Think all Louisiana’s fishing rodeos are fun and games?
Yeah, mostly: On the surface, rodeos are one or more days on the water looking for the biggest in any of several dozen fish categories, catches that can stand an angler ahead of his or her peers.
But scratch the surface, go a little deeper than the oohs and aahs from onlookers around the weighstations, all the photo taking and chest-swelling look of a winning fishermen, and you find how much good these rodeos do across the state’s southern parishes.
Take this week’s giant 94th annual Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo and the up-and-coming 16th annual Faux Pas Lodge Tournament.
Before his sudden death just days before last year’s Grand Isle Rodeo, Paul Candies was proud of the imprint his family had on the rodeo and on the Town of Grand Isle. His father, Otto, was a driving force in maintaining the rodeo’s stature from the post-World War II years into the 1980s. He passed away in 1992.
Paul Candies, the Candies family and others were instrumental in directing money raised by the rodeo into capital improvements on Louisiana’s only inhabited barrier island. The pavilion that’s rodeo headquarters near Sand Dollar Marina on the island’s east end if one of those improvements. Scholarships for Grand Isle youngsters and funds for the island’s elementary and high schools also come from rodeo’s dollars.
Jefferson Parish councilman Ricky Templet is this year’s Grand Isle Rodeo president, and The Advocate owner John Georges is the rodeo’s Admiral of the Fleet.
Kleo Blue III & IV, the father-son owners of Faux Pas Prints in Metairie, also let it be known that their unique three-day fishing contest — the three-species “calcuttas” have been copied by other rodeos — was for more than bringing hundreds of fishermen to Venice on the last full weekend in July.
“We wanted to help kids,” father Kleo Blue III said last week.
That’s why the Faux Pas begins its run on Tuesday with a Captain’s Party, complete with a silent auction, and continues Wednesday with Wish to Fish, a one-day event that takes 20 youngsters from Miracle League Fishing and Children’s Hospital, pairs them up with 10 Venice fishing guides for an on-the-water chance to catch fish.
“It was a way to give back to underprivileged kids,” Blue said. “Hotard Coaches donates a large coach to transport the kids to and from Venice, and most times this is the first time these kids have had a chance to catch a fish ... and you ought to see their faces when they do.”
Both rodeos begin Thursday and run through Saturday. Awards presentations follow Saturday’s 6 p.m. final weigh-in.
White Lake teal
Hunters have until 4:30 p.m. Aug. 15 to submit applications for lottery teal hunts on the White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area in Vermilion Parish.
Teal hunt dates are Sept. 13, 14, 16, 18, 20, 21, 24, 27 and 28. Already approved special teal hunting dates for the state run Sept. 13-28.
Department of Wildlife and Fisheries rules require hunters applying for the lottery be at least 18 years old, and only one application per hunter will be accepted.
Applications are available on the LDWF website: www.wlf.louisiana.gov/refuge/lottery-applications, or by writing to the LDWF, Attention: White Lake WCA Teal Season Lottery Hunts, 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge, LA 70808.
All applications require a $5 administration fee (check or money order), and, if selected, the hunter will be allowed to bring another hunter. If drawn, you will be notified by mail and required to submit an additional check or money order for $250 per hunt party.