Outdoor Corner: Golden Meadow-Fourchon Tarpon Rodeo gains popularity

Lyle Johnson
While on vacation in Pensacola, Fl. we ran across a fellow angler fishing in the surf. Mike was trying his fortune at catching pompano using sand fleas and caught three.

July 4-6 will mark the 71st Annual Golden Meadow-Fourchon International Tarpon Rodeo hosted out of Moran’s Marina in Fourchon, La. In its 71 years, the rodeo much like anything in life experienced some ups and downs. The GMFITR is on an upswing like never before and is quickly coming to be one of the biggest events on the coast.

Like many other great ideas throughout history, the Golden Meadow-Fourchon Tarpon Rodeo was conceived in a conversation over an afternoon drink in a bar. It was 1948, and the group of men in Crip’s Bar in Golden Meadow was discussing the possibility of a tarpon tournament.

In the beginning year, 1948, tarpon was the only eligible fish, and each person put up $10 dollars and the winner took all. The Golden Meadow International Tarpon Rodeo continued to steadily grow at its new site, because of the hard-working members and the gracious assistance and support of the Greater Lafourche Port Commission. In 1992, the board renamed the rodeo the Golden Meadow-Fourchon International Tarpon Rodeo.

Over the years, the Golden Meadow-Fourchon International Tarpon Rodeo was organized and run by board members selected from fishermen and businessmen that were interested in the "fun of fishing" and promoting the parish as a great recreational area. After all the bills were paid, the remaining proceeds were distributed among charitable organizations. 

Now the focus of the rodeo is to raise scholarship funds for seniors at Golden Meadow High School. The 2018 rodeo raised over $52,000 to be distributed to eligible students that qualified through hard work at school.

Me and Goosie headed down to Port Fourchon for the media event May 15-16 to attend the banquet that awarded the scholarship funds and presented the rodeo print design that will be the official logo for 2019.

The next morning the media attendees were treated to a fishing trip. Eight boats were filled with anxious anglers. Three headed offshore and five stayed inshore in search of speckled trout and redfish.

The Ascension Outdoors crew was very fortunate to land a fishing trip with Captain John Chauvin of Fintastic Charters. This wasn’t our first trip with Captain John, and it won’t be our last. I’ve had the opportunity to fish with lots of charter captains on my angling adventures and they are not all the same. He’s one of the best, not only as far as his fish-finding skills but his personality, character, and servant's heart makes him one of the best around. I highly recommend using him for a fishing trip of a lifetime.

The crew headed out for the rocks on the beach of Fourchon armed with live shrimp and croakers paired up with 4-Horseman popping corks. My preference is artificial lures, so I brought along a custom Olive Branch rod to try my fortune.

We started out on the outside of the rocks with Goosie and Capt John using live shrimp and me with a plastic worm. The action was slow as Goosie caught a 13” trout that flopped its way back in the water.

We made a decision to head to the beach shore but on the way through the rocks Capt. John advised Goosie to make a throw on the back side of the rocks as we were passing by. A hungry trout hit his shrimp but didn’t hold on. I made a long cast with a Strike King Red Eye Shad and nearly had the rod taken out of my hands.

It was on after that as we combined live shrimp and the chrome/blue Red Eye Shad to pile 25 specs and a redfish in the ice chest. Most of the specs were over two pounds as the largest weighed in at 2.90 and missed 1st Place Big Spec by four hundredths of a pound.

Capt. John had been in contact with another charter captain who wasn’t having as much fortune. We had plenty of fish in the box so we gave up our hole to Barry Schexnaydre and his crew. As we headed to the marsh to try for some redfish, we watched the two anglers in Barry’s boat hook up with a pair of trout as we idled away. That’s the kind of person Capt. John is.

I switched up to an H&H plastic cocahoe minnow, and Goosie stayed with the live shrimp. We added five redfish and a spec to the box to round off a very productive and pleasurable fishing trip. All this action can be seen on EATEL channel 4 or 704 and on Ascension Outdoors Facebook page in the month of June.

All the info for the Golden Meadow-Fourchon International Tarpon Rodeo can be found at The $35 dollar ticket gets you much more than an opportunity to fish. There is a little something for everyone in the entire family. There's fishing, food booths, a cook-off, live music, an auction, and much more. 

The info for Capt. John’s Fintastic Charters can be obtained on his Facebook page, at or give him a call 985-665-4586. Tell him me and Goosie told you to give him a call.

Next, there is a great opportunity for moms to spend some quality time with her kids. The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) will hold its annual Mother-Child Families Understanding Nature (FUN) Camp on Oct. 11-13, 2019 at the Woodworth Outdoor Education facility, south of Alexandria. The camp is open to parents and children from 10-13 years old.

The Mother-Child camp is generally held in the fall and the Father-Child weekend in the spring. The camp offers parents and children an opportunity to spend a weekend in the outdoors, re-establishing bonds and honing outdoor skills.

Pre-registration is required and space is limited and filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Registration is $50 for each family (a parent and child). Each additional child is $25 (limit two children per adult). The fee covers meals, lodging and supplies, including tents, used during the weekend. Bed linens and sleeping bags are not provided.

I know it's early, but this event fills up quickly. For more information or to obtain a registration form on-line, visit LDWF’s website at or contact Taylor Stevens at .

Lyle Johnson is a free-lance writer, co-host of Ascension Outdoors TV and Curator of the Louisiana State Fish Records. He can be contacted at

Outdoor Calendar

EASL Monthly Meeting: 3rd Monday every month, East Ascension Sportsman’s League meeting held at Gonzales Fire Dept on Orice Roth Rd. starting at 7:00 p.m. A meal served and special speaker will be in attendance.

Wednesday Evening Bass Tourney: Every Wednesday at Canal Bank from 5:00 p.m. until dark. Fee $40/boat, one time registration fee of $40 going toward the Classic Tournament. Weekly event through spring, summer. Call Canal Bank for information 225-695-9074.

CCA Louisiana S.T.A.R. Fishing Rodeo: May 25 thru Sept 2 summer-long CCA Louisiana saltwater fishing event. Tagged Redfish, Offshore, Inshore, Ladies & Children’s divisions. Registration required. Must be CCA member. Website:

Swollfest Fishing Rodeo: June 5-8 Sand Dollar Marina, Grand Isle. Weigh-in 4:30-6:30 p.m. June 6-8. Master Board in Offshore, Deep Drop, Inshore & Kayak divisions; Lagniappe Board in Women's and Children's divisions & six awards in Overall category, including "Swollest" fish. Benefits Our Lady of the Lake Children's Hospital & Louisiana Cancer Care Coalition. Website:

Need an event publicized? Contact Lyle at