Angling for Jackpot

This weekend sees the next big
local fishing tournament in the annual Brac Jackpot. All of the action gets
going on Cayman Brac from Friday 21 May.

Fishing days will stretch out to
Saturday 22 May and Sunday 23 May from 7am to 4:30pm. Onlookers can get a
glimpse of the day’s catches at the Carib Sands dock every evening 4:30pm-6pm.

A number of Brac anglers will have
a go at the tournament and pay the CI$300 registration fee (which applies for boats
with up to four people). One of them is Joshua Burke.

Burke, 29, is slated to use his
boat, called Nuff Badness, for the tournament. An air-traffic controller most
days, Burke is an avid angler who has recently entered into the arena of sport
fishing. The young man says he is eager to fish.

“I’m very excited about it, even
though it was postponed,” Burke said. “I have always loved the fishing scene. I
saw other people do it and I feel every little bit of competition helps. I’m
going out there for the fun of it and the competition. For me fishing is a time
for friends to come together to have fun, drink beer and talk. For the last
tournament I used another boat but this time around I’m using my boat and
taking my brother and nephew.”

Burke has held his own in the sport
quite well so far. Last month he had the third heaviest fish caught in the
Sister Islands during the 2010 Cayman Islands International Fishing Tournament.
He won US$500 (sponsored by Bayside Watersports) for a 27.6lb Dolphin aboard a
charter boat called Can Do. Like every other angler, Burke has a fishing story
of his own about how he made his big catch.

“It started off by us looking for
man-o-war and following them on the south coast,” Burke said. “They worked
their way west and we followed them. Once their activity changes (more times
than not they dive to the water) then we know the dolphins are at the surface.
When I hooked my fish I was using a yellow and green skirted Ballyhoo and an
80lb test reel.

“It was about a 15 minute fight with
the fish. It stuck to the surface which was good. Normally they go in the
opposite direction and try to jump out of the water to dislodge the hook in
their mouth.”

An interesting part about Burke’s
involvement in fishing is his wife Chevala Burke is an active supporter. The
Marketing and Promotions Manager for the Brac’s District Administration office,
Chevala was at the last fishing tournament with a camera taking photos for the
Cayman Islands Angling Club. Chevala spoke about her interest in fishing.

“I took all of the photos for the
Brac section of the recent international tournament,” Burke said. “I did it
really to build the image gallery of the Brac and show fishing still happens
here, especially as a lot of people don’t fish anymore.”

Though fishing for the Jackpot
tournament will be based primarily in Cayman Brac this year Grand Cayman will
see some action. Tournament registration took place Thursday at Sunset House as
anglers can fish in Grand Cayman. The Barcadere Marina will serve as the weigh-in
station 4:30-6pm this weekend.

The public can catch the action on
their VHF radios. For Cayman Brac it is channel 10 and on Grand Cayman it is
channel 28.

This weekend’s competition is the
fourth major event on the local angling schedule. Last month the Cayman
Swordfish Challenge, Rooster Shootout and the international tournament all took
place.

Interestingly the Brac Jackpot was
postponed from taking place due to bad weather. Tournament organizer Kenny Ryan
had previously said the waves would be too choppy for fishing. Ultimately
delays are a common theme among the major fishing tournaments this year. Last
month’s events were all postponed due to weather.

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