OUTDOOR CORNER: Media get a taste of Tarpon Rodeo

Lyle Johnson
Chef KD (big redfish), Michael Cauble (WBRZ-TV) and John Maurer (big spec) show off some of their catch from the GMFITR Media Day outing.

July 30 through July 2 will mark the 63rd annual Golden Meadow Fourchon International Tarpon Rodeo held out of Moran’s Marina in Port Fourchon.

Chris Moran (owner of Moran’s Marina) will serve as admiral in this year’s event and his establishment will serve as tournament headquarters where all activities will take place.

This year’s Media Fishing Day for the Golden Meadow/Fourchon International Tarpon Rodeo was hosted at the Port Fourchon Commission Headquarters and the group was greeted by rodeo president, John Maurer and Port Commissioner, Davie Breaux.

Lots of outdoors media were in attendance including some known from our area.  Besides myself, Chef KD of Chef KD’s Outdoors and More, Gary Rispone from Paradise Louisiana, Michael Cauble, sports director of WBRZ-TV and John Ballance from the Advocate were among the many there.

As usual, the festivities started with a reception on Thursday evening with an outstanding meal provided by Admiral Moran’s Restaurant. We started our appetizer round with a Moran’s Seafood Sampler that was made up of Fried calamari, oysters, shrimp and soft-shell crab with a blooming onion in the center. The entrée was a perfectly smoked prime rib and bread pudding with amaretto sauce for dessert. This is just a small sampling of the fine food that’s served at Moran’s Restaurant that’s located at the corner of Hwy. 1 and Port Fourchon Road.

A short break was then taken to present the winners of scholarships their checks. Five fortunate seniors were given checks that ranged from $2,000 to $4,000 to help with their college educations. The scholarships are the reason for the rodeo, to benefit local youth further their education. That’s what makes the trip to Fourchon and the $25 to purchase a ticket worth it all.

After a great meal and some socializing, we gathered to find out where our sleeping arrangements would be and who our fishing teams consisted of. I was privileged to be hosted by Randy Adams, owner of Sea Support Ventures, LLC, an offshore supply and service company that operates out of Cutoff.

The next morning we departed from Randy’s camp with our fishing team that consisted of myself, Randy Adams, Gary Rispone and Gary Krouse of Paradise Louisiana to compete in a friendly but heated media rodeo. Prizes would be given for the largest redfish under 27”, largest speckled trout and black drum as well.

Five boats were in competition; Randy Adams, Troy Morain, Chris Moran and two boats from Picciola and Associates left from Port Fourchon Marina with live shrimp and minnows headed for destinations unknown to ply the rich Gulf marshes for specs, reds and who knows just what.

Our first stop was an island that was that one time the Castette-Calouete islands that were pretty large in size. But due to our erosion problems, has been reduced to a quarter acre spot of land that is now called Bird Island. The small island was covered by brown pelicans and a few other species of birds that were so thick you couldn’t see the ground. Some of the birds were actually standing in the water. It was quite a sight to see.

Our next stop was a small rig out in Timbalier Bay and the anchor was dropped for the fishing to begin. As others were getting live bait out of the live well, I opted for plastic in the form of a Hybrid minnow. On my initial cast, I had four or five hits as I reeled the lure at a medium retrieve but no hookups.

Remembering my last outing in the kayak (slow down!), I let my bait drop slowly and sort of worked it similar to a plastic worm and hooked up with a feisty 14” spec that made it into the ice chest. The next cast produced the same result for me and two of the other anglers hooked up with trout on live bait and we made it a triple.

We fished about the last hour of the incoming tide and the pace kept up pretty well, although the plastic produced a little better than the live bait. When we headed out for the next destination we had about 20 specs and one redfish. Over next two or three hours, we managed to pick up a few more speckled trout, but for us the action pretty much stopped after the tide stopped coming in.

We caught up with Troy Morain’s crew on the way in fishing the rocks at Belle Pass. He along with Davie Breaux and the Coca-Cola team of Tyrone Roussell and Louis Dagas found the pattern of free-lining live shrimp among the rocks and were tearing up the reds and specs. We joined in with them but mostly watched as they had all the action.

Back at the weigh-in plenty of light-hearted kidding took place as about 200 speckled trout along with about twenty redfish and a couple of black drum were unloaded to the cleaning tables.

The results for the three trophies were as follows; big redfish went to Chef KD with a 13-2 whopper. The big Speckled trout was caught by John Maurer that tipped the scales at 3-7 and Davie Breaux took top honors with a 5-4 black drum. We all enjoyed a great day on the water along with great hospitality and awesome food. A special thanks to the folks with the GMFITR for hosting us for a memorable time.

Log on to www.gmfourchontarponrodeo.com or call president, John Maurer at 985 860-3287 for all the information on the rodeo.

Then buy a ticket (kids fish for free) and come down and spend a great time on our coast fishing and enjoying the company.

Remember to keep the slack out and set the hook hard. So until next time have fun in the outdoors, be safe and may God bless you.