Rooster awards hooked on fun

The Ninth Annual Harbour House Rooster Shootout came to a close Tuesday evening with a rollicking awards banquet at Margaritaville.

Over 150 anglers and members of the fishing community gathered to hear Cayman Crosstalk host Austin Harris pass amusing comments about their fishing prowess while handing out over $25,000 in cash and prizes.

Over 130 anglers on 33 boats took part in the three-day Shootout. Participants caught 27 tuna, 25 wahoo, and seven dolphins. Additionally, nine blue marlin and three white marlin were caught and released. “It was an unusual year,” said tournament organiser Randy Merren. “We caught and released more marlin this year than we caught dolphin.”

The Grand Slam Trophy and a cheque for $2,000 went to the Blue Diamond boat, with Chris Kirkconnell at the helm, for landing a total of 139.9 pounds of tuna, wahoo, and dolphin.

The $4,000 top honour in the tuna category went to Albert McLean in Too Lucky for his 72.8 pound catch. Blue Diamond featured a pair of first place winners, Chris Kirkconnell for the tournament’s largest wahoo at 47.6 pounds and Jordan Harman with a 38.2 pound dolphin. Each won $4,000 for their efforts.

Katrina Ebanks, of Grand Cayman’s most famous fishing family, netted the Lady Angler Award for her 62.5 pound tuna and three released marlins. Ebanks, no stranger to the spotlight, also took home the award last year.

The Rooster Shootout Sportsmanship Award went to Matthew Ebanks for his year-long effort of restoring a boat with his teenage son. The pair rebuilt the vessel together at night and over weekends and launched On Da Reelz on its maiden voyage for the Shootout.

The Captain’s Prize of a Tudor watch went to Chris Briggs for the 578.9 pounds of fish his boat brought in over the three-day event. The Shootout’s newest award, the District Cup was awarded to George Town for the second consecutive year with their top three boats scoring highest in the tournament.

A Rooster Shootout tradition has been the presentation of spoof prizes for the minor calamities and high jinks that ensue during the tournament. Cardboard binoculars, ladies garments, humorous award certificates and inaccurate navigational maps were handed out in a farcical style by Harris to the delight of the crowd. Charles Ebanks, presented with a dress by Harris, put it on and came back on stage in it with another man, much to the amusement of the audience.

“It was a great event,” said Merren after the banquet. “We’re already counting down the days until next year’s Shootout.”