Crew prove bigger is not always better
Not the best weather for a tournament but certainly not the worst, either.
Such were the conditions last Sunday when the Bacardi Tournament finally took place.
Although the winds were not particularly gusty or of a high velocity, the fact that they were easterly in nature pretty much ensured that the offshore was lumpy at best.
On a more positive note, though, the water seemed to have cleared itself of the suspended matter that rendered the blue water a rather cloudy shade of its normally deep azure.
Clear water is generally preferred for the pursuit of the open ocean species the normal purview of the deep-sea fisherman.
Do not ever think that bigger is always better. On Sunday, the largest fish in the tournament came off the smallest boat which went by the unlikely name of Water Buffalo.
The fish, caught by Dustin Archibald, was a 51.4 pound wahoo that took a live robin along Bermuda's Edge and won the Class A Largest Wahoo award.
The points scored by that same fish also earned the boat the Class A High Point Boat award.
There was a similar situation in the Class B category. Although larger boats, those that took part did not enjoy too much in the way of success with many of the fish being weighed in failing to make the 20 pound-minimum weight.
As a result there were no winners in the Largest Tuna or “other” species classes.
Lady angler Fiona Beck won the Largest Wahoo award in this boat class with a 26.2 pound wahoo. That fish was caught on board the Kia Kaha, operated by Niel Jones, which won the Class B High Point Boat award.
Unsurprisingly, the close competition was in the Class C category where the professionals duked it out.
The High Point Boat in this class and the winner of the Bacardi Rum Trophy for overall High Point Boat in the tournament was Paradise One with Captain Alan Bean, Jr.
The team, fishing aboard Paradise One, amassed 189.5 points ahead of the Class C High Point Boat Runner-up, Captain Craigin Curtis's Reel Addiction with 152.6 points.
The High Point Wahoo in Class C was a 45.3-pound wahoo caught by Will Gonzales. The High Point Yellowfin Tuna award was taken by Roddy Nesbitt, with a 29 pounder and the High Point Fish in the “Other” category was won by Maureen Murray with a 26.6-pound barracuda.
The Overall High Point Angler was Scott Barnes with three wahoo that gave him a total of 79.4 points and Anne Marie Hebert was the High Point Lady Angler with 43.2 points from a single yellowfin tuna.
Looked at as a whole event, rather than by classes, the tournament provided a nice variety of species with the usual wahoo and yellowfin tuna augmented by barracuda, amberjack, blackfin tuna and dolphin.
Most participants said that they had used live baits even though they covered a lot of ground with some boats remaining on the Edge, others going to Challenger Banks and at least one making the journey out to Argus Bank.
Conditions remained similar for the best part of the week with a sea running, presumably a result of the after-effects of the storms that had the Atlantic in a turmoil just over a week ago.
Still, it remained fishable and the commercial fleet continued to intersperse some regular fishing with tending their lobster traps.
Most of them continued to use live baits with the robins having been the preferred bait so far.
Just recently, however, numbers of small blackfin tuna have made their presence known and there are many who would argue that a small blackfin is an even better bait than a “frigate” mackerel.
One thing is for sure: they do last a long time if a predator does not show up. If one does, then it is usually case closed for that particular bait. Like the small mackerel, they can be caught on daisy chains or sabiki rigs, which are tantamount to the same thing.
Although wahoo are the mainstay at the moment with a rather nice class of fish — they are averaging between 30 and 40 pounds with larger ‘hoos also pleasing — there are also enough tuna out there to make life interesting.
There have been some large (90 pounds plus) individuals caught with down north actually providing some of this action.
Since yellowfin are school fish and usually quite voracious feeders, these fish are probably on the move so it is hard to predict where they might turn up next. The thing is to be prepared for them.
A natural bait fished from an outrigger a long way back usually works well for conventional trolling with live baits always being effective.
Rumours of another wahoo tournament persist although details remain sketchy. This one is reputed to involve a cash pot for the largest wahoo and it seems to be slated for next Sunday. Doubtless, more details will emerge for those interested in such a venture.
An additional tournament is more than welcome in this topsy-turvy year but, as it is now October, getting a weekend with suitable weather may prove to be the issue.
Assuming that can be found it makes for a really nice opportunity for some late season Tight Lines!!!