Golden Meadow-Fourchon Tarpon Rodeo to highlight busy Fourth of July weekend _lowres

Advocate staff photo by JOHN BALLANCE If you go to the Golden Meadow-Fourchon Meadow Tarpon Rodeo, you will probably hear Ashley Barrios, second from left, say ‘Girl Power.’ Barrios is the first female admiral of the GMFTR since its inception in 1948. Barrios’ love of fishing began years ago fishing with her father, Don Barrios. Pictured with Barrios are, from left, Tiffany Broussard Casey, Brandi Authement (Barrios’ sister) and Susan Wolverton. The GMFTR begins Thursday and ends Saturday.

Yes, there’s Fourth of July fireworks across the state and the nation, but for three coastal communities, fishing — make that lots of fishing for many, many years — adds to the upcoming holiday weekend.

Even better for the anglers, they’ll have Monday, July 4 to rest their sea-weary bones before taking on the rest of the summer. That’s because the three long-standing fishing events will close their weighstations on weekend days.

There’s little doubt that the draw for Capital City and Crescent City area fishers is the 68th annual Golden Meadow-Fourchon Tarpon Rodeo. Since its move from Golden Meadow Junior High three decades ago, the GMFTR has ruled the roost from Port Fourchon, and now Moran’s Marina, to Grand Isle launches for the nation’s biggest summertime celebration.

Can’t see the video? Click here.

For the Acadiana area, check out the 63rd annual Iberia Rod and Gun Club’s Fourth of July Saltwater Fishing Rodeo at Cypremort Point, and if you want to check out the waters of Calcasieu Lake and waters south, then hook up for the 78th annual Southwest Louisiana Fishing Club Rodeo out of the club’s headquarters in Lake Charles.

If you’re heading down to Bayou Lafourche this week to the GMFTR, or coming in from Houma, you can bet Terrebonne Parish’s tarpon fleet will give it a try and its black drum chasers will haul their catches from Oyster Bayou. Tickets for this rodeo’s Thursday-through-Saturday run ($35 for adults and $20 for the 12-and-younger Children’s Division) can be had at Songy’s in Houma, Outdoor Express in Boutte, Bayou Lafourche stops at B&B True Value, Kief Hardware, Renovations, Golden Meadow Hardware, TYD’s, Griffin’s Marina and Ice, Gail’s Bait Shop, Terry’s Live Bait and Moran’s Marina along with Grand Isle’s Bridge Side and Sand Dollar marinas.

The off-the-water highlight is Friday’s King of the Catch Cook-Off under the tent at Moran’s. Cooking contestants begin preparing their dishes at 11 a.m. — enterprising chefs must use crawfish, shrimp, crabs, fish, oyster, calamari, snails, frog legs, alligator or turtle — and judging is set for 4 p.m. Cash awards and trophies go to the winners from the judges’ ballots and votes from the tasting public, who can buy a ticket to sample all fare.

Although competitive fishing begins at daylight Thursday, the weighstation will open at 1 p.m. Friday and close at 7 p.m. Saturday’s weigh-in times run 1-4 p.m. in the Children’s Division and 1-5 p.m. for Big Game, Big Game Tag & Release, Inside, Shoreline, Kayak and Spearfishing divisions.

For all the rules and eligible species go to the rodeo’s website at www.fourchon tarponrodeo.com.

The Iberia Rod & Gun Club rodeo runs Friday through Sunday with scales scheduled to weigh from 3-6 p.m. Friday and Saturday then from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Sunday at Quintana Landing at Cypremort Point on the northern edge of Vermilion Bay. There are Junior, Inside, Diving, Offshore and Kayak divisions. Tickets are being sold at Cajun Guns & Tackle, Dago’s, Hebert’s Mini-Mart, Buck Fins & Feathers, Las’ Stop Marina and Pack & Paddle.

Need more info, call (337) 207-6206, email: iberiargc@gmail.com, or go o the club’s website at www.iberiarodandgunclub.com.

For as long as most anglers can remember, Louis Vallee has been working the SW Louisiana Fishing Club Rodeo into July Fourth schedules for hundreds of anglers.

The club’s 78th edition runs Friday through Sunday, and Vallee said the rodeo has taken the big step and gone digital to constantly update the rodeo’s leaderboard at the weighstation and at the club’s headquarters.

Because the rodeo weighs fish only from noon-to-6 p.m. Sunday, the weighstation takes on an arena atmosphere in the event’s final hours.

Vallee said another change is the elimination of the two-year experiment with a Kayak Division. For more, call Vallee at (337) 485-1540 or email at swlafc@gmail.com.