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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Bermuda: new jigging paradise?

Is probably too early to say but the first clues have been quite impressive. We have just spent 5 days of fishing in the waters of this beautiful island and every single one of us has returned home excited and happy with the result. It was an exploratory trip, but the bases on which it was put together were strong. Bermuda holds 3 or 4 IGFA world records for both kind of Amberjack (Dumerili and Rivoliana). The biggest Greater Amberjack ever caught around the world comes from here, and if you put in the mix the abundance of Yellowfin Tunas, Groupers, Wahoo and many other different species, the landscape looks pretty bright.

Let me spend a word about the island itself first. It simply is a beautiful place. Neat, tidy, coloured, warm, peaceful, not polluted, green, blue... Again, a small and remarkably amazing paradise. People are nice too. Our captain, Peter Rahn, his wife Leslie and the boat's mate Steve are wonderful people, as well as many other inhabitants that we met and spent some time with. Lodging and dining is not the cheapest around, yet with the current value of the Euro compared to the Dollar is still doable.

Talking about the Captain and his fleet I have nothing but good words. Peter worked hard on something that is quite new for him. Jigging is a technique that requires a specific knowledge and thanks to his vast experience on the local reefs, he managed to constantly put the boat in the best spots. Theres many banks and reefs around the island, and not all of them are prooductive, yet he seemed to always know where to put the boat, and even if sometimes the tides were playing big time against us, when the fish turned on again, we were on top of them.

The first day we fished with the boat that we booked, a 41' Custom Express. But once returned from our fishing we noticed a super jigging boats moored near the Overproof. It was a 36' lobster boat, just arrived from Maine, and o boy, that was perfect. From day 2 we fished every day on the Son Rae, 5 guys in a row jigging elbow to elbow, or not even that because there was room to spare, without a tangle or a problem. The Son Rae is just the perfect jigging machine and we took full advantage of it.

One of the highlights, unexpected to be true, has been the variety of species we caught on jigs. I don't know if ti was 20 or more but every day we would catch 4 or 5 new critters. The mix of the subtropical water with the warm current of the Gulf creates a perfect environment, where fish from more moderate latitudes meet with other more typical of the tropics.

The amount of fish we caught has been quite impressive, I still wonder if Peter was expecting this result or if he was a bit skeptical. Millions of small Almaco Jack where ambushing the reefs. Even during the deadly tides you would manage one of them to bite the irons and I'm pretty sure that, because of the abundance of those smaller critters, we found it more difficult to hook serious contenders.
The big fish didn't participate too actively to the party. We hooked few of them but for a series of reason we only landed one, a 40lb Almaco jack. Thus, they are there, I don't have a single doubt about it, and for this reason I want to come back in May, when the summer starts and the migratory species are more likely to show up. Peter told me that the Yellowfin Tuna stay deep on the drop-offs, and that he can see them in the sounder. Quite a good change for a target fishing like ours: can't wait to get rid of the winter.

Bermuda was also a great lab for my photographic experiments and I have learnt few more things. The most important is that I don't have to clean the sensor myself, and the second that I need to buy a GOOD tripod.

You can see more images here

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