Tight Lines

Wahoo tournament postponed due to ‘marine mayhem’

  • Team Balancing Act weigh in at the annual Wahoo Tournament (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Decision made! It won’t be this weekend, that’s for sure. The RG Wahoo Tournament that is.

A firm decision taken by the organisers in a most timely manner. Not that there will be too many who will be complaining.

The amount of marine mayhem that took place this past week and the amount of effort that boat owners put into securing vessels is enormous and no one is about to undo it all for the sake of a single days’ fishing when the entire securing process might have to be repeated immediately thereafter as Jerry approaches.

Such tournament decisions are not taken lightly. It is always agonising for organisers to decide whether to postpone a tournament or not. Although it may appear simple, there are many factors to be considered.

Hurricanes and tropical storms aside, not least of these is the size of the boats involved. Naturally, there are some large craft, many of which are professionally crewed and able to fish in fairly heavy weather; then, at the other end of the spectrum, are small boats with amateurs who are new to boat handling and the offshore world entirely.

Obviously, the main purpose of the exercise is to provide an entertainment and pleasurable experience for the participants with bouncing around in inclement conditions a situation not relished by many.

Then there is the matter of the official forecast.

The issuance of a small craft warning pretty much forces organisers to put off any event scheduled for that time frame.

Although it appears that the meaning of the term is pretty obvious, what most people don’t realise is that the term “small craft” is not defined. In other words, it suggests that if a craft goes out and then gets into trouble, then it is considered a small craft, even if it might be thought to be quite a large boat by local standards.

Although precious few were able to take advantage of it, the fishing has been pretty good with the wahoo playing the starring role with major support from yellowfin tuna.

Fairly obviously the arrival of the frigate mackerel, we will have to stick to using that moniker, had a lot to do with it and will probably continue to do so, if the mighty Atlantic ever decides to calm down for a while.

There were good numbers of wahoo and although the majority were the expected school-sized fish, a smattering of larger fish suggests that some of the migrating schools of older fish are also passing through the local area.

With such bait available, they may well hang around for a while. After all, it is not like a freezing cold front is going to drive them down south just yet. The widely accepted view is that the fish feed really well before the onset of heavy weather and then immediately after it settles down a bit.

That might work out on the Banks and the open sea, but a quick glance at the South Shore and even a landlubber can see that the water all the way out to Bermuda’s Edge is milky and full of suspended sand and silt.

And while the seas may calm down and the swells ease, it does take quite a few days for the sea to settle down and start clearing as the sediment sinks back to the bottom and any self-respecting wahoo or tuna is not going to want to venture into that cloudy mass.

Reef dwellers are not all that happy about it either and the bottom fishing can be expected to be pretty much a waste of time for the next few days and maybe even longer, depending on events.

Not surprisingly, the commercial fleet were pretty much concerned with ensuring that their lobster gear was somewhere safe, although, with the sort of conditions experienced here this week, there probably was not anywhere on land or sea that could be considered totally safe.

Their next step will be to go out and to try and locate said gear and that might prove to be more difficult than one might think.

This will be made all the more difficult with the looming onset of the next tropical system.

Each such system sends out swells and currents that can go for hundreds of miles and often travel well in advance of the actual storm event.

It is fair to say that it will be more than the sea that has to settle down after the traumatic events of the last week.

As an island, Bermuda comes out of such adversities with flying colours and a strong shared resilience to restore normalcy in every way possible as quickly as possible.

But as laudable and noble as that is, it does come at a cost to both the individual and to the population. And, in this particular case, a loss of Tight Lines!!!