I have a new mobile phone number. + (351) 91 7599 990.
To all my friends out there I say Hello. Its been too long for my reports to be on the air and I apologies for the delay.
The last year or so has been very eventful.
Most important for the fishing community is the news that the fish have returned to Madeira. I stuck my neck on the block earlier this year when I predicted that the fish would return in an official publication of the IGFA. Well it has happened. We are seeing a dramatic increase in the number of Big Blues seen and caught. To this date only one fish in the past two years has been killed. This was an accident because the Captain did not understand the principals involved with resuscitation of a spent fish. This actually highlights the importance of this very important procedure. TAKE NOTE secure a line to the nose of the fish and tow it astern at about 50 feet behind the boat slowly, until it revives. Simple as that. The experience will be so rewarding you will want to do it again immediately. My message is to support IGFA and the Billfish Foundation.
As for Madeira. I am at present 10 for 11. I use only one hook rigs and release everything with Billfish Foundation Tags. The one fish I missed was a beast.
The day before I caught two on the day and called the 600 and 650 lb. The one I missed made those two look like a pair of sailfish. It was a beast. Looking back at averages, this is quite correct, One fish out of 10 is over a grand. Same on the Reef back in Oz. One out of ten was over a grand. Averages are very consistent if you pay attention to the figures. The total number of Blue Marlin caught oh hooked this year for the fleet is…
From the IGFA news bulletin here is the direct transcript by Capt Peter Bristow.
NO FISH KILLED IN MADEIRA LAST YEAR.
For the first time on record there were no marlin killed in Madeira during the 2004 season. This is a significant mile stone in the history of Marlin fishing in the Atlantic. This occurred not because there were no fish but because the local Portuguese Captains have now realized the importance of preservation.
With so many fish during the good years made it acceptable to hang them up and then take them off to the market. It was the same in Cairns during the seventies. If it looked like a grand then put it in the boat. Attitude has changed world wide but some places slower than others.
Madeira has finally come out of the doldrums. The North Atlantic is once again back to a healthy state. When the fishery shut off in 1997 the collapse was so dramatic that it could not have been over fishing or fisheries mismanagement. The reason was simply El Nino or in this case La Nina. Cold sterile water with no form of life in it what so ever. The situation was so bad that even the sea birds were dying. The ocean was littered with dead gulls and shear waters. Dr Frank Zino of Madeira had satellite tracking tags on the Corey’s Shear Waters. He found they were traveling from nearby islands to Mauritania on the West coast of Africa in search of food. This happened during the incubation period so the food source was vital. The birds knew where to find food but it was up to 2000 miles away and a 21 day round trip. The North West coast of Africa suffered the same demise as Madeira. The sail fish and blue marlin once so prolific as far south as Dakar had all but disappeared. The Azores and the Canaries had the same problem.
But it has all changed and the fishery is back. It is to be hoped to see something on the scale of 1995 when the last round of great marlin fishing was at its peak. At that time Madeira was the best the world had ever seen for big Blues. However a word of warning.
Serious fisheries management needs to be addressed in this area.
Just for those who are not familiar with the release of a seemingly dead fish the following should be tried. Attach a rope or line to the bill and tow the fish very slowly some distance behind the boat. It may take up to half an hour to fully revive a big one but it WILL work. The reward is well worth the effort. Please do not release a seemingly dead fish as it has little chance of survival in that state and may well end up as shark fodder.
For further information see SPORTFISHING August 2004 for my detail description of resuscitation and survival of billfish.
Capt Peter Bristow.