They tried to give away a million dollars for a new world record blue marlin.
As on many islands, it was once customary for local fishermen to use hand lines to haul in blue marlin weighing up to 200 pounds.
Big sportfishing boats with expensive rods and reels perform that kind of heavy work now. Thanks to Grand Cayman's underwater topography, they can begin their trolling in hundreds of feet of water just a half mile from shore.
Staying so close-in doesn't preclude big fish. As Capt. Robert Mitchum Ebanks points out, you never know what may show up—or how quickly.
He says, “A wahoo can go 60 mph and it could show up from far away in a second. You have to hope it will grab your bait going by so you can have some fun.”
Capt. Mitch reports that the largest blue marlin ever landed topped out at 584 pounds, considerably larger than the average which ranges between 300-400 pounds.
Present year-round, marlin are most plentiful May through July. “They say marlin don't travel in schools but I've caught them several at a time with lines going every which direction,” Capt. Mitch says.
Like marlin, every gamefish has its peak period. Wahoo, one of the hardest fighting fish of all, are caught mainly from December to June.
Dolphin and yellowfin tuna run best from April through August; blackfin tuna favor July and August; and skipjack tuna appear in their best numbers from October through January.
When the drop-offs are slack, full-day charters head farther out to the Twelve Mile Banks, a peak in the ocean that's a half-mile wide and three miles long.
“No telling what you'll come across,” advises Capt. Robert Mitch Ebanks. “I've seen killer whales 3 times, and they're not supposed to be here.”