Quality can trump quantity in May
The very merry month of May is upon us and there can be no doubt that fishing season is at hand. Why? Because all the old books and magazines, not to mention tourism brochures, said so, that’s why. And also because the family is going to want the boat ready for the forthcoming holiday long weekend festivities.
There will doubtless be many who can recall the excitement that came with the official start of the Bermuda angling season. Exciting it was; it featured a boat parade out of Hamilton Harbour, with charter boats and private craft decorated to the nines with fish flags and pennants as they all raced out to their preferred fishing grounds to take part in what was known as the Opening Day Tournament. The weather did not always co-operate but the tournament always went on as planned, simply because if it didn’t take place on the first Sunday in May, then it wasn’t the opening day, so to speak.
In later years, the name was changed to the Louis Mowbray Memorial Tournament but as fuel prices went up, participation dropped off steadily and, after a series of poor weather starts, the tournament was abandoned.
Not surprisingly, given the time of year, the opening event was largely a trolling tournament with many hoping to cash in on the spring wahoo run. As noted last week, there was some doubt as to whether this would come to pass this year and, if it did, would fishermen be able to take advantage of it? In short, the answers appear to be yes and yes as Captain Craigin Curtis’s Reel Addiction reaped a haul of something like 15 wahoo and a variety consisting of smaller species and dolphin earlier this week.
Although there were many who found the fishing to be a bit on the slow side, there are times when quality can trump quantity. Such was the case last Sunday when Captain Bobby Lambe’s Last Chance hooked into something larger than the expected wahoo that was being trolled for. After a rather lengthy battle, a 431-lb bluefin tuna was boated. It takes a lot of wahoo to weigh that much!
With every indication that things will pick up now, including the departure of the whales even though they have not got much to do with it and the warming of the offshore temperature, there should be increased wahoo activity that should please. It is likely that most of these will be school-sized although there will be some larger fish mixed in.
One of the tactics in the old days was to drag a mackerel line or daisy chain and even though the mackerel that were caught might not be frigate-sized, some might be small enough to be sued as live baits. The bait would be double hook rigged and then pulled up close to the transom and generally in the centre of the wake. Large wahoo would often come and crash these; ignoring the more traditional offerings that usually got the attention of the smaller wahoo.
What is often interpreted as a run is, in fact, the movement of fish northwards as the spring season progresses and summer beckons. There is little doubt that fish are influenced by temperature even though it may be indirect in that the temperature has a more direct effect on bait species and the fish, in turn, follow the bait’s progress.
For this reason, there are often mixed bags of fish. Because the game species sought after by anglers and fishermen tend to be predators, these species are often in pursuit of the same things.
Carrying a distinctive lure like a brightly coloured hot pink or orange in the spread may not garner much attention from wahoo but any white marlin running in the pack is likely to give it at least the once over. Similarly, natural baits fished long from an outrigger often draw strikes from tuna species. These methods are effective in the early season but often give way to more established practices as summer approaches.
Last week, elsewhere in the world, a team that was identified as Bermudian was participating in the Offshore World Championships held in Costa Rica. The team known as the 2003 OWC Champions consisted of Allen DeSilva, David Fingland, Danny Fox and Bobby Rego. Despite all their best efforts, the team finished 21st out of 51, a respectable result. In individual honours, Allen DeSilva managed to get the third place largest yellowfin tuna, a 29.2-pounder. Four of the top five teams, including the overall winners, were from Brazil with the fifth place team from Spain also providing the tournament’s high point angler. Various tournaments from all over the world, including some fished here in Bermuda are qualifying events for this international spectacle.
Just a quick reminder that there is an open session on light tackle at Blue Waters Anglers Club on Wednesday, at 7pm. Everyone is welcome and juniors are especially encouraged.
Beyond that all eyes should be on getting the boat shipshape and out on the water as it would be very disappointing to miss out on some spring Tight Lines!
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