So another season ends – but for those who crave winter breams – The Royal Gazette

Created: Nov 05, 2022 08:09 AM

The often disparaged bream can make for a sizeable white fillet (File photograph)

Well, that is it; for sportfishing — another year gone. Back in the day, the Trade Development Board, a forerunner to the Department of Tourism, used to tout that the sportfishing season ran from May through November, but locals are keenly aware that by mid-October it is pretty much all over. There may be the odd in-house club tournament left on the agenda, but that would be it. One club actually tried to promote an off-season tournament and eventually gave up owing to the near total lack of entries.

If stowing away the fishing gear is in the plans, there are a few precautions worth taking. To really do it all right, the reels should be removed from the rods; No matter how well they have been washed after an outing, there will always be some residual salt in crevices that escape detection. These are often in the threads that hold the reel in place on the rod’s reel seat.

Those who are really proactive will also realise that now is probably the best time to take the reel in for service and to replace the line if that is indeed the intention. Waiting for April or May will mean that repair shops are inundated; Some parts will be scarce or unavailable, as might certain classes or make of line. With months to work with and time to order anything needed, a lot of aggravation can be avoided.

The rods themselves should be given a good washing-down and checks made for loose guides or doggy rollers. If some of the rollers don’t spin of their own accord, now is the time to dissemble them and replace the sleeve — usually Teflon — or otherwise clear them so they can spin freely. Leaving this task to the spring is an invitation for them to become well jammed and a more difficult task. Most locals have a habit of spraying the whole rod with WD-40, and while this is no bad thing on its own, sticking the rod in a nice dark place will attract cockroaches. For some reason, roaches like whatever it is in that spray. Another downside to using that spray, which is actually a water dispersant rather than a full lubricant, is that it can go sticky after a while. Fiberglass or carbon fiber rods do not benefit from such materials and they may affect the windings that hold the guides in place. The best way to store the rods is to use some oil-based lubricant on the actual rollers and just make sure that the entire thing is salt-free and properly dried.

Of course, there are a few who will not be putting away their gear for the winter. These are the intrepid minority who persist in fishing throughout the year. Truth to tell, if they are limited to weekends, they don’t get too many in because of the weather. Throw in a few holiday periods and there simply will not be that many occasions to venture offshore between now and April.

The wahoo are available all year long and it is often larger fish that dominate the winter months. Numbers usually leave something to be desired but one or two good-sized fish can make for a successful outing. Blackfin tuna are residents here but really prefer the warmer times of the year. Yellowfin tuna are a bit hit and miss as to whether or not there will be any numbers around during the winter months.

Occasionals such as the mighty bluefin tuna, swordfish, albacore and white marlin are all possibilities, although it is highly unlikely that anyone is going to put in any directed effort at them. They have all occurred here but without any real regularity during the off-season.

Reef fishing will produce bottom fish fairly steadily throughout the winter with coneys, barbers and hinds being the mainstays. As the winter progresses, porgies become active and offer a viable alternative to the “fillet” species already mentioned.

The inshore fishing, although often accessible, as it is less likely to be affected by blustery weather, does not offer anything like the quality that can be had during the summer. Barracuda, bonefish and snapper will all have departed for more consistent climes in deeper water. Palometa will still flit thought the waters off the South Shore but they will tend to be smaller and less willing to please, although it is possible to catch some most days. Harbors and bays seem to fill up with pinfish and silver porgies (aka bream). No one’s idea of ​​a gamefish, the latter species is a winter spawner and comes inshore to do it. Thus, they are readily available and usually will take almost any baited hook. Despite holdings that disparage them as a food fish, they will yield up a nice, white fillet. Beware of small bones, however, and, as for the pinfish, don’t even try to fillet them. Pinfish are so full of sharp bones that they well earn their name.

While not exciting, on very light tackle a large bream will put up a spirited fight and at least be somewhat reminiscent of summertime Tight Lines!!!

• Tight Lines is off for its seasonal break and returns in April 2023