Cayman Brac Jackpot Fishing Tournament, which coincided with a visit to the Cayman Islands by some of the New York Giants football team, provided two team members with a very different game of catch from the sport they’re used to.
However, having celebrities take part didn’t change the pace or the atmosphere of this annual event – as much a reunion with friends and family as a fishing competition for many of the participants.
Giants Running Back Brandon Jacobs went out in Topless, captained by Larry Cayasso, and Wide Receiver Amani Toomer went out in Can Do, Captained by Jeff MacDowell.
‘We just caught a few small tunas and a Barracuda, but Amani had a great time and just enjoyed the day out,’ said MacDowell.
Thirty-five boats (16 in Grand Cayman and 19 on the Brac) registered for the three-day tournament, held 18 to 20 May. Altogether, competitors caught 18 Dolphin, 23 Wahoo and 28 Yellowfin Tuna.
There were no winners for a catch and release of a Blue Marlin over 300lbs, worth US$3,000, and the additional US$3,000 prize for the Blue Marlin that breaks the 442lbs Cayman Brac record remained safe for another year.
However, as Grand Prize winner of the Heaviest Eligible Fish caught in the Sister Islands, Ferris Ebanks won US$4,000, and Grand Slam winner Thom Guyton went home with US$1,000 in prize money.
There were less prestigious prizes given at the awards dinner at the Captain’s Table Restaurant on Sunday evening: Steve Scott won the ‘Hard Luck Prize’, Stephen Ryan had the ‘Largest No Fish Catch’, and Annie Rose Scott was given a special prize for ‘Fish Preservation’.
Nonetheless, for many competitors, the thrill of the sport was matched by the camaraderie of the evenings at the Captain’s Table recounting the day’s events.
‘A lot of Brackers who live in Grand Cayman come back for this,’ said Tim Grizzel. ‘The competition is good but it’s really about getting back to the Brac and reuniting with family and friends and old school buddies we don’t normally see. The fishing was a bit slow for us, but that’s not the point. The main thing is to have fun.’
His brother and fishing buddy, Donovan Grizzel, added, ‘It’s just great to get away for the weekend. I’m having a wonderful time! I’m home!’
Sister Islands MLA Moses Kirkconnell said, ‘The Jackpot was made very special this year by our celebrity competitors, but this is always a major event in the Brac calendar.’
He added, ‘Every year this annual competition highlights the potential of this island as a sport fishing tourism destination. Although the event brings many Brackers home, everyone is welcomed like family on the Brac.’
Heaviest Eligible Fish – Sister Islands: Ferris Ebanks in Nut Wuckin (66lbs Yellow Fin Tuna)
Heaviest Grand Slam: Thom Guyton in More Time (122.6lbs)
Heaviest Wahoo: Dan Scott in Off Shore Fun (45.4lbs)
2nd Heaviest Wahoo: Jeremy Loercher in Beach Nut (40.8lbs)
Heaviest Dolphin: Emmett Wilkinson in More Time (36lbs)
2nd Heaviest Dolphin: Robert Hurlstone JR in Tortuga Rum Runner (28.3lbs)
Heaviest Yellowfin Tuna: Adrian Ebanks in Outcast (68lbs)
2nd Heaviest Yellowfin Tuna: Katrina Ebanks in Outcast (66.5lbs)
Heaviest Non-Eligible Fish: Timmy Grizzel
Lady Angler with Heaviest Fish: Katrina Ebanks in Outcast
Junior Angler: Jacob McTaggart in Nut Wuckin