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Published August 22, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated August 21, 2020 at 6:58 pm)

Hauls remain red hot despite weather shift

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