As Cayman’s biggest fishing tournament launches, one angler to note is Samara Persaud.
The Toronto native has two of the year’s heaviest catches and hopes to add another in the 2013 Cayman Islands International Fishing Tournament, which runs from 25 to 28 April.
Persaud said she is simply enjoying the experience.
“I was looking forward to the Rooster Shootout and the remaining tournaments like the International,” Persaud said. “Fingers crossed for safe fishing weather for all fishermen and fishing women this season.
“Sometimes I think of moving back home to Canada, but how could I leave fishing paradise? I can’t emphasise enough how grateful I am to have such good friends in Cayman to take me fishing for pleasure and to include me with them as a teammate during tournaments,” she added.
“It’s a blessing to be able to live in Cayman and have the opportunity to fish these waters,” she said.
“I am thankful for the Cayman Islands Angling Club, as they host tournaments with excellent prize incentives and bring local anglers together. We don’t always catch but being out on the water with good company and making it back to land always makes for a great day fishing. I wish everybody in Cayman tight lines and safety when out on the water.”
The international tournament, in its 16th year, is Cayman’s richest competition with more than $200,000 in prizes. Anglers travel from around the world to hunt wahoo, dolphin, yellowfin tuna and marlin. The tournament is a qualifying event for the International Game Fish Association World Offshore Championships.
Weigh-in takes place each fishing day from 4.30 to 6.30pm at the Barcadere Marina and at Carib Sands Dock in Cayman Brac. The awards ceremony is scheduled for 30 April at 7pm at the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort.
In 2012, Arthlee Evans had the biggest catch in the form of a 68.8-pound tuna on Brasserie. Gary Rutty’s Still Chasin crew, featuring angler Adrian Ebanks, had a 44.6-pound dolphin, which was matched by Douglas Ebanks, crime fighter Edward Azan and the Blue Moon gang. Perla Hatch produced a 42.2-pound wahoo on Down The Hatch, captained by Brian Phelps.
Persaud has had big fish herself in 2013. At the Barcadere Classic, the year’s first event, she had a 59.6-pound wahoo and for the third annual Kirk Slam this month, she had a 33-pound dolphin aboard Hog Heaven.
Contrary to the initial report, the event winners were the Strike Force crew of Rob Bouliane, Chris Briggs, Ben Brooks, Rob Jones and Robbie Rice. Together, they nabbed five fish with a combined weight of 134.9 pounds, which earned them $5,000.
Escapade, featuring Argella, Stuart and Clatton Conolly, had three fish in Cayman Brac weighing 90 pounds, good enough for $2,000. Persaud’s catch, along with Tansy Maki’s 32.5-pound dolphin, gave her crew two catches weighing 65.5 pounds and $1,000. Hog Heaven featured Ricardo Ebanks, celebrity angler Charles Ebanks and son Charles “CJ” Ebanks Jr. as part of the crew.
Persaud said she made additional money by selling her catches.
“I think the Barcadere Classic went great,” she said. “Initially, things seemed a little iffy because of the weather forecast, but overall it was a good tournament and fish were caught. We usually sell our biggest fish. Sad to say, I don’t usually get to eat what I catch.
“We sold all three wahoos to a fine dining seafood restaurant in West Bay and sold the remaining three tunas to a popular Seven Mile Beach restaurant. Overall, we sold just under 300 pounds of fish.
“Selling the fish helps contribute to the high cost associated with deep sea fishing. It’s a really expensive sport with fuel, bait, gear, boats, etc.”
Most anglers are excited for the international tournament, Cayman’s third tournament for 2013 after the Cayman Swordfish Challenge took place over the weekend. The Rooster Shootout was postponed.
Craig Nixon hopes to replicate his showing in the Barcadere Classic, when he caught a 30.6-pound wahoo on Way To Go, with captain Wayne Kirkconnell and crew members Tom Kirkconnell and Matthew Leggett. Nixon said he is all about preserving local heritage.
“The Way to Go fishing team was preparing for the Rooster Shootout and we now hope to land on the podium with our rival fishermen,” Nixon said. “Everyone on Way to Go has the sea in our DNA so we are trying to continue our traditions and maintain our Caymanian culture.”