Where has the year gone! This is the last weekend that features a summer holiday and many will be making a last-ditch attempt to head offshore, enjoy a boating picnic or simply soak up some sunshine before life returns to the humdrum world of work and school.
The relatively calm conditions have allowed fishermen plenty of opportunities to get offshore but with the heat a deterrent to amateurs and the opening of lobster season at the weekend a source of diversion for commercial fishermen, there has not been all that much effort put in.
There were reports of “green water” on Bermuda’s Southwest Edge and that sent most boats actually venturing out over to the Banks where conditions were mostly acceptable although the northern side of Challenger displayed some less than welcome discolouration. All in all, most boats found fish and enjoyed a modicum of success.
Mixed bags are typical at this time of the year with trolling the preferred technique. A few fishermen are putting in an effort to catch robins and then to go live baiting and, while this can be productive, the regular trolling is a proven means of getting wahoo, tuna and dolphin into the fish box.
Hauls have been pretty steady with boats managing a half-dozen or more wahoo each day. The average size isn’t huge; most fish weigh between 15 and 25 pounds but there are thoughts that there must be some larger wahoo out there, hence the focus on live baiting by some.
The predominant tuna is the yellowfin with the fish around 40 pounds or so. The dolphin are really quite small compared to the average elsewhere but even a ten-pounder is a nice addition to the fish box.
Inshore and offshore, many anglers are keeping an eye out for the arrival of the juvenile mackerel. If these show up the offshore scene can be expected to notch it up a few steps and make for some of the finest fishing to be had. So far, no sign but that can all change overnight.
Shore-bound fishermen should also not lose sight of the fact that this is the time of year when the inshore fishing is at its absolute best. What is probably lesser known is just how much sport fishing can be done right off pretty much any South Shore beach. Palometa, often referred to as “pompano”, off the beaches is a fun and productive pastime that can be combined with a swimming or sunbathing excursion to the beach. It is also a form of angling that can be easily adapted to suit young children; even if they have trouble casting, they can still hook a pompano and reel it in without too much trouble.
Using a flashy spoon or tube lure will catch a surprising number of barracuda off the very same beaches that are frequented by bathers. These will be in their shady green colour mode; unlike the black and silvery livery that they sport offshore the almost white broken up shading makes them nearly invisible over the sandy beach shallows.
And while it is pretty much “blind” fishing as opposed to the sight fishing usually employed for bonefish, working the bottom off the sandy beaches can and does produce bonefish. Maybe not the big ones that are the targets of those concentrating on working the flats and grassy areas but the fish that take pretty much any bottom-fished bait are the same species and capable of putting up a good account of themselves on a light spinning outfit. Just occasionally, the fish in question might be a really nice specimen of this once heavily sought-after species. So, no boat, no problem; just head to the beach with fishing tackle in tow.
Thus far the so-called “tropical season” has been quiet but this past week the North Atlantic seems to have come to life with the formation of tropical depressions, tropical storms and even a hurricane that pounded the Virgin Islands and now sets it sights on the US mainland.
The long-range forecast for the final major Bermuda tournament weekend looks pretty positive even though things can change and, with some rapidity, if a tropical system decides to come to life in the general vicinity of the Island. And, of course, there can always be the effects of other storm systems making themselves felt here even when they may be hundreds or even thousands of miles away.
In order to take part in The Royal Gazette Wahoo Tournament, a long-time swansong to the angling season, it is necessary to enter and these can be obtained at C-Mart, North Shore, or Marine Locker in Hamilton. This ever-popular event is slated for next Sunday and with the fishing having been as good as it has it will only take the weather to stay settled to give all the participants a decent shot at some award-winning Tight Lines!!!