A quick guide to fishing in Bermuda
Although perhaps best known for its billfish and wahoo, Bermuda is home to all kinds of sportfish, including yellowfin and blackfin tuna, bonita, the surface-dwelling dolphinfish (sometimes called Mahi Mahi), barracuda, snapper, rainbow runner and amberjack, like the huge one caught in the Canaries, which I posted about a couple of weeks ago.
Many of Bermuda’s charter skippers like to troll with downriggers or chum but there is plenty of opportunity for bottom fishing or working a live bait down deep. The fish can be big: 70-pound wahoo, amberjack and yellowfin are not uncommon, while marlin regularly tip the 150 pound mark.
Marlin in Bermuda
Among game fishermen, Bermuda is revered for its blue marlin – one of the largest bony fish on the planet. Alongside their cousin, the white marlin, Bermuda’s blue marlin attract visitors from all over the world. Billfish tournaments take place regularly throughout the season and, although 150 pounds is not particularly large for the species, the fish tend to arrive here in large numbers. Each year much bigger marlin of 500 pounds or more are caught and sometimes you’ll here of a “grand” (a fish of 1000 pounds). The biggest blue marlin recorded in Bermuda was boated by Captain Allen DeSilva in 1995, weighing in at a monstrous 1,352 pounds. Fish of 2000 pounds plus have been reported in fish markets, but fish like that would be difficult to land on rod and line, not least because of the trend in that part of the world to fish with lighter line.
Wahoo can be caught in Bermuda all-year-round but, as it is a migratory species, some times of year are much more productive than others. The fish reach as far north as George’s Bank in the summer and winter in the warmer waters of the Bahamas and Caribbean to the south, passing Bermuda in both directions. For islanders and fishermen, this means there are two main wahoo seasons – one in the spring and another in the autumn. If you speak to the skippers, many seem to prefer the autumn, where single schools of wahoo can number in excess of one thousand fish. Not a great time of year to be a baitfish!