Look for Cayman’s waters to be especially busy next weekend.
Whether or not choppy waves stir up the seas an armada of boats and fishing crews will set sail.
That is because the 2009 Cayman Islands International Fishing Tournament gets under way.
The biggest competition on the local angling scene, the tournament takes place for a week from next Tuesday to April 28.
The Barcadere Marina will see fishing take place over four days from Thursday to Sunday as crews go in search of the big catch.
In fact crews from all over will be taking part. There are slated to be boats from across Grand Cayman competing while the Sister Islands launch into action around Cayman Brac.
In addition boats from Jamaica and the Key West are slated to compete.
Cayman Islands Angling Club Chairperson Heather Bodden states there is a definite buzz around the competition.
‘I join in the excitement with all the others. This year we have a proper marina facility and that’s where my excitement is.
‘It’s like a fish fever the guys get because it’s something they look forward to every year.’
An extra source of excitement will be the available prize money as an optional cash jackpot is anticipated to exceed US$25,000 and be up for grabs for one lucky team.
A kick-off party and registration for the tournament is set for April 21 from 6pm. The Barcadere Marina will see the band Wild Knights perform and the boat captains and anglers briefed on the rules.
At the same time over in Cayman Brac things get under way with a similar party at Captain’s Table. That is slated to run from 6pm until 9pm.
Anglers are reminded that the boat registration fee is US$500/CI$400 for up to four anglers.
From there the fishing gets going on Thursday April 23. The Bimini start at roughly 7:30am signals the start of the tournament as all the boats launch into the high seas from the George Town harbour.
As Bodden states the Bimini start is one of the highlights.
‘It’s a great spectacle. All the boats parade through the harbour behind a lead boat that shoots off a flare to send the others on their way. The best part is people can get a good look of it all by the George Town waterfront.’
From there fishing continues through to Sunday April 26 from 6am to 4:30pm. Everyday once the fishing hours are over all of that day’s catch are weighed at the weigh stations until about 6:30pm.
In Grand Cayman the weigh station will be at the Barcadere Marina while Carib Sands Dock will serve that purpose in Cayman Brac.
One of the unique things about all of the action is its coverage. Angling enthusiasts can tune their radio dials on to VHF Channel 28 in Grand Cayman or Channel 10 in Cayman Brac for the latest results.
This year’s tournament is also being filmed by Reel Adventures Fishing Show and is set to be aired on Fox Sport Net Florida, Comcast Sports South and The Lone Star Channel.
In Bodden’s eyes the presence of the film crew in particular is a boon to the tournament.
‘The visiting crew is helping to put Cayman on the map more and it allows people overseas to see us in another light.’
The tournament comes on the heels of the first annual Barcadere Classic in late February which saw 19 boats and 55 anglers.
The crew aboard the ‘Blue Moon’, including angler Justin Ebanks and Captain Douglas Ebanks, caught the biggest dolphin which weighed at 25lbs.
The heaviest Yellowfin Tuna weighed 88.7lbs and was caught by Charles Ebanks aboard the boat ‘Run Things’.
Bill Edwards reeled in the heaviest Wahoo, which weighed in at 55.2lbs, aboard the boat ‘Still Chasin’ with Captain Gary Rutty at the helm.
For more information on the tournament, visit www.fishcayman.com.