Better safe than sorry

It is easy to assume the
postponement of this month’s fishing tournaments peeves local anglers.

As it turns out their reaction, on
the whole, is the opposite. Most of the fishermen seem fine with the change.

Last week it was announced the
third annual Cayman Swordfish Challenge and the eighth annual Rooster Shootout
would be rescheduled for next month.

The Swordfish event (slated for
last weekend) now takes place April 9-10 while the Shootout (slated for this
weekend) now happens April 16-18.

Rough seas and strong winds the
first few weekends were a common problem for the two events.

The result is anglers will not get
a chance to chase big game for five weeks. The last major event was the second
annual Barcadere Classic last month.

Nevertheless most fishermen, like
Dean Walton of the Bare Assets crew, say it was the right call to postpone the
events.

“They did the right thing,” Walton
said. “They looked after the safety of the anglers. Everyone understands and
hopefully everyone can still take their vacation time next month and
participate.

“When you look at the weather
reports 10-15 feet is decent for big boats but it’s so rough for the smaller
ones that it is not safe. As far as the fishing goes you could only fish the
north side of the island because the winds would be so strong from one
direction.

“Basically the anglers would have
been limited to East End and George
Town. It would have been too rough to fish offshore in
places like pickle bank. And it would have been to rough for 12 mile bank and
South Sound (which is normally where the dolphin come in).”

On the other hand anglers like North
Sider Justin Ebanks are eager to hit Cayman’s waters again.

 “I’ve been ready to go; weather has never
stopped me from fishing. We (Douglas Ebanks and myself of the Blue Moon crew)
fished in worse weather. But I understand and I see where they’re taking more
caution. Last year was worse because the weather limited the boats.”

Walton’s crew has made sizeable
catches of all the three major game fish in Cayman recently. Their latest claim
to fame was nabbing the heaviest dolphin in the Barcadere Classic. Angler
Lincoln Hurlstone nabbed a 26.8lb fish in South Sound.

The crew’s boat captain, Walton says
all of the action in the span of a month should be exciting.

“If everything went ahead now as
planned I think the organizers would not have had the turnout they wanted and a
lot of people would not have entered their boats because they want to make sure
they can fish all three days.

“Remember the Rooster and the
International are the two biggest money tournaments in terms of prizes. The
Brac jackpot is a very popular one too. Ideally it’s good to space them out so
guys can relax and space their vacation time.

“But all of that action in one
month should be good. All I know is the Dolphin will be pound to pieces because
that’s when they come in strong. It’ll be interesting to say the least.”

Ebanks and his Blue Moon crew
meanwhile are traditionally fearsome fishermen. In the last twelve months the
crew have reeled in over a dozen fish. Their last big catch was a 44.13lb Wahoo
last November in the Fishing for Community Service angling tournament.

As Ebanks states, next month’s
action could be a financial swoon for anglers.

“It’ll be tiring for some and
extensive for others. It’ll be the first time I’ve ever heard about where
fishing will take place every weekend.

“All I know is the guys will have
to work hard to catch fish and recoup their money. With registration about $500
for each tournament that could equal $2,000 in registration fees alone. The
expenses don’t stop there because you have to include bait, fuel and other
things for each tournament.

“This year I have a secret weapon
in store. Let’s just say I’ll be giving a stimulus package to the dolphins.”

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