Wahoo tournament certainly worth the wait
Finally! They say that all good things come to those who wait but this year’s Royal Gazette Wahoo Tournament kept a lot of people waiting for a very long time – five weeks to be precise.
Everything came right in the end, though. Sunday was a calm, sunny day and pretty much ideal for a fishing tournament.
The morning started off with a bit of a running groundswell that gradually flattened out as the seas calmed down during the course of the day.
Conditions were such that the boats participating, ranging from small craft up to boats in excess of fifty feet, were able to sample all the fishing grounds around the Island, from the Edge to the Banks, both Challenger and Argus.
Probably best of all for a fishing tournament, the fish were in a cooperative mood. There were plenty of potential live baits, robins and “frigate” mackerel for those who wanted to try this popular technique and traditional trolling would also pay off.
The quality of the wahoo was also excellent with very few of the smaller fish that often dominate the autumnal run of wahoo.
Those fish are thought to be the “young of the year” or fish about one year old. Their average weight is usually somewhere between ten and twenty pounds. The average weight of the fish weighed in this year was over 33 pounds.
The 12-pound test category was won by veteran angler and operator Delvin Bean, fishing from Paradise One, with a 40-pound fsih (1,111 points).
Also fishing from Paradise One, Mark Outerbridge boated a 41-pounder to win the 16-pound test class with 656.6 points. He would also have won the 20-pound class but for the tournament rules with a 47-pound wahoo.
This award went to a 46-pounder caught by fellow angler aboard the prolific Paradise One, Cooper Simpson who had a 46-pound wahoo (529 points).
Fishing aboard Captain Darryl Steynor’s Sorceress, angler Andrew Barnes came good in the 30-pound test class with a fine 53-pound wahoo worth 312.1 points.
The Heaviest Wahoo Overall award was won with a prime wahoo specimen that tipped the scales at 63 pounds.
The angler was Andrew Rossiter who managed this feat on 12-lb test line, scoring a massive 2,756.3 points!
This contributed significantly to the total of 6218.8 points that made Captain Niel Jones’ Balancing Act the High Point Boat in the tournament.
All told, there was a fine display of wahoo at the weigh-in that saw a small crowd watch the proceedings. After a long wait, a very successful tournament was had and that event rounds out the season’s major tournaments with just a few “in-house” competition to be had.
Evidence that the wahoo is the most likely species to encounter offshore was fairly obvious in that there was very little variety in the catches brought in by the boats.
One boat had a small dolphin and another boasted a large white marlin that had been part of a double strike.
Whoever the angler was, there is no doubt that any white marlin in excess of 50 pounds caught on 20-pound test would have given a notable aerial performance before being subdued. A noteworthy catch for sure.
Many of the anglers weighing in commented on the number of fish that they had lost.
Most put this down to the fact that they were using light line.
While 12-pound test is quite light, it is actually a lot stronger than people think.
Certainly, by the time 20-pound test comes into play, with the exception of blue marlin, it is probably strong enough to catch almost anything that is regularly encountered in local waters.
Thirty-pound test has been used to catch blue marlin here. Granted, such feats were back in the day when light tackle angling was king.
Even charter boats carried the lighter classes of tackle and often introduced tourists to the gentle art of catching things like yellowfin tuna on light line. A look into the annals will show many anglers making catches that would be considered extraordinary by most of today’s anglers.
It is the focus on using heavier tackle classes for everyday fishing that has reduced the light tackle abilities of the average angler.
This tournament’s results probably support that theory and it would be nice if there was at least a partial return to the old ways and the more frequent use of the lighter classes of tackle to enhance the sport.
Anyone wanting to get in on some last-ditch late season action should head offshore now.
The wahoo are biting and this probably won’t last much longer as cooler weather is predicted.
Commercial boats have been catching a dozen or more a day and although results vary widely, the quality of he fish mean that even just one or two will assuredly provide enough fresh fish to stock a freezer with a supply that will last through to spring.
In addition to the valuable stash of quality food, there are the pleasures that anglers get from Tight Lines!!!
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