April through June is generally considered the best time of the year to catch blue marlin in the waters around Grand Cayman. This is tournament season, and April of 2008 offered a measure of added intrigue because new blue marlin records had been set early in the month at nearby Barbados (505 pounds) and Trinidad (824 pounds). That had me eager with anticipation that big fish might move through our area, and a feeling that this could prove to be the opportune time for someone to break the Cayman Island blue marlin record of 584 pounds set back in 1984. That fish serves as a benchmark for establishing the minimum qualifying weight for those who participate each April in the annual Cayman Islands International Tournament. During the competition, any marlin caught that’s under 584 pounds must be released. I’m proud to say that catch-and-release is alive and well in the Cayman Islands.
My opportunity to fish the four-day tournament, which took place from April 17 to 20, was at the invite of owner Fu Liem and Capt. David Carmichael aboard their 50-foot “sailboat” Java Knight. It was a bit of an unconventional approach, but nevertheless, on April 19, our team made history by becoming the first to catch a blue marlin from a sailboat while fishing in a Cayman Islands tournament. While under sail, we caught and released a 140-pound blue at the south end of Twelve Mile Bank, plus managed two other bites that day, one of which I estimated to be a marlin of about 350 pounds.
On the Thursday following the tournament, I boarded Makaira II after a day’s work to see if I could once again catch a marlin by myself. With just a couple hours of fishing time to work with, I trolled up a big dolphinfish off Papagallo, then after a few circles in the same area, had a fine blue marlin inhale my shotgun. The fish pulled hard then jumped where I could see it was bigger than the usual. It was a 45-minute battle of maneuvering the boat and fighting the fish before I could get the marlin close enough to grab the leader. As I tried to hold her close and reach for my camera, the 300-pound class fish made a quick move and broke the leader. Not bad, though, for a two-hour jaunt. I had left at 3 p.m. and returned home by 5 — and I had extended my streak of catching a blue marlin from my boat for each of the first four months of the year.
A couple of days later, the really big blues that I was hoping, if not expecting to see migrate through Cayman waters finally did arrive. During a charter trip aboard Hit ‘N’ Run, captained by Derrin Ebanks, the crew teamed up to catch a monster blue marlin that weighed 610 pounds, making it the largest fish of the species ever caught on rod and reel in the Cayman Islands. It was an epic five-hour battle to subdue the record-size blue, but because several anglers took turns fighting the fish, it did not qualify as an official Cayman Islands line-class record.
Check this blog next month for my adventures in May, 2008, as I continue my quest to catch a blue marlin every month of the year
- Guy Harvey’s Marlin a Month | February 2010
- Guy Harvey’s Marlin a Month | June 2010
- Guy Harvey’s Marlin a Month | January 2010
- Guy Harvey Marlin a Month | December
- Guy Harvey’s Marlin a Month / March 2010