Fa La Me takes Bermuda Triple Crown prize
With the end of the month now firmly in sight, it will soon be time to bid farewell to the foreign sport fishing fleet that has endured a torrid month of some of the best billfishing the planet has to offer. With it there will be a return to the more sedate, not to mention more affordable forms of angling that dominate the local scene during the rest of the year.
The Bermuda Triple Crown, awarded to the highest aggregate scores compiled in the Bermuda Blast, Big Game Classic and Sea Horse events, was won by Capt. Rob Moore’s Fa La Me. This team had an absolutely epic final tournament adding another 3,600 points to their two tournament tally to top out at 6,500 points.
In second place was local boat Capt. Brian Hines’ Legasea with 4,100 points ahead of Galatea (3,500 points) and, in fourth, Reel Lax, the winner of the Bermuda Blast.
The final leg, the Sea Horse Anglers Club Billfish tournament, saw extremely tight competition until the final day when Team Fa La Me, a 92-foot Viking yacht, just about went wild and racked up some amazing points into an insurmountable lead. At tournament’s end they had caught and released three white marlin and six blue marlin, winning first place overall in both the tournament category and for total release points.
Marc Verzaleno was high point junior angler as well as overall high point angler with 1,770 points. On Day Two while fishing aboard Capt. Jason Parker’s Reel Steel he caught a 570lb blue marlin that would go on to win the Largest Overall Blue Marlin Jackpot and Three Day Daily Largest Blue Marlin Jackpot while the team secured second place overall in the tournament.
The billfish haul was in keeping with that of the previous tournaments with a total of 49 marlin being caught and all but one being released. Just ten of the fish were white marlin, down from the percentages in the other two tournaments and there were none of the sailfish or spearfish caught.
Although not billfish, by any matter of means, two very notable catches were a 163lb yellowfin tuna caught by Carter Smith on Game Changer and a 48.8lb wahoo caught by Team Que Mas. Each won an award in the Other Game Fish category. These were incidental to the billfishing but showed how pelagic species can be found just about anywhere at any time and that sometimes deviating from the norm of trolling along the drop-offs can bring rewards.
This is especially true at the moment because the trolling is exceptionally slow with few wahoo being caught with any degree of regularity. What fish there are tend to be on the small side and are thought to be of the young-of-the-year variety, weighing between 10 and 20 pounds.
Chumming is still managing to attract a variety of species including the sought after yellowfin tuna. Less numerous than expected at this time of the year, the heat of the day is often seen as a discouragement to their coming up near the surface when the sun is at its peak. Trying to get a chum slick started early in the morning or late on in the afternoon may be the key to luring these desirable fish into the chumline.
Warm water is seen as ideal for the blackfin tuna and there are usually enough of theses around to justify putting in some effort for this species. Not only do they put up a great battle on light tackle but they tend to survive well if released. In fact, blackfin that have been tagged or are otherwise marked before being released have often shown up in chum lines just days later all ready to “play” again.
Some big blackfin are to be had from the shallower areas or “crowns” on the Banks. This is also home to some truly magnificent specimens of yellowtail snapper but; unfortunately, there are a lot of sharks that live up there as well and they are not usually in any mood to share the bounty of their kingdom. Expect them to extract some pretty heavy portions of anything hooked and not gotten into the boat quickly.
Looking ahead, the Bermuda v US Marlin Release Challenge tournament which held its captain’s meeting last night, is looking likely to be postponed as a result of the poor conditions forecast for this weekend.
Rather than interfering with any plans already made for next week’s holiday period, the event will be moved to Sunday, 13th August if it is postponed. If this is the case, late entries may be made by contacting the organisers on telephone 734-7696 or 334-8657.
This leaves one to get the feeling that there won’t be all that much fishing this weekend; partly due to the less than salubrious weather forecast and partly due to the necessity of making sure that the boat is suitably ready for the holiday weekend and general Cup Match madness. Most of those fun and games are not particularly compatible with Tight Lines!
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