If you’re seeking to catch Blue Marlin, Yellowfin Tuna, Mahi-Mahi, or Wahoo, the Caribbean waters surrounding Grand Cayman are some of the best for sport fishing. Captain Jon Arch and his crew at Slackem Charters are one of island’s top fishing charters. Jon is a native Caymanian and has spent his life deep-sea fishing around Grand Cayman. He knows where the fish are biting. He is passionate about the sport and works hard to make sure his guests catch fish and have a great time doing it.
Charter Fishing on Grand Cayman Island
My husband and three of our four children spent an afternoon with Jon last summer fishing for tuna. My oldest daughter and I opted out of fishing and chose, instead, to stay by the pool at our villa.
The few fishing trips I’d been on in the past yielded nothing but frustration and nausea, so a quiet afternoon by the pool seemed like the better option. Wow, did we miss a great time! Apparently the afternoon was full of action. The kids came back with a cooler stocked full of tuna as well as a great story I’d like to share.
A Day Out on the Water
The afternoon began with lunch at the Kaibo in Rum Point. Afterward, Jon pulled up to the Kaibo dock in his boat, “Keepin it Reel,” and they all jumped aboard and headed across the North Sound.
The nice thing about deep-sea fishing on Grand Cayman is that it doesn’t require a long boat ride to reach the deeper water in order to catch big fish. Although he’ll head to wherever the fish are biting, many of Jon’s favorite spots are just outside the reef with the shore still in view.
It didn’t take long before the rods began to bow. My sons, Pat and Chris, got right to it and caught a few nice-sized tunas. Shortly after that, another rod started to move and my daughter, Kathleen, jumped into the chair and began to turn the reel. With her feet pressed hard into the footrest, and with the help of her brother, Chris, and Slackem’s First Mate, who also happened to be named Chris, she wrestled with the fish, pulling the rod back with all of her might and then reeling in the slack of the line. Back and forth, Kathleen said she would pull as hard as she could and then reel in a bit more of the line. This went on for what she described felt like an eternity but was realistically about 30 minutes. None of the crew could believe how hard that fish was fighting back. All Kathleen and the guys knew was that something big must be on the other end.
When the rod was almost level with the side of the boat and the line was as short as it was going to get, Kathleen and the guys looked over the edge and saw a dark shadow deep in the water. No one thought much of the shadow because their focus was on the line leading to the mouth of a tuna. My husband, who was watching from the tuna tower, briefly noticed the shadow as well, but was more interested in watching his daughter reel in her first deep-sea fish. Seconds later, as Kathleen exerted one last big pull on the rod, the tension surprisingly disappeared and a large bloody mass of fish flew out of the water, arced in the air, and landed on the deck of the boat with a thud. Everyone on board stared at the flopping bloody mass and slowly realized the tuna was missing half of its body!
That’s why the struggle had been so difficult. The big shadow they saw wasn’t a coral head, it was probably a reef shark. Kathleen wasn’t only pulling on a tuna, she was playing tug-of-war with a shark who had the business end of her tuna in its mouth! Everyone roared with laughter.
Later that evening, our friend, Chef Ron Hargrave of Tukka Restaurant in Cayman’s East End, was kind enough to prepare an amazing meal for us using our freshly caught tuna. We feasted on tuna ceviche, tuna lollipops, and tuna steaks lightly seared on the outside and perfectly pink on the inside.
It was a great day and one my family will reminisce about and share with their own children in the years to come!
The fish are definitely biting when you’re out with Captain Jon and Slackem Charters. You’ll catch fish and maybe have a story or two to bring home, as well! Slackem Charters is family-owned and operated. Jon’s wife, Stephanie, answers emails and telephone inquiries. Slackem also offers a 10% Silver Thatch discount for Grand Cayman Villas and Condos guests who pay with cash. To make a reservation, contact Stephanie at firstname.lastname@example.org