The Italian-American Rodeo, the Grand Isle Speckled Trout Rodeo and the 101-day S.T.A.R. herald Louisiana’s coastal fishing season, and there’s little doubt that our state’s hundreds of thousands of saltwater anglers hear the starter’s gun for a summer filled with every weekend celebrations of one of the main reason we call our state “The Sportsman’s Paradise.”

There are the fixtures, The Swollfest on Grand Isle in two weeks, the Fourth of July Golden Meadow-Fourchon Tarpon Rodeo and the Southwest Louisiana Fishing Club Deep Sea Rodeo over in Lake Charles, and late July’s Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo, the oldest continuing fishing event in our country.

Later in the summer, there will be the Empire-South Pass and Terrebonne rodeos.

In the next weeks, high school alumni will gather to renew old friendships. The newest on the list is Redemptorist High’ School’s June 6-7 tournament at Fourchon. It will be followed by fishing rodeos for Catholic High, Rummel, Jesuit, Holy Cross and E.D. White, and it’s sure there are more, but the other schools only need to advise the outdoors media to let us know the dates and locations.

Just a thought: Maybe something these schools should do is organize a super rodeo, a one- or two-day fishing competition that would take their individual champions paired with a team of students from each school for a winner-take-all, bragging-rights tournament.

There are enough tackle and fishing-related manufacturers to assure sponsorship, and proceeds could go into a school fund to sponsor school-related activities. Or maybe these schools could push their students and their parents or alumni into organizing a summertime redfish tour that would mimic the rapidly growing high school bass fishing competitions. It’s something that could keep these youngsters busy during the summer.

Another special gathering comes up in two weeks, too, and if the Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo is the oldest for rod-and-reel anglers, then the June 5-8 51st annual Helldivers Rodeo should hold some high place across our country for divers.

The weigh-in is set for 10 a.m.-1 p.m. June 8 at the City Park Pavilion, 3800 Loyola Dr. in Kenner.

Even though there is a Diving Division in the Golden Meadow-Fourchon Rodeo, the Helldivers is the largest rodeo for the spearfishing guys and gals in the state. It’s open to all inshore and offshore waters.

Helldivers President Jared Falterman said there are three places for red snapper, cobia, grouper (gag grouper season is closed), mangrove snapper, jack crevalle, any legal jackfish species that is not an amberjack or jack cravelle, barracuda, stingray, sheephead, spadefish, ocean or queen triggerfish and a miscellaneous division. There will be awards in nine other categories.

For more information, go to the Helldivers’ website: www.helldivers.org, or call Falterman (504) 382-2163.