Rooster offers chance to crow

Competitive angling has long been part of the Cayman Islands’ allure.

Lovely waters, a good selection of game fish and the chance to win prize money for hooking The Big One have all created an atmosphere ripe for anglers. The next opportunity to get in on the action comes in the form of the 2013 Rooster Shootout.

Sanctioned by the Cayman Islands Angling Club, the local governing body for game fishing, the Rooster tournament is slated for 8-10 March. Heading into its 10th year, the event typically offers over $20,000 in cash and prizes. Much of the attention will be on boats travelling off-shore in search of the three major species: dolphin (mahi-mahi), yellowfin tuna and wahoo.

In 2012, Harbour House Marina in Prospect was the major sponsor, hosting weigh-ins at its dock on all three fishing days. Over 150 anglers on 33 boats took part last year, producing 27 tuna, 25 wahoo, and seven dolphins. Additionally, nine blue marlin and three white marlin were caught and released.

The Grand Slam trophy and a cheque for $2,000 went to the Blue Diamond boat, with Chris Kirkconnell at the helm, for landing a total of 139.9 pounds of fish.

The $4,000 top honour in the tuna category went to Albert McLean in Too Lucky for his 72.8lb catch. Blue Diamond featured a pair of first place winners as Kirkconnell had the tournament’s largest wahoo at 47.6lbs and Jordan Hartmann reeled in a 38.2lb dolphin. Each won $4,000 for their efforts.

Katrina Ebanks, of Grand Cayman’s most famous fishing family, netted the Lady Angler Award for her 62.5lb tuna and three released marlins. Ebanks has been the top female competitor the last two years.

The sportsmanship award went to Matthew Ebanks for his year-long effort of restoring a boat with his teenage son. The pair rebuilt the vessel together at night and over weekends and launched On Da Reelz on its maiden voyage for the Shootout.

The Captain’s Prize of a Tudor watch went to Chris Briggs for the 578.9lbs of fish his boat brought in over the three-day event. The tournament’s newest award, the District Cup, was awarded to George Town for the second consecutive year with its top three boats scoring the most overall points.

Tournament registration for 2013 takes place on Wednesday, 6 March, at 6pm at Guy Harvey’s restaurant on the George Town waterfront. Action starts on 8 March with a Bimini start at 8am.

The weigh station opens 4-6pm that Friday, 4-7pm the day after and 4-6pm on Sunday. Food and drink will be on sale each day.