Wow, what a week! And where to begin!
First off, the biggest story has to be the Blue Marlin World Cup; with something like 150 boats entered around the world and the big bucks at stake for a winner-take-all event, the competition was always going to be stiff.
Many boats had travelled to the world’s blue marlin hotspots, notably Madeira, Cape Verde Islands, Bermuda and the fabled Kona coast of Hawaii, all in search of a winner. Putting things in perspective some 40 boats were trying their luck out here.
By the time fishing started here in Bermuda, the western Pacific was done with no eligible fish caught and the eastern Atlantic was well into their fishing day. Now, this is where it starts to get a bit complicated. Many of the boats fishing in Bermuda were also entered into the Bermuda Blast billfish tournament.
This is primarily a release tournament with the exception being an eligible fish caught by a boat also entered in the World Cup. There were also some boats fishing in Bermuda that were only entered in one or the other but not both.
It was one of the latter; the Scallywag, that hooked up with a sizeable blue marlin that stayed attached for about 20 minutes when angler Edward Barnes felt that gut-wrenching feeling that comes with the fish pulling the hook.
Thus, went a shot at a big money fish. Shortly thereafter came word that Madeira had indeed weighed a fish, but at 541.2 pounds, it was unlikely to hold up as pretty much half the world’s fleet still had to complete their fishing day.
Amazingly, it did hold up with no other eligible fish being boated on the 4th. So, big congrats to the team Sorted, giving Madeira its second win in the last four years. Maybe here next year.
Meanwhile, the Bermuda Blast also continues with regular visitor Bree taking an early lead with 1,000 points from two blue marlin releases.
They are ahead on time with two boats, Flyer and Legacy both equal on points. This is a wide-open competition with 42 boats all looking to score points.
At the halfway point, a total of 20 blue marlin and four white marlin had been caught and released. But, as every angler knows, a lot can happen in just a fishing day.
Through the week, the Bermuda Fly Fishing Invitational Tournament had been having fun tossing feathers at tuna weighing anything up to 70 or 80 pounds.
Not to surprisingly, there were a lot of busted lines as fly fishing is challenging at best and a hefty yellowfin can do a number on just about any tackle.
And not only were the yellowfin pleasing in the chum slick, there were plenty of false albacore (mackerel), jacks, rainbow runner and blackfin tuna to round out the action.
With the fishing so good, there were winners like John Smith of Grand Island, New York who won the Bacardi Cup and the Perinchief Bowl for his 64-pound yellowfin on a 20-lb tippet. This narrowly beat out Esteban Neely, from Dallas, who has a 62-pounder and Peter Pearman who managed to boat a 50 pounder.
The James Hyde Pearman Light Tackle Tippet award went to Esteban Neely for a rainbow runner on 12-lb tippet and he also won the Keith Winter trophy for largest blackfin on a fly.
Rounding out the awards was Dave Porter, also of Dallas, who won the Temple Fork Lefty Kreh Memorial plaque as well as being voted the Robert Hines Sportsmanship Trophy winner.
By all accounts, this was a most successful event with fair skies, calm seas and co-operative fish providing the participants with some of the finest light tackle angling to be had anywhere.
It was the likes of this sort of action that originally put Bermuda on the map, long before the billfish grabbed the limelight.
Coming still closer to home, it’s hats off to Bermuda Anglers Club who are definitely going the extra mile to encourage Bermuda’s youth to get into angling.
The organisation is offering two cash prizes for junior anglers (under 16 years old): one for July and one for August. The details are on the Bermuda Anglers website at www.bermudaanglersclub.com but basically have juniors post pictures of their fishing or catches.
There is also a reminder that the BAC will be holding their Junior Angling Tournament on August 18 and an opportunity to sign up in advance.
There is plenty of fishing for everyone to be had in the upcoming weeks.
Billfish aficionados will have the Bermuda Big Game Classic to look forward to next weekend; traditional anglers should have an ample supply of yellowfin tuna and wahoo on the Banks, while over the reefs and in the channel areas there should be lots of smaller game and food fish including the ever-popular white water snappers which should be just about at peak this month.
Heavy tackle, light tackle, rod and reel or handline, just make sure you take advantage of this fine summer to get some Tight Lines!!!