Ebanks hooks props

Charles Ebanks has long been one of
Cayman’s best anglers and fishing minds. Last Wednesday he proved his eye for
big fish is as sharp as ever.

The West Bayer was alongside Eric
Rivers and Nicholas Jones when they nabbed a 173.4lbs yellowfin tuna. The fish
was 16lbs off the Cayman record of 189.4lbs set by Rick Recor in 1989. However
it set a new Cayman men’s 130lb test record for tuna catches. Last week’s tuna
dwarfed the previous mark of 74lbs set by Keith Strang in 1998.

Ebanks and the other men were
onboard a 26ft Panga boat called Liquor box. The crew were fishing off the
coast of West Bay when they hooked the fish roughly 11 miles north of Northwest
Point. Interestingly Ebanks was not fighting the fish this time as Jones served
as the angler of record. However he got a good view of the battle between Jones
and the tuna.

“The fish hooked our line at 2.30pm
and we boarded him at 3.15pm,” Ebanks said. “Nick fought it for about 45
minutes. Normally it takes 20-25 minutes to fight tunas so this was an
especially long fight. Pound for pound the tunas put up the best fights, better
than the marlins I’d say.”

From there the crew put the fish in
a bag of ice and travelled to the Grand Harbour dock (normally used for the
Rooster Shooutout tournament) for a weigh-in. As the tuna could potentially set
a record, a slew of Cayman Islands Angling Club members were at the dock
handling the weighing process. Adding to the occasion were the dozens of
curious onlookers gathered behind Doghouse that heard about the catch in
passing. In the crowd were past and present local politicians and fishing enthusiasts
Dalkeith Bothwell and Arden McLean. Local anglers like Curtis White were also

White stated he was impressed by
the catch and it encourages him to go out and fish.

“I haven’t seen tuna that size in a
long time,” White said. “It’s great to see big fish coming back out. I’ve
caught tuna around Cayman that big on different reels. My last big one was
105lbs in the middle of February and I pulled in 11 other fish same time. On
the whole I’ll say that I’m looking forward to fishing again. I might prepare
to fish in the Rotary and Lions event next month either with Adrian (Briggs) or
Charles (Ebanks).”

Interestingly it did not take long
for the crew to make money off the fish. King Flowers, representing the
Brasserie restaurant, quickly snatched up the tuna and reportedly paid CI$7 per
pound. That equates to roughly $230 cash pay out for each crew member. Flowers
did not comment on the purchase but certainly tuna will be on the menu for days
to come!

For Ebanks, 37, the catch and the
payouts are the latest in a successful year at sea. He won CI$9,800 for reeling
in swordfish at the 2010 Cayman Swordfish Challenge back in April and $1,000
back in February for nabbing the heaviest yellowfin tuna during the Barcadere

Ebanks, who was born in Honduras
and has been in Cayman some 28 years, states fishing with Rivers and Jones was
nothing new.

“This catch is very good,
especially for Nick. I’m very impressed with him. Mind you I’ve fished with
Eric and Nick a lot of times and I’m used to seeing them catch fish.”


Ebanks, right, with the record tuna.
Photo: Matthew Yates