Time to get serious about fishing
Now is the time to get down to some seriously fishing. Yesterday was for picnicking, swimming and soaking up the sun. Consign all that to the history books and get offshore where there has been some very encouraging signs over the last couple of weeks and some really nice hauls that have brought smiles to the faces of more than just a few old salts.
The local fishing clubs’ BFCAT tournament went off on Sunday without a hitch and although the seas were a little choppier than expected, most boats enjoyed a modicum of success.
The cumulative nature of the points scored accruing to each club based on lien test classes saw the wealth distributed. Bermuda Anglers Club won the 8-lb and 12-lb test categories; Blue Waters Anglers took the awards for the 16-lb and 20-lb line test categories and Sea Horse Anglers Club won the 30-lb test class. Overall Sea Horse Anglers lifted the BFCAT Shield with a total of 2,327.64 points, well ahead of second place Blue Waters Anglers.
The High Point Boat was Sorceress, operated by Darryl Steynor and fishing for Sea Horse while Blue Waters angler Roddy Nesbitt, Sr. was the High Point Angler, amassing a total of 1,064.39 points. Mr. Nesbitt also had the High Point Fish in the shape of a 52.2 pound wahoo caught on 16-lb test.
There was a good variety of fish weighed in. The wahoo ranged from the mid-teen’s to 61 pounds with a few in the 50+-pound bracket. There were a selection of tun, both of the blackfin and yellowfin variety. Rounding things out were a selection of other species including bonita, including a large one that would have contributed significantly to the points tally if it had not been interfered with by a shark, rendering it ineligible.
A really welcome contribution to the fish box was the number of dolphin that were brought in. Seldom attaining any great size in local waters, averaging around 12-15 pounds, they are a prized eating fish that doesn’t usually occur here in numbers. The suggestion is that they may have arrived with the mats of seaweed that are to be found offshore. The quantity of Sargassum offshore has frustrated many a fishermen recently, effectively making trolling impossible. The downriggers, an important tool in wahoo fishing, are particularly prone to getting snagged with seaweed and that can seriously hamper even the best laid out trolling spread.
During the week Capt. James Robinson’s Wound Up had a good day avoiding the seaweed by concentrating on chumming. He was duly rewarded with a nice haul of yellowfin tuna, averaging something like 35 pounds. Not exactly monsters but an ideal size for chumming on light to medium tackle.
That proves that there are some schools of yellowfin around and while they might take a bit of locating they almost always end up in the usual spots around the Banks. Actually, timing-wise, this is just about spot-on because June is usually a chumming month and was the preferred month for light tackle tournaments.
Chumming, of course, has the advantage of attracting all sorts of fish including some lesser but nonetheless recognised game species. Rainbow runners, Almaco jack, skipjack tuna along with a slew of others all respond to a chum slick as will yellowtail snapper and a number of other jack species. Barracuda often show p to cast their beady eyes over proceedings and take a bite out of anything hooked, but, fortunately, they tend to become more numerous later in the year.
This type of fishing is also well suited to the designed use of a spinning rod. This means actually casting and retrieving a surface popper or diving lure. Spoons and tube lures work on the barracuda and just about everything else will hit a properly presented popper. Deep jigging can be tiring but can pay off with whatever is lurking down deep in the chum line.
The presence of numbers of tuna are a harbinger that the billfish will not be far behind and it won’t be too long before some boats decide to get serious and start carrying the heavy gear for the run between the Edge and the Banks. AS June progresses, the foreign fleet will start to arrive and the deep water will receive a good working over. Just remember that sometimes there are some really large fish that come by early in the season and to run into something of that ilk with unsuitable tackle could be a bit of a disaster.
In the meantime, there is the Bacardi Tournament to look forward to. The first of the bigger tournaments, entry forms should be in the tackle and boating shops as well as the usual outlets. With many still recovering form the holiday malaise, details such as entry forms can slip between the cracks and, failing to enter could put a damper on any Tight Lines!!!