Finally, the tarpons have returned to the Golden Meadow-Fourchon Tarpon Rodeo leaderboard.
After a four-year drought with no tarpons at the prestigious local rodeo, bystanders cheered gleefully on Saturday afternoon as two of the massive offshore fish were brought to the weigh station in the span of an hour.
In the end, it was the Lady Luck which won out and the 88-pound, 10-ounce lunker caught by Grand Isle woman Monique South ruled the day, outlasting the 74-pound, 10-ounce fish John Cheramie had weighed first – no more than an hour earlier.
South said she’s thrilled to win the rodeo’s top honors. She added that she knew the fish was special from the get-go.
“I kept my cool and stayed calm,” South said. “When it struck, I knew it was something pretty good. When I saw it for the first time, I just sort-of said, ‘OK, that’s a really nice looking fish.’”
South’s victory capped “the year of the woman” at the rodeo, which featured Ashley Barrios as its admiral – the first female to hold the honor in 68 years of the event.
The Larose native said she’s honored to have been chosen to hold the post, adding that she is an avid fisherwoman, who spends as much free time as she can on the water.
“It’s been great,” Barrios said. “A lot of my responsibilities have been doing interviews, promoting the event and making sure everyone is having a good time. But to be the first woman? That’s special. That means a lot. I think it’s great to show that this is a position that anyone can hold.”
Barrios said the event went without a hitch, and a peak in the tent on Saturday afternoon showed exactly that.
Huge crowds turned out to enjoy the fishing and family fun at the event, which featured music from Clustafunk on Friday night and then from the Cajun Music Preservation Society throughout Saturday afternoon.
For children, there were several fishing divisions – a long-standing tradition at the rodeo, which also has kayaking competitions and spearfishing.
Barrios said that’s by design and organizers want everyone to feel welcome at the event.
“We want it to be a family event,” Barrios said. “We want this to be something where you can take the kids and they can come out and make memories. That’s something that we stand for and it’s something that shines bright and makes our event really, really special. This is a great place to fish and it’s a great place to have fun. This weekend, we put two and two together.”
In addition to the pair of tarpons, several pretty nice fish filled the leaderboards, including a 107-pound, 2-ounce Yellowfin Tuna hauled in by Thibodaux native Jonathan Lindley, who scored Outstanding Big Game Fisherman for his efforts on the water.
In the shoreline division, Cut Off native Anthony Picciola took top honors, placing first, second and third in Bonito – the champion fish weighing in at 21-pounds, 3-ounces.
Another notable winner in the shoreline division was Chuck Harrison, who won the top prize for King Mackerel, coming to the area all the way from Walnut Grove, California.
Posted on Tue, July 5, 2016
by Gazette Sports Reports