Evans steals the show on Triple Play
With much of the northern Atlantic whipped into turmoil by Irma and Jose, the seas in the immediate vicinity of Bermuda responded by carrying a heavy groundswell, but with conditions that were eminently fishable last weekend. Things have since intensified as the sustained oceanic flow from storm surges continue to influence local waters.
As predicted, last Sundayís Royal Gazette Wahoo Tournament fleet spread far and wide, and many techniques were applied with varying degrees of success. Some concentrated on catching robins to use as live baits and while there were no numbers of frigate mackerel offshore, there were some juvenile blackfin tuna that also make excellent live baits. Still, others stuck to traditional trolling and this too got results.
When all was said and done, a total of 35 eligible wahoo had been brought to the weigh station. In addition, there were a few that had been mangled either by sharks or, in one instance, the prime suspect was another wahoo. People forget that most fish species are cannibalistic and have no problem with eating one of their relatives. Although not usually a common occurrence, such occasions are not rare by any means.
The IGFA angling rules prohibit the entry of any fish for tournaments or records if it has been deprived of its natural ability to fight. Having had its tail lopped off or receiving serious injury is deemed sufficient to disqualify these fish from tournament entry.
Of the intact fish weighed in, it was the quality that was most noticeable. Ten fish exceeded the 40lb mark with 16 weighing between 20 and 40 pounds. For some reason, there were only two fish in the 30 to 40-pound range, suggesting that an age cohort was missing from the fishing area. Another factor contributing to the quality of the event was the number of fish entered on the lightest recognised line class, the 12lb test class. Fifteen of the 35 fish entered were caught on this challenging line class and while many anglers attributed the loss of strikes to the use of light line, the success of others was a tribute to the light tackle history that Bermuda long promoted.
This included the stunning performance turned in by Kyla Evans, who caught eight nice fish on 12lb test line while fishing from Captain Andrew Diasís Triple Play. The largest of these was a 62lb specimen that earned her the award for the Overall Heaviest Wahoo. Her fish ranged from 16.2 pounds through the winner with several in the 40 to 60-pound bracket. Were it not for the rule that limits participants to a single prize, then she would also have won the 12lb test line class, but this went to Roddy Nesbittís 46.9lb entry.
Not surprisingly, with the factor system favouring the use of light line, the capture of eight nice specimens on that line class amassed 10,031.78 points and secured Triple Play the High Point Boat honours.
The winning fish caught on 16lb test line was Tyler Melloís 40.7-pounder, while the 20lb test class was won by Kyle Melloís 55.4lb wahoo. Both catches were made aboard Kevin Melloís Tantrum.
Larry Martinís Ocean Mile was the last, but not least, to weigh in with Taylor Bant winning the 30lb test line award with a 27.9lb wahoo.
The prize presentation will be held at Spanish Point Boat Club on Monday from 7pm. Participants and significant others are all invited.
Just because the main competitive season is over does not mean that the angling comes to an abrupt ending. Although there will still be some deep swells out there, there should still be enough fish around to reward those sailors who can tolerate a bit of rolling and pitching.
Although the frigate mackerel arenít common out on the open sea yet, the numbers that have been seen inshore mean that they will eventually show upon Bermudaís Edge. When they do, the wahoo are likely to go into a feeding frenzy as will any tuna that happen through the area. In the meantime, there seem to be concentrations of wahoo on Argus Bank, the southeastern side of Challenger and down north. While they may do a bit of moving around the overall bait picture suggests that they wonít move too far from any areas where there is abundant bait.
In keeping with the ocean gyre theory, the heavy weather to our south will probably bring in some flotsam and it will be worth keeping an eye out for such things for two reasons. One, for safety; you would not want to hit some of these things and; two, the possibility that they have attracted dolphin or other fish. While there have been a few dolphinfish caught lately, they are known for numbers of them hanging around floating objects. Although they donít attain any sort of monstrous size, they are exceedingly game and well worthy of some Tight Lines!