Connor Crighton nearly made local fishing history.
Crighton, 13, hooked a big tarpon – measuring some 6 feet, 2 inches in length with an estimated weight of over 100 pounds – in the Governor’s Harbour area off West Bay Road this month. The Patrick Island resident, who was 12 at the time, released the fish as opposed to weighing it and having a chance to set a new Cayman Islands record.
Connor’s father, Dale Crighton, said rewriting the history books was not a priority for the young angler.
“It took two hours to get the fish on a Boston Whaler,” Crighton said. “We were trolling and it completely destroyed the lure, tearing out the front hook. We followed it down with the boat from Mitchell’s Creek to Waterways and back again. I’m sure if we tried catching it from the shore, it would have snapped the line.
“We took it and guided it by Crystal Harbor before taking it up to the waterline. He dragged it up, and he wanted to release it, as a 12-year-old he wasn’t thinking of records at all. The thing is, for one, we couldn’t lift it up out of the water to put a gaff in it because it was so heavy. Also, at the time, we didn’t know if it was a record as I’ve seen bigger ones caught by others before. But we’ll know better for next time.”
Connor was using an 8-pound rod with a 30-pound braid. Based on the last available records from the Cayman Islands Angling Club, the local governing body for competitive angling, the fish would easily make history. The biggest catch ever recorded was a 29-pound, 12-ounce tarpon by Brian Phelps in February 1997.
Dale said despite of missing out on history, tarpon fishing will continue in the Crighton household.
“Connor has been fishing for quite a bit. We’ll probably go out and catch them again. But I don’t know what the chances are of catching a tarpon while trolling again.”