Storms continue to cause disruption
Here we go again! Is there no end to this hurricane season? And why is Bermuda on the receiving end?
Think about it: all the major storms that stick out in most minds were E, F or G-named ones; Emily, Fabian, Fay and Gonzalo awaken memories in just about everyone.
Why have things changed? Last year and H — Humberto; this year Paulette and probably now Teddy to some degree, hopefully lesser rather than full-on.
Along with the old wives' tales that have formulated many an outlook on tropical weather, yet another adage apparently kicked into touch was the old hurricane saying: “October, all over”.
Not any more, as evidenced by the last few years — the damn things persist well into October and beyond, still having the nerve to come up this far north where cooling cold fronts and early winter gales would normally be causing their own versions of havoc but, at least, deterring the tropical systems from incursions into their realm.
It would be lying to decorate this column with tales of angling derring-do punctuated by massive catches and near-record fish.
The impending Paulette and the heavy swells caused by storm surges that are even hundreds of miles away make the offshore scene a maelstrom of chaos that fishermen have the good sense to avoid.
So it is needless to say that there wasn't any commercial fishing for fish this last week.
This, all the more so, because of their lobster gear that is at risk during such times.
The brief respite that came midweek allowed the commercial operators to locate their gear and to harvest whatever lobsters had taken shelter in the traps.
Regardless of level of success, rebaiting would have been called for in advance of what will probably be another prolonged stand during a period of heavy weather.
It may come as something of a surprise to landlubbers, but it seems that spiny lobsters are quite active when the weather is foul.
The real risk to the fishermen is the potential loss of the gear; heavy seas, and strong tidal surges can physically move even weighted traps considerable distances.
Given that the drop-off is quite sheer in some places, a trap that is moved off the cliff, as it were, could easily be lost for ever.
In the nearer shore reef areas, those same surges and currents can take a steel framed tap and bend it like a pretzel, sometimes totally destroying it.
Hence, the fishermen's concerns for the wellbeing of their gear; an intact trap can provide an entire winter's worth of income while a lost or missing trap does absolutely no good at all.
Like everything else, all things shall pass and there will be days ahead when the storms are gone and the seas are calm. And the fish might well be into biting mode.
The passage of a hurricane absorbs a lot of heat out of the ocean. This results in a change in water temperature and this may well be one of the signals that fish interpret as the end of the summer season and time to move on.
Moving fish are usually hungry fish and that is when the fishing is at its best.
Considering that many species spawn during the summer, it is often early autumn when the first “young of the year” start to appear. Juvenile mackerel, tuna and jacks are often encountered both offshore and in the smaller harbours and bays.
Most feed voraciously because the quickest path to safety is to achieve a size the reduces the number of potential predators.
In the violent ocean, small fish are bait fish for many others, but even the biggest marlin was once a small fish, proving that survival is possible.
Probably unlikely given the numbers that are spawned originally, but definitely possible as evidenced by the adult versions of the same species. Amazing, really!
Again, amazingly proactive, the organisers of the annual Bacardi Angling Tournament, have already announced the postponement of the event that was provisionally slated for Sunday, September 20 after the original date of the 13th was so obviously a non-starter.
Storms off the agenda and some semblance of weather normalcy may allow this competition to finally take place on the 27th.
Considering that this tournament is usually associated with the early season, this puts a different complexion on sport fishing in what has been a maverick year at best.
This weekend will be spent putting additional ropes on boats and checking moorings.
Ashore, fixing shutters and clearing away or securing anything that might move in a Force 12 blow will be what takes up the time for most people.
For this weekend, about the nearest thing to fishing for anglers will be dreams of Tight Lines!!!