Fishermen taking to the state’s freshwater lakes and bayous out to some of the deepest water off our country’s coasts — and lots of water in between — put 24 of their catches into the State Top 10 Fish Records List in the latest 2017 update from Lyle Johnson, the chairman of the State Fish Records Committee.
Included in the updates are five state-record fish.
Among them is the giant 383-pound Warsaw grouper Dr. JJ Tabor wrested from the depths during July’s annual International Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo.
Another on the saltwater side in the Rod-and-Reel Division a whopper, a 140-pound greater amberjack was taken from the Horseshoe Lumps by Chris Legrand.
Then, just when saltwater anglers believed they had seen it all, David Loewen comes in with a 41-pound blackfin tuna that stunned the deep-water fishing community.
And, just for the sake of showing how diverse a fishery there is off the Louisiana coast, Mike Melancon came in with a red grouper, an unusual catch that wowed the folks at the weigh-in for the Fourth of July Golden Meadow-Fourchon Tarpon Rodeo.
Michael Lee Clark made sure the growing number of fly fishermen across the state would get their just due by taking a hefty 9.66-pound sheepshead on buggy-whip tackle while working the rip-rap and grassbeds in the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet.
That written, the monster fish of the year is Kaleb Richardson’s 833-pound bluefin tuna, a once-a-year allowance for federal permit holders. This giant stands fifth on the state list for that species.
Another note from this year’s action came in the reports of grouper taken from areas which, in years past, have seen very little pressure from the offshore adventures, waters west of the Atchafalaya River.
Tabor’s Warsaw came from the Garden Banks, a reef south of the Vermilion/Cameron parishes coastline. Four other groupers making the top 10 list came from that area during the summer of 2017.
The state records are maintained, and have been for more than 70 years, by the Louisiana Outdoor Writers Association. For more information, go the to LOWA website: laoutdoorwriters.com. Find the “records” tab, then click on “Louisiana Fish Records.” You will find the Top 10 catches of more than 60 species and applications and guidelines to submit your possible state-record catch.
Federal fishermen managers recently released plans to rebuild stocks of gray triggerfish, a species considered to be overfished in the Gulf of Mexico.
Effective Jan. 16 of the coming year the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s Fisheries section will close the recreational season through the end of February in addition to the already in-place June 1-July 31 closure.
Recreational fishermen will be limited to one fish per day with a minimum size limit of 15 inches fork length.
Commercial fishermen will be limited to 16 gray triggerfish per trip.
The announcement stated, “These measures are expected to rebuild the gray triggerfish population in nine years, or by the end of 2025.”