Fishermen set to get hooked tonight

The buzz around local fishing is set to start up again this evening.

With talk of tournaments past and upcoming there should be plenty for local fishermen to get hooked on.

Oasis in Grand Pavilion sees registration for the annual Billfish release tournament from 7pm to 8:30pm tonight.

The impending tournament is the fifth major competition on the local fishing scene this year.

Cayman’s pristine blue waters are slated to be busy with boaters in search of big fish this weekend.

In particular anglers will be trying to catch all species of billfish whether white or blue marlin, swordfish, spearfish or sailfish.

All the fishing action takes place from the morning hours to late afternoon on Saturday and Sunday.

The tournament entry fee for all anglers and boat crews is CI$200.

While signing up for the tournament anglers are in for a special treat as they get to see themselves up on a big screen.

The 2009 Cayman Islands International Fishing Tournament (which took place in April) was filmed this year by Reel Adventures out of Florida.

The local angling club intends to display scenes from the Reel Adventures show that was aired on Fox Sports Net Florida last weekend.

Cayman Islands Angling Club President Franklin Thompson says the arrival of the billfish tournament comes at a time when marlin is in great supply in Cayman.

‘August is a good month for marlin. There is normally an abundance of them in Cayman in the 100-200lb range. I’m anticipating a minimum of 25 boats for this tournament.’

Thompson went on to say the tournament is an opportunity for local anglers to show their concern for the environment.

‘Through this tournament the angling club shows its support for conservationism. None of the fish will be boated and will all be released.’

Unlike other tournaments the fish caught will not be kept. Instead the fish will be photographed with the crew at the side of the boat released promptly back into the water.

The process behind recording a catch is a bit involved. Each boat will have a set of numbers between zero and nine. When a hooked fish is identified as a type of billfish the boat captain will contact tournament control to obtain a release number.

The team must then take a photo of the billfish at boat-side with the fish and the release number. The assigned numbers are chosen randomly by tournament control.

Each team releasing a billfish must also complete a release form and turn the form and associated pictures into tournament control at The Barcadere Marina between 4:30pm and 5:30pm on each of the fishing days.

Members of the public can get a good idea of what was caught by coming out to the Marina when the catches are submitted.

Once the tournament wraps up a prize-giving ceremony takes place next Monday at Oasis.

Anglers have plenty incentive to reel in a big catch. The first place prize is $2000, second place gives a Penn International 50lb Rod and Reel Combo and the third prize is a Carey Chen art piece.

Substantial prizes will also be on offer for lady and junior anglers with an optional jackpot also in effect.

News of the tournament comes two months after the last major event. The Brac Jackpot took place this May and featured fishing action mostly in Cayman Brac (though anglers were welcome to fish in Grand Cayman waters).

Robin Walton, who was on the boat ‘Reel Tight’, walked away the biggest winner with US$5000 for nabbing a 54.6lb Wahoo that was both the heaviest fish and the heaviest Wahoo caught.

Another big winner included Jackie Ebanks and the ‘Can Do’ crew. Ebanks won the Lawford Tatum memorial trophy and US$1500 for the heaviest Dolphin. His catch weighed in at 36lbs.

Meanwhile Chrishen Freeland, on the ‘Reel Nouty’ boat, won US$1000 for catching a 38lb Dolphin in Grand Cayman.

The event drew some 13 sponsors in Big Daddy’s, Cayman Brac Power and Light, CICO, CNB, CUC, Dan Scott, Home Gas, Kirk Freeport, Kirk Marine, Paramount Carpets, Scott’s Landing, Scott’s Industries, and West Star TV Ltd.

It also coincided with the unofficial opening of the Alexander hotel on Cayman Brac.

In addition to the Brac event and the international fishing tournament the other big competitions for Cayman fishing were the Rooster Shootout in March and the Barcadere Classic fishing tournament in late February.

After the Billfish release event this month, the next big happening in local fishing is the Junior and Ladies tournament. That event is tentatively scheduled for September.

At this point it looks like the last major fishing tournament of the year.

For more information on local fishing log on to www.fishcayman.com or e-mail the angling club at [email protected].

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