Updated: June 04, 2022 07:56
The winning Blue Waters Anglers Club team aboard the Sea Wolfe. Leon Stines, left, Daren Mayeaux, Rodney Caines, Troy Baisden (Photograph provided)
Well, the picnic is done. It’s time to go fishing. When it comes to fish, summer is high offshore and even coastal and reef species are making their presence felt as evidenced by recent efforts.
The BFCAT tournament was a resounding success, with all three local clubs achieving varying degrees of success and a supply of fish ready to take on the various rigs offered to them. Teams had trolled, baited and even live-baited and the results indicated that all of these techniques paid off.
As this was a light tackle tournament, the various teams all tried to compete on each of the recognized line classes. This makes this event unique among all local tournaments and highlights team efforts rather than individual catches.
The 8 lb test class was won by the Sea Horse Anglers Club, who also won the 16 lb and 20 lb test classes. The Bermuda Anglers Club won the 30lb test class, but the real honors went to the Blue Waters Anglers Club with an excellent performance that earned them the 12lb test class and the overall award, the BFCAT Shield, this which makes them this year’s winners.
The individual awards went to Sea Horse entrant Mark Mitchell, whose 3,332.38 points made him the tournament High Point Angler, and Rodney Caines of Blue Waters won the tournament High Point Fish, a handsome yellowfin tuna of 53.4 lbs caught on a 12 lb test line.
The High Point Boat award was presented to Captain Russell Young’s sea bass with a total of 6,655.82 points, the vast majority of which came from fish caught on the 12lb test line by Blue Waters anglers.
The darts of the various boats were dominated by yellowfin tuna which ranged from around 20 pounds up to and over 50 pounds; ideal specimens for light tackle fishing. There were also a significant number of wahoo brought to the weigh-in as the early season race continued. These fish varied in weight, with the largest also weighing over 50 pounds.
While the wahoo has gained significant press over the past few weeks, it was the collective wisdom of some of the veteran skippers that the water offshore was now so warm it discouraged their activity and the best of the action had already been seen.
Any doubts about the heat of the water can be immediately dispelled by doing a bit of trolling for billfish. Earlier this week Captain Alan Card Challenger went 2 for 2 on the white marlin with every fish released and they missed a blue marlin who also took a rig. Earlier, the same boat had gone 0 for 3 on the blues. With a focus on catch and release, there will be plenty of marlin action to enjoy.
Other marlin encounters include one by a BFCAT fishing boat that dragged a light line through the deep waters only for a small blue marlin to scoff at the proceedings, heading off to the depths untethered.
The message is clear: try a billfish and there will be a hit. With the number of tunas plentiful around the island, it really doesn’t take too much imagination to visualize the number of white and blue marlin taking full advantage of such a supply of tasty morsels.
It can be hard to imagine what bite a big fish can handle. A rough estimate places this at around 10% of the predator’s weight. So a 600lb blue should have no problem swallowing a 60lb yellowfin tuna and maybe even coming back for more! In context, even a 60-pound white marlin would have no problem with a six-pound black fin while having to be wary of a large blue, which certainly wouldn’t limit its diet to tuna. To say that the deep ocean is a world where “the dog eats the dog” is not an understatement offshore.
Anyone who notices such things would have seen that the first foreign big game fishing fleet has started to arrive and it won’t be long before a large fleet of these state of the art fishing craft are plying the local waters. This will almost certainly result in a massive increase in swordfishing effort and, with the most productive part of the season yet to come, a great year is in store.
Those who stay closer to the edge will find a good supply of yellowfin tuna, which will respond to both live bait and more traditional fishing methods. As suggested, the wahoo will calm down, but there are always a few who are ready to please the trollers and some who will make it their specialty to hide around the chum lines defying the anglers to get them to take a baited hook. No easy task.
The coast also comes alive with snappers, mackerel and other species all ready to please. For the most part these are ignored by anglers who focus on blue water game species or those who spend their time bouncing baited hooks along the bottom hoping for hinds, bonitas and conies . At least the expected fair terms make both pursuits realistic options.
With that in mind. the next major tournament is scheduled for this weekend. The BWAC Open Tournament is the successor to what was once the Bacardi Tournament and is open to the general public. Copies of the rules and entry forms are available at several locations. Late registrations will be accepted, but must be submitted either to the C-Mart on North Shore or to the club headquarters on East Broadway. This event is very angler friendly and there are plenty of opportunities to come out on top. All it takes is to sign up and then be the recipient of a few tight lines!!!