A couple of weekends ago, if you would have been at Manny’s Bar in Head of Island, you might have seen some things that could be considered a little Jurassic.
I’m sure lots of folks that read this including myself are fans of the Jurassic Park movies series. Not all the sequels are as good as the original, but the concept is pretty cool. The cloning of dinosaurs using their blood sucked from them by mosquitos frozen in time might really happen, couldn’t it?
Just two of the names of the animals in the movie bring shudders to the watchers. Well, at least me. The spoken words Tyrannosaurus Rex (or T-Rex for short) and Velociraptor reveal visions of flesh-eating, blood draining carnage to my mind. But that’s all way back in time during the prehistoric ages. Or is it?
A couple of weekends ago, if you would have been at Manny’s Bar in Head of Island, you might have seen some things that could be considered a little Jurassic. The annual Blind River Garfish Rodeo took place with all the festivities and the weigh-in. This event has been going on for many years while providing the surrounding area with plenty of sights not often seen. The rodeo’s sole purpose besides the competition is to raise money for St Jude.
Thirty-five boats entered the event that took place over two days hoping to bring in ten garfish that would weigh enough to finish in the top three teams. They were also all hoping to catch one large enough to take the coveted title of King Fisherman with the heaviest garfish caught. There is also a “trash fish” category.
This type of fishing is not for the faint of heart or those that don’t like hard work. “Jugging” is the technique that nearly all of the anglers use. The “Jug” is a big float of some kind, usually a plastic gallon container. The big floats are painted so they are easily seen and act as resistance to tire the fish out somewhat trying to swim with it underwater.
A short steel leader with a large hook is attached to the jug and mullet is the prized bait used to catch the garfish. Most of the mullet are caught using a cast net. That’s where some of the heavy work takes place before the tournament. As many as a hundred or more jugs are then baited and set for 24 hours.
Then comes the adrenaline pumping activity. The anglers travel back to the area where the jugs were set to start picking up the ones that don’t have a fish on them. The ones they don’t find are the ones that have a fish on them.
When a jug is found with a fish on it, all heck breaks loose. Although the fish might have been pulling around the float for many hours, they still have plenty of life. After getting a big fish alongside the boat, it’s usually dispatched in some form and brought aboard.
Eighteen of the thirty-five boats that took part in fishing for the 10 heaviest and largest garfish over the weekend journeyed back to the weigh-in. Taking 1st place was team no. 3, captained by Buck Wall. They caught a 10-fish limit that weighed a whopping 658.2 pounds for over a 65-pound average per fish. Their limit was anchored by the big gar of the tournament that tipped the scales at a whopping 125.2 pounds. Their payday: $1,000 dollars for the big string and another $1,000 for the big fish.
Taking home the 2nd-place honors was team no. 2 with Edward Thompson at the helm. That team managed 602.11 pounds for their ten garfish and a very respectable 60-pound average. That stringer earned the team a check for $500.
Third place went to Captain Eddie Turner and team no. 20. Their string hit the scales at 453.9 pounds for over a 45-pound average and a check for $250. The big trash fish prize was taken by team no. 1 and Daniel Dupuy with a 28-pound catfish and a check for $250.
The event was a success of Jurassic proportions as over $7,700 was raised for St Jude. Along with the entries from the anglers, jambalaya was sold. Additionally, a silent auction and a raffle for door prizes was held. For those that were a little more adventurous, one could watch the skills of the folks that were cleaning the beasts, then partake in a plate of fried garfish.
So until next time remember to keep the slack out and set the hook hard. Have fun in the outdoors, be safe and may God truly bless you!!
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 email@example.com.
Aug 18—Ascension Area Anglers' 4th Annual Open Team Bass Tournament will be held @ Doiron’s Landing benefitting anglers qualifying for the BASS Nation Championship, Fishing for Tucker, and our newly developed High School bass fishing program led by Nathan Bourque and Doug McClung. Entry Fee $100 per team. Contact Ryan Lavigne for info firstname.lastname@example.org or 225-921-9332.
Aug 20—East Ascension Sportsman’s League monthly meeting held at Chef KD’s on Highway 74 starting at 7 p.m. A meal will be served, and a special speaker will be in attendance.
Aug 24-25—CCA’s Ride the Bulls Kayak, the world’s largest extreme fishing tournament. Held out of Bridgeside Marina. Log on to www.CCAlouisiana.com for all the details.
Sept 15—Anything Outdoor Helping Kids Fall Fest fundraiser will be held at the Knights of Columbus Hall. Tickets are $5.00 for entry. There will be food & drinks, silent auction, a blood drive, vendor booths, and plenty of fun for the kids. A cook-off for mini & regular pot jambalaya along with four live bands including Kenny Cornett will perform as well. Find them on Facebook for all the info.