Prizes put on ice for time being

Competitive angling might not be on
for a few weeks but tournament organizers hope the public stays interested.

Due mostly to extremely choppy seas
and strong winds two fishing competitions have been postponed until next month.

The third annual Cayman Swordfish
Challenge, slated to happen last weekend, is now set to happen April 9-10 (with
registration on April 8 at Kirk Marine).

The eighth annual Rooster Shootout,
slated for this weekend, now launches off April 16-18 (with registration on
April 15 at Guy Harvey’s).

For the record last weekend’s
weather forecast, according to the government website, was 15-20 knot winds to
the south-east with moderate-rough seas with wave heights of three to six feet.
Swells were expected on Saturday.

With both events being postponed
the result is four tournaments take place in April. After the Swordfish
Challenge and Rooster Shootout come the Brac Jackpot (slated for April 24-25)
and the Cayman islands International Fishing Tournament (April 30).

As Swordfish Challenge organizer
King Flowers states, the postponements are all in the name of safety.

“Our tournament is very different
from the others in that we fish at night,” Flowers said. “We’re more aware of
the bad weather and more sensitive to it. It’s more dangerous coming through
the channel at night and we have to be responsible and safe.

“The first time we postponed was because
of weather and the bad weather last weekend didn’t help. Also none of the
visitors (US fishing experts slated to give a talk about fish patterns on
registration night) we planned to bring down could make it.”

Operations Manager of Hurley’s Entertainment
(which owns Rooster 101FM) JB Webb
concurred with Flowers. As Webb states the Rooster Shootout is eager to put
safety first.

“The Shootout has been rescheduled
due to impending weather,” Webb said. “We thank everyone involved for their
understanding in the need to change the dates for this year’s tournament. 

“Safety and the enjoyment of the
anglers has always been an important factor in the Shootout.” 

The Shootout sees teams compete for
over US$25,000 in cash and prizes including a Tudor watch valued at over
$2,000. Prizes are awarded in three different fish categories in Yellowfintuna,
Dolphin, and Wahoo.

CI$19,000 in cash prizes are on
offer in the Swordfish Challenge. The heaviest catch (combining the weight of a
maximum of two caught fish) nabs a cool $5,000. Only the Broad bill swordfish
(not to be confused with blue marlin) is an eligible species for the competition.

Flowers, an avid fisherman himself
who has caught some big swordfish in his day, said the swordfish are an
especially interesting catch.

“We’re confident by next month
swordfish will still be here. A big reason why we go at night is because that
is when the fish comes to the surface. Granted I’ve heard of people doing deep
trough fishing in the day and catching big fish (Miami has been doing it for about a year).

“We focus on the night-time because
it’s the more traditional way of swordfish hunting. In any case I urge the
public to stay interested in the tournament and look out for updates. It will
be a nice event.”