One of the big story-lines around a
major fishing competition was its numerous delays. According to its organizer
that should not be a factor in 2012.
Clarence ‘King’ Flowers serves as
tournament director for the Cayman Swordfish Challenge. Flowers was forced to
delay the competition on three occasions due to bad weather. Originally it was
slated to take place in February before eventually going in motion earlier this
month. Flowers states similar delays should be avoided as there is more
information about swordfish trends here in Cayman.
“We know April works and we’ll be
going for mid-April next year,” Flowers said. “If bad weather exists then the
tournament would be moved to the end of April or early May. Initially we
experimented with the timing of it and came up with March/April as the ideal.
This year the weather was decent, it was borderline at times, but it calmed
down in the nights after seeing 17
knots in the day.
“Bear in mind a lot of the planning
involves working with the Cayman Islands Angling Club. We want to avoid
conflict with other tournaments like the Rooster Shootout last month and the
Kirk Slam this month. At the end of the day there are only so many anglers and we
don’t want to wear out their resources with tournaments too close together.
“All in all we’re happy where we
are. For the future we’ll look to figure out the swordfish migration pattern.
We might not be in the full pattern yet like the dolphin/mahi mahi which come
in May. But we’re in the development stage and I see even better sword fishing
in the future.”
The 2011 edition of the challenge
saw 16 boats take part with 13 registered in Grand Cayman and three signing up
in Cayman Brac. Four official catches were made with three being made in the
Brac. Another catch took place outside the tournament time limit.
Thom Guyton would walk away with
the most props. He would captain his boat More Time to produce the heaviest and
third heaviest catch as his swordfish weighed 62.2 and 51.6 pounds. For those
catches he banked $7,000 ($5,000 for the top fish and $2,000 for third place).
Another fisherman who earned a cash prize was Gary Foster. The captain of Akuna
Matata hauled in a 56lb eight ounce swordfish that earned a cool $3,000.
Interestingly Flowers did more than
oversee the event. His boat Arcturus, which had crew like mate Chet Ritch,
nabbed a 65lb 8oz fish. However it was disqualified. In addition Flowers’
restaurant, the Brasserie, bought the three top catches of the tournament.
Flowers is quick to say that swordfish is a delicacy and will have a prime
place on the menu.
“The three big fish are being
served at the Brasserie, possibly well into this week. It’s prime seafood. In
fact one of the fish was what it is commonly called a pumpkin. It comes around
one in every 40 catches. When you cut it you see it has orange flesh similar to
salmon, which they get from eating a lot of shrimp. It makes for great eating.”