Fishing tournament postponed due to rough seas

Family fishing clinic to go ahead as scheduled

Children will be able to get fishing tips from anglers and practise fishing at a two-day clinic this weekend at the Barcadere Marina.

Organisers of the Burger King Big Fish tournament, scheduled for this weekend, announced Wednesday that the event has been postponed because of unfavourable weather. A new date for the three-day event, which offers more than $55,000 in cash prizes and giveaways, will be announced soon, the organisers said.

According to Cayman’s National Weather Service, sea conditions for Friday, the first scheduled day of the tournament, will be “moderate to rough with wave heights of 4 to 6 feet” and small craft are advised to exercise caution over open waters. Northerly winds that day are expected to reach 15 to 20 knots. Waves of 3 to 5 feet are expected on Saturday and Sunday.

Family fishing clinic

Despite the expected inclement weather, a two-day, family-oriented fishing clinic at the Barcadere Marina, by the George Town Yacht Club, will proceed as planned on Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The BK Big Fish organisers partnered with the International Game Fish Association in its second Cayman Outreach Programme, supported by the Cayman Islands Angling Club, the Department of Environment and the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation. The programme is offering the free fishing clinic for anyone wanting to try the sport or get back into it.

The family-oriented fishing clinic, which is free to all, is being held to help educate young people on conservation, as well as the basics of fishing, including basic tackle description, knot tying, fish handling, de-hooking, fishing safety and environmental stewardship. The camp will conclude with a Family Fishing Derby.

Participants do not need to bring anything with them because all the equipment and bait will be provided during the class, said Frank Thompson, a Cayman representative of the International Game Fishing Association.

“Some of my best memories as a kid growing up were going fishing with my parents and grandparents,” Thompson said, adding that his parents showed him how to fish from age 3. “It was a rewarding feeling when I caught my first fish and I just couldn’t wait to catch another one,” he said.

The biggest fish he ever caught was a 465-pound blue marlin during the Cayman Islands International Fishing Tournament in 2004, he said.

During the weekend fishing clinic, participants will receive a ‘passport’ book when they sign up. Those passports will be used at each station to collect stamps, which can be used to borrow fishing reels.

Thompson said participants are welcome to bring along their own lucky fishing poles. Rod and reels will also be available for borrowing.

A mini kids fishing tournament will be held at the end of each day for participants to try out their newly acquired skills.

“Catching a fish for the first time, for any child, gives them an experience where their face lights up,” Thompson said. “If they don’t catch a fish, they get to spend some time outside in nature, getting some fresh air and away from all the electronics.”

He added that the children also would get to learn about the ocean and the environment, and perhaps building some lasting friendships.

Adults are also welcome.

“We encourage the parents to stay to keep an eye on the children,” he said.

Thompson said it will be a free-flowing formation and children do not necessarily have to be there at 10 a.m. They can come at any time between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and be accommodated. There will be food on sale and the day will conclude with prize giveaways.

According to Thompson, this is the second year the Angling Club has run the fishing clinic in the Cayman Islands, and last year was the first time the International Game Fishing Association in Florida offered the clinic outside the U.S.

Last year, he said, more than 200 children took part in the fishing clinic. This year, organisers are looking to double that number.

The angling club is hoping to offer more of the clinics, and to include Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.