Bermuda takes time out after shellacking

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To paraphrase Henry Ford, “old adages are bunk”. While most have some basis in fact, all too often they become outdated, or at the very least, provide inaccurate representations of life in the real world.

In any case, there are those who will remember the old hurricane saying to “remember in September and then October, all over!”. Considering that the last few shellackings that Bermuda has taken have all been in October means that that observation is passé and should be consigned to the file marked “Old Wives’ Tales”.

Although weather and its patterns is a study that even the most enlightened admit is unreliable, there is one clear indication here. And that is the water around here is simply a lot warmer than it used to be this late into the season. Hurricanes need water of at least 82°F to provide them with the energy that they require. Usually, in the good old days, the water had started to cool down from the summer time high that would have been close to the mid-80s. That would discourage tropical development and seep energy from any already formed system that happened this way.

There is probably no one who has not remarked on just how hot it has been this past summer and how the warm period has endured well into September and beyond. Even the flowering trees like poincianas are good indicators.

In really hot summers there are spectacular floral displays on such trees and the last few years have been good examples. Whether or not this is a symptom of global warming is anyone’s guess especially as there will probably be record cold winters in just a few months’ time. Once again, this extra hot summer has been the prelude to a dose of tropical activity that we all could have done without. It is all part of the price of living in a tropical/subtropical paradise. The names may differ: hurricane (thank the indigenous Caribbean people for their word that meant ‘big wind”), typhoon (from the Chinese for “big wind”, or cyclone (which has a more modern technical origin), but they all mean a massive storm that does no one any good.

Prior to the onset of all this nasty business, while Matthew was hammering away at the Caribbean, Bahamas and Eastern Seaboard, the fish actually deigned to please.

There was a fairly good wahoo bite down on Argus with the average fish weighing something like 40 pounds.

Traditional trolling accounted for most of these fish with one commercial boat catching 12 or 14 in a single trip. By the time the word had got out, the weather had started to deteriorate and the commercial fleet had other interests to deal with.

The amateurs all thought the better of it and looked to stay home and consider the antics of Nicole as she meandered her way around to the south. By the early part of the week, boating was pretty much knocked out of everyone’s heads with securing vessels and property taking precedence over most other things.

As is patently obvious, there will be no angling this weekend and even if conditions do moderate somewhat, the commercial operators will be out searching for their lobster gear as a priority. It will be some time before things settle down enough for normal fishing to resume and by then any number of things could have changed and it will take a lot of reconnoitring to establish if there are any concentrations of fish and those locations.

A positive aspect of Mother Nature’s fury is that it does an incredible amount of mixing of the water and moves vast amounts of ocean around, all of which are supposed to contribute to productivity. Nutrients are transferred up from the deep and across areas that under normal conditions are barriers to mixing.

In time, thee nutrients become plant material which in turn is fed upon and the food chain is re-established. In the meantime, no one gets the fishes’ opinions of all this but one must suspect that they all retreat to deeper calmer waters to ride such events out. Where they wind up is anybody’s guess but it can account for some of the more unexplained movements of schools of fish.

In the complex bigger picture, it may be sequences of such events that help to explain shifts in migratory patterns, the arrival or non-arrival of certain species or occasional stragglers like the giant wahoo that turned up off Massachusetts. The timescale involved might be decades or even centuries. Science simply isn’t old enough to do the explaining for us.

It is probably fairly safe to say that the 2016 sport fishing season has come to an abrupt end. While there are always a few die-hards that will attempt to do a spot of winter fishing, these will constitute a tiny minority. Just about all anyone can do is to look forward to happier times and day that are inviting and conducive to Tight Lines!!!

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Published Oct 15, 2016 at 8:00 am (Updated Oct 15, 2016 at 12:39 am)

Bermuda takes time out after shellacking

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