Samara’s hot in and out of the water

In the world of local fishing the
woman on everyone’s lips may be Julia Hurlstone. But based on past showings the
lady to watch might just be Samara Persaud.

Hurlstone rose to prominence
recently in the island’s biggest fishing competition, the 2010 Cayman Islands
International Fishing Tournament. The rookie angler won $US10, 000 in prize
money for her 74.7lb Yellowfin Tuna she caught in Pickle Bank aboard Black
Magic on the first day of the event. Persaud had a quiet tournament in terms of
winnings as she nabbed US$1,000 for having the second heaviest fish as a female
angler. She won the prize, sponsored by West Indies Brokers and Nautico Boat
Services, for a 61.8lb tuna caught in 110 mile Bank aboard Strike Force.

Persaud, 24, earned most of her
props in last month’s Rooster Shootout and the Barcadere Classic in February.
Persaud had the biggest fish in the Rooster event with an 85.06lb Yellowfin
Tuna she caught aboard Waste’n Time (good enough for a rookie angler and lady angler
award sponsored by Paramount Carpet and Kirk Supermarket respectively). In the
Barcadere competition she caught a 56.4lb tuna aboard the same boat (good
enough for the lady angler prize). For her catches she officially walked away
with $4,000 (sponsored by Cayman Imports at the Rooster event).

Though she didn’t say how much, the
Toronto native states she made a little extra selling to local diners.

“The most amount of money I have
made personally was the $4,000 for the fish that won the Rooster tournament,”
Persaud said. ”As a team we make more because we usually sell the fish and
combine prize winnings and fish sales to get a larger lump sum. We usually sell
the fish to a local restaurant. Calypso Grill seems to get a majority of the
fish we catch. Shame I haven’t been there for a dinner yet. As for this past
international tournament, we ate the 61lb Tuna I caught.”

One of the friendly faces who works
as a waitress for Doghouse sports bar, Persaud has a link to fishing that goes
beyond her connection to the sport on these shores.

“I was born and raised in Toronto,
Canada and I have one sister who is in university at home,” Persaud said. “My
mom was born in Germany, of French and German ancestry. My father was born in
Guyana. I have been in Cayman for one year as on May 14. I moved to the island
because I love the sea and its a quick flight home. I have been fishing since I
was a little kid. I can remember tagging along with my dad fishing off the dock
of my cottage as a child. I used to fish with neighbours at home. I grew up on
a river attached to a lake and used to canoe and catch Bass, Pike, Perch,
Trout; all fresh water fish native to Ontario.”

With model looks and an athletic
physique Persaud could easily pursue other sports in her spare time. However
the camaraderie and relaxation of fishing is what reels her in.

“I fish because I just love it as a
past time,” Persaud said. “Fishing is always fun even if you don’t catch one
(unless it’s horrible weather then it can be scary out at sea). But generally, it’s
always good laughs and fun on the boat with great company. At the moment
between work and fishing I don’t have much time in my schedule to fit in other

Persaud has really caught on in the
sport. Aside from making big catches at the fishing tournaments, she has become
familiar with most of the fishing spots and equipment used in Cayman. For her
most of that knowledge comes from a local crew featuring the likes of Mark Soto
(who has a link to local sports like rugby) and Chris Briggs.

“I first started fishing here off
the dock of the house I was renting in the Canal. I tried to catch Tarpon but
didn’t have much luck but I must have caught about 100 grunts. Then I started
to fish around island on Strike Force, owned by Chris Briggs. I normally fish
with my Team Waste’n Time which includes Jason Brown, Rob Jones, Mark Soto, and
Vaughn Smith. Rob has been very kind and educating. He always invites me along
and takes me fishing wherever he goes. I definitely wouldn’t be able to do as
well as I do in the tournaments without his expertise and guidance. I’m
definitely thankful to have him as a friend and captain. I trust him and
wouldn’t want to go out to sea without him.

“I am happy fishing anywhere though
I have good luck fishing offshore in deep sea, 60 mile and Pickle Bank
especially. Those are the places where I have caught my biggest fish. My
favourite place in the world I have fished is in the Sea of Cortez. There is
such a abundant supply of fish. It seems every time you put your bait in the
water you have a bite.

“We use a variety of rods. A
variety of bait from ballyhoo, squid, lures and sometimes we catch fish and use
them as bait. We chop the fish up into chum or put big hooks through a medium
size fish and use that to catch a big fish. At the end of the day I wouldn’t be
able to do it without my friends’ they have taught me so much. I wouldn’t be
able to get 80 miles offshore without their boats, engines and expertise. I’m
lucky my rod may have hooked a few big ones but I owe my thanks to the boat
captain and my team. They taught me and helped me well and have made such an
impact on me.”