Green water keeping the true pelagics at bay
Boy, did Bermuda dodge a bullet. Any number of dire predictions and vivid memories of the likes of Hurricane Emily, Fay and Gonzalo had people rushing around like bulls in a china shop, laying in emergency supplies.
Thankfully, the storm did not live up to its potential and was quickly forgotten as it made its way into the wastes of the northern Atlantic.
Now many will find themselves on the horns of a dilemma in deciding whether to leave the boat overboard for a few more weeks, or to get it up and stick it in the yard for the duration. Not one to put my mouth on it, so to speak, but hopefully we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, even though the official end of the hurricane season isn’t until November 30.
Ever wondered how many idioms can be packed into a single paragraph? This is not bad for starters.
In any event, the approach of Karl and its immediate aftermath meant that there was virtually no fishing last weekend. As conditions improved earlier into the week, many commercial operators returned to service their lobster traps as a priority.
Offshore conditions returned to near normal on the Banks even though the water on Bermuda’s Edge remained what was termed “green” water by both fishermen and anglers alike.
This name is given to a certain type of discolouration in the water, which can be caused by a number of things including suspended sediment after heavy weather. Seasonal movement of volumes of water on and off the Platform can also contribute to this effect.
Biological activity may also be a factor, but what is important to fishermen is the apparent truth that the “blue water” species — the true pelagics — tend to avoid areas where the water has been affected. Although not a steadfast rule, fewer fish are caught in “green” water than in the deep blue briny that has come to be associated with “deep sea” fishing.
Trolling on the Banks has produced some wahoo, as might be expected, and the local blackfin tuna population has also decided to please anglers and fishermen. All too often thought of as a species reserved for the chummers, blackfin will certainly take most trolled baits, and they won’t turn their noses up at most any artificials.
Something worth trying are those ubiquitous cedar plugs that hide in just about everybody’s tackle box. These often prove deadly on marauding tuna and present conditions may just be the best time to drag them out. Some of the smaller sizes can be added on to daisy chains where they will not only catch bait-sized tuna, or mackerel, but will also attract larger fish.
Those wishing to chum might want to try the deeper reef areas. There are still numbers of yellowtail snapper to be had, although a good tide seems almost a requirement for this species. If they show up though, good numbers are pretty much assured. As a diversion, dropping a line to the bottom should get some barbers, coneys and maybe even the odd hind or two.
Although the bait scene has been sporadic this year, there are some positive indicators. For a while, at least, there were flying fish in fairly good numbers on the offshore grounds, before having moved on in recent weeks.
Where they go is anybody’s guess; maybe enough got eaten by predators to force the schools to move on in search of safety, or maybe it was the ocean currents pushing them in one direction away from the island.
While the frigate mackerel or juvenile little tunny never showed up, there are numbers of tiny blackfin tuna on the Banks and Bermuda’s Edge.
Thought by some to be a superior bait to the frigate, these work at least as well and last well. Trolling a daisy chain should result in catching a few, and then redeploying them as live baits will entice any wahoo or, unfortunately, hungry barracuda in the area.
The inshore situation has also changed for the better. There are some large schools of hog-mouth or white fry in and around the Great Sound and, quite possibly, at other locations. This species, thought to be native to Bermuda and this part of the Western Atlantic Ocean, is aptly named.
Just examine a single specimen; a magnifying glass helps, and pull down on the lower jaw. The mouth opening is huge. This is probably an adaptation to allow better feeding on plankton, which is the food for this species.
A larger mouth allows more water in and the greater the volume of water filtered by the gills, the more plankton will be captured. This is especially important considering the relatively sparse amount of plankton in local waters.
Looking ahead, this weekend promises to be favourable for angling activity even though it might well be the last for a while. The season is well and truly autumnal and October usually sees the shift from the summer weather pattern to the winter one with successive gales.
With time fairly obviously running short, do not squander this opportunity for some Tight Lines!
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