Time to get the boats back in shape as the fishing season returns – The Royal Gazette

Created: April 30, 2022 07:51

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Happy to see you again! You’ve survived another winter!

Now is the time to get the boat back in shape and dust off the hoist you’ve been meaning to tweak since September but still haven’t had time to adjust.

Many will think that hopefully that should be enough for another season; but again, doubt will persist, especially when the big hookup comes around.

Maybe we should take a quick tour. If the lien is in good condition, perhaps a good cleaning and a little lubrication will suffice. If he’s had any issues, now’s probably a good time to call in the services of a professional.

As is so often the case, there has been a lack of effort over the past few winter months. It really does seem like once October is over, the sport fishing effort drops to almost zero.

Probably the biggest factor is the unreliable weather, which makes planning offshore trips almost impossible.

This is especially true for weekenders who really only have one day a week to work and even that comes up against competing demands.

Yet there are a few persevering trade operators and a very few very hardy souls who take their days by heading out to the brackish just to see what, if anything, is out there.

This year has actually been quite rewarding with a good number of pleasant wahoos and a rather surprising upturn in yellowfin tuna. Understandably, the weather made it unlikely that such a run would be successfully exploited but, all things considered, a decent amount of rather fine tuna specimens made their way to local markets.

As expected now, there were a few encounters with bluefin tuna passing through the area. Considering the huge amount of bait a shoal of this species needs to keep it anywhere for any length of time, it’s pretty obvious that the giant tunas are on their way to somewhere else.

There is evidence to suggest that they perform transatlantic migrations through this general area and this would explain why they make periodic appearances here.

The depth of the water around here and the fact that most out of season fishing boats carry small game gear means that most bluefin tuna catches end up being lost, although the limited amount of longline here and the occasional fisherman have had results.

Live baiting was the way to go it seems as most off-season catches, at least the most notable ones, seem to come from this method of fishing.

Now that spring has arrived, one might be inclined to think that the best technique for producing fish might be traditional trolling with rigged bait mixed with a handful of artificial lures and combinations of the two.

Whether it will actually pay off remains to be seen, although proven methods never stop working.

Then there’s the well-established adage of “matching the hatch”. Originally coined in connection with the selection of flies in freshwater streams, the principle remains the same: whatever fish is feeding, that should make the best bait.

Recent reports have confirmed the presence of large numbers of yellowfin and wahoo along the drop offs.

Although to be expected given the season, there have also been a few encounters with blue marlin, suggesting that things are already kicking into high gear with the influx of summer species.

Besides top predators, smaller species like false albacore (mackerel) and skipjack (oceanic bonito) also arrive in large numbers in the summer and are considered bait species. This, despite the fact that they are recognized game fish species.

This weekend is the first inter-club competition of the 2022 fishing season. The annual Bermuda Fishing Club Tournament is unlike any other tournament in that it is not only limited to light tackle, but the winners are determined by the number of points accumulated in each line test by the different teams.

Due to the use of light tackle, trolling becomes a less viable option and it is more likely that most tournament teams will choose to set up an oil spill and focus on catching tuna .

A side benefit of this technique is that it will often attract sea robins who make “primo” live bait, allowing for the introduction of a second, or even third, if you count kite fishing, method. Tournament organizers expect a wide variety of species to be weighed in.

With its first full tournament schedule since 2019; Bermuda Game Fishing Association sanctioned events will provide competitive fishing opportunities over the next six months.

And while it’s not particularly appealing, remember that just getting a line wet is the real key to Tight Lines!!!