The Blue Moon crew has become a formidable force in local fishing over the last two years. Based on recent form indications are for the group to rack up more props in 2011.
The posse of Justin Ebanks, Douglas Ebanks and Edward Azan were big winners at the 2011 Barcadere Classic. The first angling tournament of the year saw the trio walk away with over CI$2000. Justin was at the rod and reeled in a 46-pound wahoo (third-heaviest in the competition) and a 21.4lb dolphin (second-heaviest of the event). Each catch netted $1000 in prize money.
Justin states posting those catches was a good start to the fishing calendar.
“It was a really good start to 2011, it was a good foundation to more prizes,” Justin said. “I’m already clearing room in the trophy case. We’re calling ourselves the dolphin boys and the wahoo wranglers from now. You always feel blessed when it comes to fishing. Anytime you can put big fish in the boat you feel blessed that God put you in the right place to get them on board.”
Justin and the Blue Moon crew were one of 34 boats taking part in this year’s event. Their catches were two of 37 made during the tournament, with two blue marlin releases also occurring. All were weighed at the Barcadere Marina in George Town.
Interestingly, Justin’s catches were just a pound off the top catches. His wahoo was just behind that of second place finisher and the tournament’s top lady angler Samara Persaud, who had a 47lb catch aboard Miss Nicole. Meanwhile his dolphin was short of winner Oliver Dubock’s 22.4lb catch aboard Makaira II. Justin, who hails from North Side, gave some colourful insight into how he nabbed his fish.
“We caught them in East End, in an area that is called the backyard. Every fish I’ve ever caught in a tournament has been from there. I used a 80lb test for the wahoo while high speed-trolling and used a 50lb test for the dolphin rigged with ballyhoo.
“In fact on the back of our team shirts it states high-speed kills so we went out to prove that. The high speed-trolling caught lots of wahoo. We had five on the Saturday of the tournament, all between 25-40lbs. I reckon we could have had a first-place sized wahoo if we kept going.
“What happened was I took a magic marker and put the word Justin on the lures. The fish were female so I guess they were attracted to me and came to the hooks. Seriously though we used our own little tricks that we’ve done for years.”
Like with all sizeable catches, there was a cash windfall from the sale of the fish. Justin states that though the crew got over $200, most of that money went to other places besides their pockets.
“We kept some of the fish for our plates but we sold most of them. They covered our fuel, fishing gear and other overhead costs. I don’t want to get into too much details because I believe a fisherman’s edge is based on who buys from him at a particular price. What I will say is we sold to two restaurants and a couple of locals.
“In fact it was mostly locals who bought from me. Most of those people were everyday, working individuals who bought it. Basically they approached me at the weigh-ins everyday of the tournament. All of the fish sold for around $5 a pound so we easily made a couple hundred dollars extra. But as I said before that has to cover fuel and various expenses. We only had a couple of dollars left on top.
“I’d also like to mention that we donated fish to a seamen’s awards ceremony in North Side on the holiday Monday. We do our best to give back to our native North Side and the larger Cayman community.”