Late season success brings much needed joy
There is an oasis in the desert of disappointment that 2020 has been for local anglers.
Most amazing, is that bit of succor came in the dying days of the season, but the weather was fine, the breezes light, the seas moderate and the fish cooperative.
A combination never that common at the best of times, but certainly most welcome at this juncture.
Add to those circumstances the fact that not one but two tournaments took place and it was nothing short of astonishing.
The more popular tournament was simply dubbed the Wahoo Tournament and was simply a competition to see who could catch the biggest wahoo.
With most anglers thinking that they were capable of this feat, numbers of boats went out to seek their fortune and 21 came to the weigh-in at Robinson’s Marina.
There were 42 wahoo brought to the scales with a very nice representation of the sizes that are currently available in good numbers offshore.
Those weighed in ranged from a low of 17.8 pounds all the way up to the overall tournament winner, a fine 66.2 pounder caught by Mark James aboard his Blue Moon.
Overall, it was a very nice class of wahoo with the average better than 40 pounds. There were 14 fish over 50 pounds with two weighing in excess of 60 pounds.
The biggest fish on tackle 30 pound test or less was a 55.6 pounder caught on 12 pound test by Luiz Cruz aboard Captain Andrew Dias’ Triple Play.
The biggest fish on the heavier classes of tackle was the 62.1 pound wahoo caught by Jordan Clarke who was fishing on board Out of Bounds.
The High Point Amateur boat was Captain Kentwoin Jones’ Rum Pirate with 132.6 points from three eligible fish and the High Point Professional boat was Captain Andrew Dias’ Triple Play with 224.9 points from five fish.
Fished concurrently with the Wahoo Tournament was the Bermuda Fishing Clubs Annual Tournament (BFCAT) which finally got off the ground after multiple postponements due to Covid-19 and the weather.
This inter-club tournament is unique in that the clubs compete based on line test.
The total number of fish caught by each club on a given line class (the tournament uses the recognised I.G.F.A. line classes from 8 to 30 pounds) are added together and become that club’s score on that particular line test.
Each of the three fishing clubs is allowed three teams of up to four anglers each.
By combining the two tournaments, all the wahoo were eligible for entry in both competitions while other species could be used to accrue points for the anglers representing their clubs.
The big winner was Blue Waters Anglers Club which won the 8 pound, 12 pound and 16 pound test classes. Sea Horse Anglers Club won the 20 pound test category while Bermuda Anglers Club took the award for the 30 pound test class.
The overall winner and winner of the BFCACT Shield was Blue Waters Anglers with a total of 1,753.78 points scored from all the line classes.
The High Point Fish was a 39.1 pound amberjack caught by Bradley Butterfield, fishing for Blue Waters, on 16 pound test. This also earned him the High Point Angler award.
The High Point Boat award went to Captain Sinclair Lambe’s Mega Bucks with a total of 953.79 points for Blue Waters Anglers Club.
The tournaments saw a wide variety of species brought to the dock.
Wahoo were dominant as might be expected at this time of the year but there were also blackfin tuna, amberjack, barracuda, dolphin and jack species.
Definitely out of the ordinary was a seven-foot-long sailfish caught by Ben Lines when fishing to the northeast of the Island aboard Captain Brian Line’s Out of Bounds.
Sailfish are a bit of a rarity in local waters, generally preferring more coastal areas along continental shelves.
When encountered here, they seem to run with wahoo because they are usually caught either early in the year or towards the end of the season, both times when wahoo are plentiful.
Although none figured at the weigh-in, there are still yellowfin tuna on the offshore grounds. Recognised as a tropical tuna species, they often remain locally through the winter months.
Most anglers associate fishing for yellowfin with chumming but they often take trolled offerings and are just about as likely to take a live bait as any other predator.
Robins seem to be the preferred live bait at the moment but there are small blackfin tuna around that make a fine live bait.
These can be caught by trolling a daisy chain of small feathers or lures – the tiny little plastic squids or octopuses – both work fine.
Perhaps the key to successful angling at this late stage is taking advantage of any opportunities that the weather permits.
The fish will continue to please for a few more weeks but the number of fishable days for most amateurs is likely to start dwindling away rapidly as cold fronts start to sweep through, bringing wintry gales and unsettled conditions.
Neither of these is very conducive to a wet, bumpy day on the briny but the odd fine day is perfect for prospecting for Tight Lines.
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