Ebanks’ butterfish went down smooth

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Catching big fish is nothing new
for Charles Ebanks. Whether they are escolar or tunas Ebanks is normally the
man to reel them in and etch his name in the record books.

The long-time fisherman struck
again last Wednesday by nabbing the biggest escolar (commonly called snake
mackerel or butterfish) this year. In fact Ebanks’ 160 pound, 11 ounce catch is
a new International Game Fishing Association world record for the species. He
was aboard his boat Run Tings when the fish was reeled in with Emil Terry
serving as the lone crew member. The catch was made roughly a quarter of a mile
out of the South Sound channel.

A number of people came out to the
Grand Harbour dock to see the fish being weighed. Among those that braved the
frigid Christmas breezes were Cayman Islands Angling Club President Franklin
Thompson, local angler Mark Bothwell (who is related to Dalkeith Bothwell) and
local photographer Dennie Warren Jr.

Ebanks, who has family ties in West
Bay, East End, George Town and South Sound, went into detail about how the
catch was made.

“We went out from like 6.30pm and
hooked it at like 7.30pm,” Ebanks said. “Emil (who has fished with me for quite
some time) and I landed it on the boat at 7.45pm and made it to shore in South
Sound from there. I used a 50lb test and the fish put up a 15 minute fight. It
didn’t really fight until it got 15-20 feet close to the boat. I wish I had a
video camera to record it. He’d take off, run 50ft from the boat, go down, come
up to the surface and run around the boat when I put my hand on the leader (a
wire used to protect the fishing line). In all it did that 10-12 times which
was pretty interesting. On the whole it was a very interesting fight.

“The water was cool that evening so
we thought we’d catch something. The south side of the island was really calm
so we went out by Sand Cay for it and the water temperature there was a degree
or two cooler so that was good. Though I admit it’s been choppy since 9 December.
I had managed to hook 10 fish up to now, a couple tunas over 100lbs and some
wahoos.

“We were actually out looking for
swordfish but I guess sometimes you got to settle for what you get. You don’t
catch big fish like this everyday. The last one this size was in 2007 that doubled
the record at the time. All I know is I may not win every tournament but I
manage to make good impressions on everyone with these escolar catches.”

For Ebanks the escolar breaks the
world record he has held for the last three years. Back in July 2007 he nabbed
a fish that was 151lbs off Rum Point, which was nearly double the previous
record of 88lbs. In fact Ebanks has played a crucial role in the three biggest
escolar catches in Cayman’s fishing history. He was captain of his boat Run
Tings II last November that saw angler John Doak reel in a 125lb escolar. Like
Ebanks Doak used a 50lb test and was not far from South Sound for the catch.

The escolar fish marks the latest
props for Ebanks in 2010. He nabbed a 142.13lb swordfish during the Cayman
Swordfish Challenge in April and was on board Eric Rivers’ boat in October when
Nicholas Jones nabbed a 173.4lb yellowfin tuna (16lbs off the Cayman record set
in 1989 by Rick Recor).

Ebanks, 37, states he is proud of
his fishing accomplishments as he feels he is helping the country.

“This is the third big escolar I’ve had a hand in
catching. I also went out and saw Nick (Jones) catch the second largest tuna
ever in Cayman. My speciality is tuna but I’ve caught the most swordfish here
and I have that record. All I can say is I did my time, paid my dues and it
would take a lot of years and experience to beat me in fishing whether it’s
marlins, tunas, wahoos, whatever. They’re all good marks and I’m glad I can
give recognition to these islands. Big fish are here and as I have shown they
can be caught.”

Fishing

Ebanks caught a mas-sive escolar.
Photo: Courtesy of Dennie Warren Jr.
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