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Tuna the incentive if you can get out to sea

Time for the ol' sea dogs to do what they do best; and that is; slip in a weekend of fishing between Mother's Day which kept many land-bound even though the weather was somewhat less than encouraging (a bit of sour grapes, maybe?) and the 24th May Bermuda Day holiday which is now less than a week away.

Such a manoeuvre can be a bit tricky, especially as most boats need a good dose of TLC and a hefty clean-up in order to be ready for the latter.

While there may be a few less than favourable comments on the state of the weather during the last week, it certainly has not been bad enough to keep the fleet at home. Indeed some of the professionals have found the seas rather productive with the wahoo providing the bulk of the action.

Almost all the fish that have been caught recently have been true spring-run fish. The rule of thumb seems to be just over ten pounds and under twenty pounds with norm in the mid-teens.

While the size might be a bit disappointing, the numbers aren't and the action seems to be pretty well spread out with South Shore, Southwest Edge and both Banks paying off.

One suspects that there will be some similar action down north and towards the East End as well. There is still plenty of fast action out there; how long it will last is another story.

Virtually all the effort producing this haul came from trolling and while a few boats toyed with chumming, the tuna successfully avoided most of the fish boxes.

That this is about to change has to be a certainty if for no other reason than the numbers of tuna reported popping the surface and chasing concentrations of bait.

It must be merely a matter of having the tide settle down or the bait to become more predictable, that will allow the tuna to become a reliable source of action on both Banks. Not an “if” but a “when”.

Captain Peter Rans brought his new Overproof to the Island just recently where it has obviously turned more than just a few heads. A thing of beauty, a work of art, a run out earlier this week, proved that she is not just for show. That particular trip saw a tally of about 18 wahoo, a dolphin and a 400 pound blue marlin turned loose. Not a bad day of fishing anywhere in the world.

While it is generally not a good idea to pass judgments based on a single tip, it is pretty safe to think it highly likely that Overproof will find herself among the mentions during the billfish tournaments and beyond.

Tomorrow, the IGFA-affiliated Bermuda Game Fishing Clubs will take a second shot at their annual BFCAT tournament, giving their light tackle one of the few serious runs that it will get this year.

Once a mainstay of the local angling scene light tackle is now seldom seen, other than in the hands of purists, looking to carry on the old traditions. In the old days, this meant trolling nothing stronger than 20-lb or 30-lb test and scaling down to something like 12-lb test for fishing in the chum slick.

To put this in perspective, the IGFA recognises eleven classes of line test. Of these, eight are 30-lb test or less, showing that there is a wide range of “light tackle” to be had.

In addition to the 30 pound category, the 20 pound and 12 pound classes were among the most popular in Bermuda although there was a 6 pound category that enjoyed popularity for a time, especially for species like bonefish.

Looking at old accounts of game fishing worldwide will turn up all sorts of line tests; many measured in “threads”. Somewhere back in history, this is where it all started.

Lines, long before monofilament and generations before the modern fluorocarbons and the like, were a form of linen. These cotton threads were woven together to make thicker, and therefore, stronger lines much in the same manner used to make ropes. The line strengths were referred to in terms of the number of threads woven together. Each thread was given a strength of three pounds; so “ten thread” line would break at roughly 30 pounds.

Six thread should probably be close to 18 pounds but given the errors was probably closer to 20 pounds and so forth.

Also consider the quality of the reels available: thinner lines were preferable because more thinner linen line could be packed on than a thicker line. Basically, the more threads, the stronger the line would be but there would be markedly less of it.

Nylon monofilament solved a lot of these issues; to the point that there weren't any real problems at all. But then came more developments and most local angling now more resembles space technology than the fishing of fifty years ago. Amazingly enough, the line classes are virtually unchanged, even with all of that.

The summer beckons and there will be days for fishing as well as boating, swimming and just laying off in the shade. In fact, there are times when you really just don't need any Tight Lines!!!

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Published May 18, 2019 at 9:00 am (Updated May 18, 2019 at 1:24 am)

Tuna the incentive if you can get out to sea

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