Spring is generally a happy time for anglers as all the major fishing tournaments are on offer.
April is no exception as one of angling’s biggest annual events makes its storied return this month.
The Cayman Islands International Fishing Tournament takes place Thursday April 29 until Sunday May 2. Anglers are slated to hit the waters around Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac.
The beautiful Bimini start (where all of the competing boats set sail out of the George Town harbour) launches the action on Thursday morning.
Registration is on Monday April 26 in Cayman Brac at the Alexander hotel and on Tuesday April 27 at the Grand Caymanian resort.
On the water, anglers troll Cayman’s banks for big fish from 6am until 4:30pm. Onlookers can flood the dock at the Barcadere Marina from 4:30pm to 6:30pm to catch a glimpse of the day’s fish.
Anglers, whether they are novice or experienced tournament fishermen, are split into two groups according to the size of their boats. One section caters to large boats that are over 26 feet in length, while the other category features boats 26 feet and under.
An extra area of interest this year is with the presence of an international fishing celebrity. One of the tournament judges is going to be George Poveromo.
George is an editor with Saltwater Sportsman magazine and is the host of George Poveromo’s World of Saltwater Fishing, which airs on ESPN2. George and his team are slated to produce a show to air on ESPN2 on fishing in the Cayman Islands.
Filming for the show is expected to take place the week after the International Tournament.
Poveromo is not the only visitor to bring a film crew for the tournament. At last year’s event the action was 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.
Such an international presence consistently helps the tournament stand out as the premiere event for local anglers. Then again the spectacular catches also help lend mass appeal.
The three particular species fishermen look to nab are Yellowfin Tuna, Dolphin and Wahoo. Last year the heaviest fish caught was a tuna weighing in at 74 pounds and two ounces in the 26 feet and over boat category. Angler Teddy Gadroury and the crew of the Prowla made the record catch.
The same boat category also produced the second biggest catch: a 65 pound Yellowfin Tuna. That was caught by Harriet Ebanks and the Run Tings III crew.
It also doesn’t hurt that just about every catch can reel in a fat pay-check. Blue Marlin is the most prized fish in the tournament and this year there is a $10,000 prize for the angler releasing the most Blue Marlins. A cash prize has also been added for the lady angler releasing the most Blue Marlins.
In total over US$100,000 is on offer this year. The biggest prize is $50,000 for the angler that breaks the Cayman Islands record for Blue Marlin, which stands at 584lbs.
Three other notable prizes are $10,000 for the angler that breaks the Cayman record for Wahoo (146.2lbs), Yellowfin Tuna (189.4lbs) or Dolphin (58.6lbs). There is also $5,000 on offer for the angler who catches the heaviest Wahoo, Dolphin and Yellowfin Tuna and a Rolex watch for the boat captain who releases the most Blue Marlin.
A winner-take-all jackpot will also be up for grabs and this year’s pot is expected to exceed $20,000. Last year’s jackpot was $14,500.