The Cayman Islands angling scene recently saw a record fish on the scales.
Jason Begg-Smith caught a 392 pound swordfish in Grand Cayman waters last Thursday, the largest catch of the species in the history of local fishing. Begg-Smith, 31, would best the previous mark by nearly double aboard a 16-foot Lund boat named Catch My Drift, captained by Kevin Wall.
The Camana Bay resident, who has been in Cayman since 2006, states it took a long time to haul in the big one.
“We were out on Wednesday night at 8pm, off the shelf of the Ritz-Carlton,” Begg-Smith said. “I used squid bait and it was hooked at midnight on a 80lb test. I didn’t bring it in until 2.30pm on Thursday, it was a 14.5-hour fight. It dragged me along Seven Mile Beach. I speared the fish in its dorsal fin to get him into the boat.
“I got one that was 90lbs on Monday actually, in a similar area. I got lucky I guess. I got strained muscles, I’m shaking, dehydrated and I got a few war wounds.”
The catch would be weighed in at George Town’s Barcadere Marina, in front of a large crowd. Helping to load the fish to the weigh station was celebrity angler Charles Ebanks. Members of the Cayman Islands Angling Club, the national competitive fishing body, were on hand to confirm the new record. The old mark was 205lbs, set by Curtis White back in September 2009 on a 50lb test reel.
Interestingly, the fish was hauled in a little over a month before a scheduled swordfish tournament. The annual Cayman Swordfish Challenge is slated for 30-31 March. Last year’s event saw some relatively small catches as Thom Guyton of More Time emerged the winner with fish weighing 62.2lbs and 51.6lbs.
Begg-Smith, who lives with his pregnant wife Caroline and son Charles, 2, states he is new to fishing and has no plans to compete in next month’s tournament.
“I only started a year ago, I fish a good amount. I’m probably not going to do the tournament. This catch was just luck. I’m selling it and letting Charles take care of that. I’ll split the earnings from the sale of the fish with Kevin. It’ll go for about $10 a pound now.”
The group figures to earn about $3,920 from selling the fish, which was cut up into pieces at the dock.