Reeling in the big fish: Little Cayman

The Barefoot Man:  About George 

It was a perfect day as far as I was concerned. The south shore of Little Cayman was as smooth as a baby’s bottom; this is rare bearing in mind normally the south east winds slam the sea against the barrier reef. Then there’s the fishing notion that if the water is too calm –the fish don’t bite.  I’ve caught my share of fish on calm days, however that’s with a hand line, rarely do I head out to the deep water for the big ones.

Little Cayman’s Southern Cross Club, where my wife and I spent a long weekend recently, was originally established over 50 years ago as a fishing retreat; it was not till later that diving became part of the resorts activities.

I met up with Chris Gough the club’s fishing guide who encouraged me that I should put aside my hand line and let’s go catch a big one. My wife and I are “fishaholics” so what have we got to lose except bait? Chris is an island boy, born and raised in Roatan. He has an impressive record of landing the big ones, and a reputation of getting more excited with a catch than his guests.

Thirty minutes after the 24 foot Pursuit left the channel there was still no action. The rods were not bending and the reels were not humming but I was very relaxed. The test of a true fisherman is one who “gets delight….even when there’s no bite.”

The three of us killed time bragging of catches from the past, the ones that got away and the ones that broke records. I don’t know about Chris … but I embellish a lot when it comes to fishing , but that’s what fishermen do , through verbal chit-chat your salt covered lips will turn a five pound snapper into a record marlin. 

Most of the world is covered by water – so the real trick in fishing is to know the right spot and for that we turn to the birds. We scanned the horizon and no quicker had we spotted them …. Zzzzzzzzzzziiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnnggggggggg – the action begins! The eighty pound monofilament line stretches tight as the E string on my guitar. As my wife scrambles for the rod… another line pops off the outrigger… a huge silver fish attempts a shot at freedom with a leap for the sky. The birds go crazy. Chris goes crazy, man this guy loves fishing.

To a fisherman there’s nothing sweeter than the sound of that screaming reel when it’s perfectly tuned between drag and a fish on the other end. The flash of excitement rewarded us with a good size wahoo and one meatless tuna. A barracuda had moved in on the black-fin and left us only the head. I celebrated with a can of beer and Chris screamed a long drawn out  “waaaahoooo” loud enough to be heard on the Brac.

Later we tried our hand at deep water fishing where our sinkers plummet beyond 300 feet where the delicious black snapper and red silks hide. To catch these fish requires a lot of work with a hand line, but not for Chris, he has all the latest high-tech gear including a rod with a monitor screen that reads out the depth of your line which is set with five hooks.

If you’re in the right spot the rod quickly starts to bow and with the press of a button the fish are brought to the surface by the electric powered reel. Unless you are adrift in a life boat time passes too quickly at sea and all too quickly it’s time to head back to shore.

Captain Chris can be contacted at . For a stay at the Southern Cross club call 9481099. G Nowak, better known as “The Barefoot Man” performs weekly at the REEF Resort in East End and The Wharf Restaurant. His popular CDs are available island wide or through his web site




G Nowak