Artist hoping to reel in youth

A Cayman-based artist hopes to bolster junior fishing ranks in the coming months.

Tansy Maki ended the local fishing calendar with a bang, nabbing a 86-pound yellowfin tuna. The Canadian says the way forward for competitive angling next year and beyond rests in bolstering talent amongst the youth.

“I think it would be great to have more junior tournaments throughout the year for Cayman’s youth,” Maki said. “And I would like to be involved in that as well as I had the fortune to grow up fishing from a young age. I would like to share that experience with some kids that don’t have the means to do so.

“I fell in love with Cayman the moment I stepped foot here, almost 14 years ago. The pristine aquamarine waters, great fishing and people I met through fishing here is a huge reason why I’d like to be able to call it home. Some of my closest friends here are fishermen so when I’m not painting fine art murals, I’m usually on the water, finding my inspiration in the sea.”

Maki, alongside Hog Heaven crew members Charles Ebanks and Tobias Marquardt, grabbed the tuna during the recent Cayman First Insurance All Tackle fishing tournament. Put on by the Cayman Islands Angling Club, the competition served as Cayman’s final fishing tournament of the year and had over US$12,000 in prizes on offer. Maki’s fish was the event’s biggest. Leon Dilbert of Dolphin King had a 76-pound tuna and Jimmy Nelson of Strikeforce had a 51.9-pound tuna. Nelson is the TV show host of Gaff Life and was visiting Cayman to compete in the tournament.

Maki’s catch landed her a jackpot prize and the top lady angler award. Marquardt had a 50.5-pound tuna and Charles Ebanks had a 38.4-pound tuna, with both fish landing jackpot winnings. Maki said her big catch was simple and the crew made some $1,000 selling all of their fish.

“Pulling in the 86-pound yellowfin was surprisingly quick. The fish ran only twice and I had him up to the boat in about 20 minutes. With the tuna, they were sold to Morgan’s Harbour and Calypso Grill, with the rate for yellowfin at $6.50 a pound.”

Aside from Maki, big catches were made by Justin Ebanks and the Blue Moon as they dominated the dolphin category. Ebanks had the heaviest and second heaviest catches, weighing in at 37 and 28.5 pounds, respectively. Ebanks would top the wahoo ranks with a 29.7-pound catch.

Stephen Ebanks of Who’s Ya Daddy was second with a 26.1-pound fish and Chester Hurlston of Knotty Buoy was third with a 24.2-pound fish. In the Jackpot, Justin Ebanks topped the wahoo ranks in the second division with a 29.7-pound catch and his 28.5-pound dolphin was unbeatable and the tuna ranks were led by Charles Ebanks with his 38.4-pound catch and Samara Persaud, who landed a 36.4-pound fish.

Carey Chen artwork was handed out for a number of achievements, such as Josh Ebanks of Knotty Buoy nabbing the most blue marlin releases and Darren Kelly weighing a 33.4-pound tuna to earn the title of top junior angler.

From here, local fishing is on break for the holidays, with the next event being the annual Barcadere Classic in February. Maki says her focus will be on catching more fish then.

“I’ve been fishing from a very young age with my father, who is an avid fisherman. I was born in Vancouver and I grew up camping and fishing on our family vacations all over British Colombia. Fishing from a canoe on lakes, flyfishing in rivers and on the ocean jigging for rock cod, ling cod and, of course, salmon fishing. So fishing has been a part of my life since I was tall enough to hold a rod.

“I’ve been in Cayman since 2000 and have an art company, MIndsEye Art Ltd. I am a full time artist and paint fine art murals all throughout the island. Some murals are for commercial buisnesses but they’re mostly in private residences, such as ceiling frescoes and full floor-to-ceiling nursery murals. The sky is the limit with what I do.

“I hope to fish the Barcadere Classic, but before then I’ll do some flyfishing and go catch some more yellowfin on the bank, if I have time off. I’m painting a lot of murals in residences that need to be ready by Christmas.”