For most Caymanians these days it’s
a blessing to make $10,000 in five months. Angler Charles Ebanks reeled in almost
that much in one weekend.
Ebanks was a big winner at the
recent two-day Cayman Swordfish Challenge. He had the second biggest swordfish
catch of 142.13lbs. Shelley Ware, who was competing on Ebanks’ boat Run Tings,
had the third biggest catch of 139.3lbs.
In all Ebanks’ boat brought in
about 281 pounds of swordfish and the result was a healthy payday. Ebanks
nabbed CI$5000 for the heaviest total weight of fish caught and CI$2000 for the
heaviest total fish on day one of the tournament.
Adding to that take was the CI$2,810
he made through selling both fish to local restaurants. In all, Ebanks walked
away with roughly CI$9,810.
Ebanks spoke about the financial
windfall he received through fishing.
“I’m very happy with the tournament
on the whole,” Ebanks said. “Chefs called me right after I hooked the fish and
asked me to save them one. I ended up selling one to the Ritz Carlton and the
other to the Brasserie at $10 per pound.
“Apparently the people love them
and it makes for good eating. I usually sell my catches to the restaurants;
places like Regazzi, Luca and the Wharf.
“I’ve been fishing for them for
quite awhile now and I’ve caught 10 so far. I couldn’t afford to mount any of
them but if I get one 300lbs then I’ll mount it.”
Ware did not win any prize money
officially however Ebanks said he shared his winnings with her.
“It wasn’t a concern that she
didn’t win any money.” Ebanks said. “We always split up our take and she gets
her share. I guess that’s where the sportsmanship comes in.
“As for the money well some went
into the bank, like everyone else some went to pay expenses and a little bit
was put aside for the next tournament. Whatever I make goes right back into fishing.”
Tournament organizer Clarence
“King” Flowers acknowledged that Ebanks did quite well for himself.
“Charles caught the most fish and
he did really well,” Flowers said. “I wouldn’t say he won the tournament outright
but he did well catching those two big ones.”
Ebanks is no stranger to big
catches. In October 2007 he set the initial island record for swordfish with a
189lb catch on an 80lb test reel.
Every big catch has a story behind
and for Ebanks it was no different.
“The first one Shelly caught a few
minutes to 6pm and the second one I caught by minutes to 7pm,” Ebanks said. “By
8pm both were in my boat on the way to the weigh-in.
“An 80lb test was used for them and
I was just off South Sound. They put up a good fight. Once they grabbed that
bait you know when you have them.
“Shelly fought hers for 35 minutes
while I fought mine for 25 minutes. The first one hooked at 600 feet of water.
At first it came to the boat before going down 300 feet, circling the boat
couple times. Eventually the fish got tired and from what I saw it gave up.
“The second one was caught in the
same spot in about 600 feet of water within 10 minutes of the first catch. Eventually
I got that one on the boat.”